After last weekend’s 18 miles of running torture, I was understandably dreading the 20 miler that was on the training plan for Saturday morning at 6:30. First off, I feared a repeat of unexpected emergency potty breaks in the woods. Next, I was really quite sick of getting up before the sun every single day. And finally, it had been about 3 years since I’d run 20 miles and I could still remember just exactly how uncomfortable my body is with that distance. It hurts. And if anyone tells you differently, they are lying.
But it didn’t really matter that all of those fears and complaints were going through my head. I was going to do the run because that’s what I do. Sign up for races, write out a training schedule, then stick to it as closely as possible. So far this plan has gotten me to every finish line I’ve been up against!
And thank goodness I have friends that are just as crazy as me. Three of us met up at 6:30 for our 20 miler. We kicked out the first 11 miles with ease, and even picked up a 4th friend for the last 9 miles. Things were pretty relaxed and I was honestly feeling like I was on top of the world. Then, around mile 15 the aches and pains were starting to set in. Every walk break made the aching more prominent. One of my sweat sisters was having an especially difficult time. Running long distances can do this to you. It can take every ounce of self confidence you have and stomp all over it, leaving you questioning what in the world you were thinking and how in the world are you ever going to reach your goal. This is where she was at mentally.
Luckily, I was not in that place at that moment. I was still feeling pretty good about this whole thing (heck, I hadn’t even had one “use the woods as a toilet” emergency yet!). But really, my friend was struggling with her confidence on this run. So, what are we to do in this situation? Well, if you’re me, you try to talk about lots of things that will change the subject and take everyone’s mind off of what exactly is happening at that moment. And what, you may ask, would I bring up? Well, how about the time I literally pooped my pants on an 18 mile run and had to walk home the last 2 miles quite uncomfortable? Yup, that’ll do it! Because you may feel pretty bad on this 20 mile run, but you probably aren’t going to poop your pants. And, to make it even better, I was not the only one who had a fantastically funny story about the time that, as an adult, she pooped her pants. Yup. It happens.
Lots of crappy stuff happens to us. And, when it does, we have the option to laugh about it, or cry about it. Believe me, when that actually happened, I didn’t think it was all that funny. But it sure made for a comical and distracting story at just the right time. And yes, I’ve known, and run with, these girls for about 3 years and it’s the first time those stories have been brought to the table. So let’s keep that on the DL. (***Insert winking emoticon…)
In the end, we all finished our 20 miler feeling extremely happy to have it over with, and entirely proud to have done it. It was just a training run, but come on now, who really gets up at 5:30am on a Saturday to run 20 miles in the woods?!?!
Do what you love. Love what you do.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, have bad days, be crabby, or just feel defeated. But get back up and get back at it.
And most of all, don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. It’s so much more fun than the alternative.