Sunday, April 14, 2013

Running lessons: You can!

Peace Park on a misty April day
This week was my second toughest week of training before I run the Fredericton Marathon on May 12th. I have to admit, it felt like it. After 8 weeks of hard training - not to mention, all the other stuff I've been doing - I'm darned tired and looking forward to having the race behind me.  

Two runs were particularly challenging this week - my hill training session on Thursday night and long slow run yesterday. 

The hill training session was challenging because - well - it was hill training and because I didn't start until 9:30 pm after a full day of work and other activities. It was all I could do to lace up and head out the door knowing it would be past my bedtime by the time I returned to the house but I was determined not to miss two sessions in a row. (I missed last week's because of a freak hailstorm that made conditions too treacherous to run.) 

My long run yesterday started badly too. I'd hoped to get out the door early but awoke to steady rain and 4 inches of wet snow on the ground. Hoping things would improve as the day wore on, I lazed in bed chatting with Husband and catching up on email for most of the morning. When the sky finally brightened a bit near noontime, I donned my gear and headed out the door only to find myself caught in a heavy downpour a few hundred meters from the house. Fortunately, 3 or 4 kms later the weather improved considerably and I ran the remainder of my 30k run in nothing worse than light drizzle. 

But here's the great thing about tough workouts. They build character (as in, "if I can do this, I can do anything") and character comes in darned handy when you're running a marathon. When "the wall" looms at the 20 mile mark, and everything hurts and all you want is to stop, it's "character" that reminds you you've done harder things, faced tougher obstacles, overcome doubts, and conquered fears before.

Ah, there it is. Yet another excellent metaphor for life. It's an obvious one, but let me spell it out for you. Character-building workouts are like the tough times in life when every minute of every day feels hard, when you're so scared or upset or hurt or angry you can hardly breathe and you can't begin to imagine things will get better. When you survive those times - when you dip into reserves you didn't know you had to climb by your fingernails out of whatever slough you're in - you know you can survive the next time life sends you sprawling face first in the muck.

Going back to running for a moment, the best thing about marathon training then is not (or not just) that it prepares you to run a 42.2 km race. The best thing is that over months and weeks marathon training provides dozens of opportunities to figure out what you're made of - to silence the voice in your head saying "you can't" over and over again until you know for sure that "you can". You can run when the weather sucks and when your body hurts and when you feel discouraged and when others think you're foolish - even when you're not sure you want to run a marathon. You can.

So keep training, friends. And keep believing. That you can run a marathon. And that you can overcome whatever other challenges life throws your way. You can.

In closing, here's a summary of this week's training:
Total # runs: 4
Total distance: 54 kms
Longest run: 30 kms
Tempo runs: 1 x 6 kms
Hill training: 1 x 8 hills

P.S. 30 kms was longest I'd run in awhile so I treated myself to meeting up with Husband at the Local Public House, a new pub that's just opened in town, for a plate of nachos and a pint of Hell Bay beer. The beer and nachos were great and the staff didn't complain about me stinking up the joint so I'm pretty sure we'll be back.


1 comment:

  1. A good pub is always fun. Our book club normally meets in a pub. We retired one because most people moved further away, and the current one is disliked by one person for some reason. Looking for another one.