Tag Archives: sherpas

13.1…my way.

Today, I ran ‘my own’ half marathon.

Almost exactly two years to the day since my first half marathon (that was, in my mind, botched).

Just over a year since my second half marathon (that proved that I am *not* a racer).

I finally proved to myself that I can run 13.1…my own way, in a time that I knew I could (yet never quite achieved in aforementioned half marathon race environments!).

It was my do-over that I have had in the back of my mind ever since that botched second attempt at a half marathon.

And I did it with no fanfare, no stated goal, nothing. (just a few quiet sherpas pushing me along – thank you ladies, you are truly, truly the best. Especially that 5:30 am text message from this one, who I love so!)

Because that’s how I roll.

Some say a goal isn’t ‘real’ until you write it down.

I call bullshit on that and say a goal is a goal no matter if it’s on paper or not.

So, I give you…13.1…my way. 

***

Up we woke, at 5:30, pitch black, but thankfully, relatively warm (57 degrees), clear skies, no rain (windswept rain in the forecast for tonight and tomorrow, egad!).

Out the door by 6 am, and it was still dark, and honestly, that first mile in almost darkness felt so bad ass, I loved it! (though I was straining my eyes to find bunnies, since I knew it would be prime time for them!)

I probably went out a little too fast, feeling all bad ass and stuff (LOL), and after the second or third mile, I started to go into mental brain mode, but a spate of 6 bunny sightings perked me up.

I started to break the run up in my head into pieces, and just think of the next ‘spot’ along the route I’d created that I would be happy at, while chanting ‘let the run come to you’ (also a la this girl!) and ‘run the mile you’re in’ over and over in my head.

Somewhere around mile 7 or 8, I started hitting a wall. Too early, in my book, and I started to wonder if last week’s 12 mile redemption run would be my best run of this ‘secret’ training and this one would soon turn shittastic.

Well, it didn’t hit the shittastic zone, but there were a few miles in there that I was thisclose to a bit of a hissy fit. My legs felt so.tired. And I stupidly (in hindsight) wore my new replacement Brooks Ghost 4s (thinking – same shoe – shouldn’t matter that I haven’t worn them yet) and was feeling blisters forming. On. Both. Ankles.

A different fueling strategy (one Honey Stinger around the one hour mark, a Healthy Bite a la this girl around the 8 or 8.5 mile mark, and one more Honey Stinger around mile 11, with water, of course) seemed to helped, but I just kept burning out fast.

Saving grace was a bit of a walk ‘stop’ as M got two pages (did I mention he was on call last night and this morning? trooper, my sherpa, isn’t he?) and I tried to talk myself down. I was again, thisclose to hissy fit status and almost wanted to cut out the little loop add-on I added to get us to 13.1 (reasoning that 12.8 was ‘close enough’ even though I knew I’d be pissed at myself after). What did M say to that?

“We are running 13.1 miles today. If we don’t do that loop, I’d call that a fail, wouldn’t you?” <-man, does he know how to turn my mental wacked brain back on to myself, doesn’t he?!

After that tough love talk, we powered through the last of our run, two bloody heels and all, and did it. Stopped, held hands, caught our breathe and realized we did it….

In 2:18. 

My ‘secret’ goal? Anything under 2:30 and I would have been thrilled.

2:18? 

Frigin awesome.

Today, we ran a half marathon. 13.1 miles. My (our) way.

And I couldn’t (again) be more proud.

11 mental miles.

By now, you’ve probably figured out that I have been quietly tacking on to my ‘virtual sherpa’ miles in support of my sister’s marathon next month. (and while I still refuse to say exactly where I’m going – proverbially and literally (!) speaking, I’ll share my goal when I reach it, mmk?)

So, this morning ended up being our ‘virtual sherpa’ run even though Jess isn’t planning to run her next long run (20 miles (!)) until Saturday (part of the reason for our ‘early’ sherpa’ing? It’s our two year anniversary  – yayyyyy – on Saturday and running 11 miles that morning did not seem to be the most romantic way to start it off, hehe).

11 miles was the plan.

I mapped out our route last night and unlike my sister, who, mentally, finds it easier to tackle longer distances by doing the same route several times (so, a 7 mile loop twice for 14 miles, for example) while for me, that would bore me to tears and also tempt me into stopping early. For me, a long loop the extent of the run just does it for me.

So. Our run took us 11 miles and almost entirely of one continuous route. The only change was one loop to get us to 11. And honestly, that loop played mental mind games with me. As we looped around, my legs were just beat up. (even though I intentionally gave myself a day between runs to let them rest a bit). They felt like I was at mile 9 or 10, not mile 5 and 6. Even M’s legs were tired prematurely.

We kept going and around mile 7, walked some and had some water and fuel (ala Healthy Bites, thank you Lindsay!!). I was SO thirsty for some reason, but only drank a little, given I always side cramp if I am not careful with water consumption. This is where I started to freak out a little. I was just.so.tired. We came up to a spot where we go left, and complete 11 miles, or go right (and a huge ass mofo of a hill, I might add) and shorten our run and go home. If this says anything about this run – I was thisclose to taking the shorter, yet, mofo-hill way. SOclose. 

And then M gave me some tough love. He said ‘look. I’m tired too. I don’t know what’s happening to us today, but we got up this morning to run 11 miles. We are going to run 11 miles.’

Me, using my inside voice: ‘sheesh. I love you too babe.’

😉

So, we kept going. And it was just labor. Torture. I am pretty sure I could not have been more miserable in these final 4 miles than I was (and I might add, not ONE BUNNY the entire run. That should have been a sign this run was going to be miserable!). At the only other super steep mofo-like hill, I just had to walk it. I tried to run, my legs were practically moving backwards (it’s that steep, I swear). So I stopped. And I felt the lump in my throat rising. The panic setting in. And I shed a couple of tears, but tried to hide them. We didn’t speak. Just breathed, held hands. 

And we took off once again and somehow, some way, managed to make it all 11 miles. It felt like 20. Truly. They felt almost entirely like dismal, awful, just downright angry miles. (except for the beautiful sunrise we witnessed during the first 3 miles of our run, the only good miles we ran, I do believe!).

So we made it. 11 mental miles. 

And when I head out for that redemption run on Saturday (a shorter one, of course) with M, on our two year anniversary, I’m going to turn those mental miles into happy miles. Channel the last two years. The best years of my life.