Sunday’s Run (8/22/10)
For me, every long run requires some bargaining between my brain and my body. My brain says, “Okay, legs, 40 minutes on the treadmill today. That’s only 10 minutes more than last week, so let’s do this without stopping. Go!” And at first my body says, “Yeah, whatever, okay, I’m going. Oh, you’re turning up the speed! Okay, I’m really going. Oh, we’re running now! Whew! Yes, I remember how to do this.”
We run for a while like that, with the occasional complaint from my body: “The legs are hurting. I’m tired. When’s our walk break?” My brain says, “No, no walk break yet. Let’s keep running! 40 minutes, remember? Long run!”
I made it all the way to 20-something minutes when a walk break stared to sound really tempting. I was torn. On the one hand, there’s nothing wrong with a walk break, especially if it helps you finish your goal. My goal was 40 minutes of running on the treadmill; I didn’t set any limits on breaks because I just couldn’t. On the other hand, 40 minutes is only 10 minutes more than last week. Couldn’t I squeak out another 10 minutes of running? Pretty please?
I made a deal with myself: let’s get to the 30-minute mark, since we did it last week and I know we can do it this week. But once I passed 30, I thought to myself, You know, I’m just a little tired. Nothing’s really hurting, and in these long runs, the goal is to build endurance. I want to keep going. I want to do 40 minutes without stopping because that’s how you build the base. You keep going.
And so I did! I talked myself into doing a solid 40 minutes on the treadmill, 9:31 pace, no breaks. The hardest thing was figuring out the right thing to say to myself to make it happen. My legs knew they could do it; I just didn’t know if I had it in myself that day. I don’t want to sound too smug here, but I was pretty happy with the results. I like to think that those moments in which I rise to the challenge are like money in the bank: the next time something challenging confronts me, I can look it straight in the eye and know that I’ve got what it takes to overcome the challenge. This is just another reason why I love running. It’s so much bigger than a work-out.