Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Head and Heart

After the Run


Cucumber Water

Sunday’s Long Run (1/30/11)

Wow.  Sunday’s run was my first 90-minute long run this year, and it was a paradox of a run.  In a word, it was hard, but its difficulty changed over time, like a shapeshifter or Texas’s wild weather patterns.

I find it easier to do these very long runs by breaking them up into shorter runs with planned breaks.  Since I learned last week that I can run for 60 minutes without taking a walking break, I knew I could do it again this week.  But mentally, it was tougher to complete that 60-minute portion of the run this week.  I don’t know how else to explain it than to say that I wanted to quit.  I wanted to slow down, to walk, to stop pushing.  I didn’t stop running, but it was 60 minutes of me telling myself that I can do this, I can keep going, just 30 minutes more until the break…

As the 60-minute mark drew closer, I made a bargain with myself: Get to the 60-minute mark without stopping, and then we’ll take another break at the 80-minute mark.  I knew my legs would be exhausted at 80 minutes because the final 10 minutes between 80 and 90 were the new miles, the hardest and most important ones of the run.  That little bargain was enough to push me to 60, and I happily took my 5-minute walking break, strolling around the red running path inside a neighborhood park that I like to visit.

Then 5 minutes had passed, and it was time to pick up the pace again.  I started the final 30 minutes feeling a little refreshed from my break, and my body shifted into running without a moment of hesitation.  The 80-minute mark began to approach, and my legs just…kept going.  I considered keeping the bargain with myself, but I felt like my body was saying, “No, no, we got this.  No breaks.  We can finish this.”  So I kept running.

I recently read that when you run a marathon, you run the first half with your head and the second half with your heart.  That’s how I felt during this run.  During the first half, I had to get my head in the game.  My heart (and legs) were in charge of seeing me through the second half, and to be honest, it was a relief to just trust my body to do what I’ve been training it to do.

After the run, it was sweaty pictures and stretching and cooking a terrific lunch.  Fear not, my loyal readers: those sausages below are vegetarian sausages, to which I fear I may have developed an addiction.


Dessert was great too.


PS  Those words of wisdom about running a marathon are from Maura of Maura Me to Love, who is the newest addition to my blog roll.  Her writing is so filled with honesty, fun, self-discovery, and love that I spent the better part of three hours on Saturday reading her archives.  Please do visit her, and see if she doesn’t inspire you to lace up your sneakers and hit the road ASAP.


  1. What an amazing compliment, thank you so much. Oh how I miss running and working out! These crutches have put a damper not only on my running but on my spirit - putting on my sneakers is like therapy!

    I will live vicariously through your runs for the next weeks. I know the EXACT feelings you're talking about, from mentally kicking and screaming that you want to give up, to finding that you've hit that place where you no longer need to bargain, because your legs are doing the work. It's amazing what our spirits are capable of, and the places they can take us.

    Thank you again. I look forward to following your journey, and having runs like the one you accomplished on Sunday inspire me, on crutches and all :)

  2. Hi, Maura! How fun to see a comment from you! I love your blog :-)

    The crutches stink, don't they? But don't despair too much. Hopefully your time-out will get you ready to rumble when you're all healed and good to run. Good luck, and please keep writing! I'll be reading.