I had kind of a weird experience this afternoon. I was driving with my son to the grocery store and I had an anxiety attack while thinking about my upcoming half marathon. It was the same kind of feeling I get the morning of a race (I know all the runners out there know what I'm talking about)--topsy turvy stomach, racing mind, out of control heartbeat--but a little worse, which is strange, especially given that my race is over a month away; that's never happened before. I'm pretty sure it's because I realized that I was going to have to run this 13.1 miles all by myself this time.
I ran the last race with my friend Omari and he was great company and motivation. We spent the entire race gossiping, swapping stories about our spouses, and asking/answering odd questions. My favorite from our conversation: What would you do if you won a million dollars and one of the stipulations was that you had to give away at least$10,000 to charity? I was having such a great time talking with Omari, I didn't turn my Ipod on once and the race didn't seem all that long.
But this race will be different. Omari is still more than 300 down on the waiting list. I don't see him making it into this race. So I'll have to be my own motivator, and I guess that's what scared me so much. Given that I was already panicking about the race, I was not looking forward to my long run today. I felt lethargic and lazy all day; it seemed like it was never going to stop raining and I contemplated just scraping my long run. But at about 4, the rain cleared up and I got my lazy butt dressed (which included wearing my Spibelt! I found it, thank God!).
I hit the pavement and hated it... at first. The first mile was torture. I was so angry I had to run. So instead of doing my usual run 1 mile, walk 2 minutes, I decided to just keep going for as long as possible because I just wanted to get it over with. I went 2 miles without my usual little break. I forced myself to take a break because I was worried I'd burn out. But this pattern continued the entire run. With each mile, I kept telling myself, "Wow. I feel great. I guess I'll just go a bit farther". And before I knew it, I was more than half way to 8 miles and right outside my gym (thank God! I have such a thimble bladder!)
The rest of my run was great. In fact, two awesome things happened.
1. I ran 5 miles five minutes faster than I ever have (by over 4 minutes).
2. I realized that if I keep the same pace I was keeping up to 6.6 miles (and after too) for the whole half marathon, I will have shaved about 20 minutes off my last finishing time! I'm not running at lightning speed and I'm certainly not going to win any races at this pace, but I'm beating my former self and that is pretty exciting.
Well, I guess three great things happened. I realized I just may be okay all by myself, that maybe I've been motivating myself all along and just didn't realize it.
Although one bad thing did happen: My sports bra's clasp dug into my back so bad it was bleeding when I got home. Ouch! (But I'm kind of proud of my new battle wound, so I guess it isn't so bad!)