Six weeks from today is the California International Marathon. That phrase also became one of my mantras today while I ran my 16 mile long run. My run this morning was one of my best longs runs ever. The day was was perfect for running – sunshine, low 50’s and little to no wind. Again I went to the towpath in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park for the flatter terrain. As I started out, I could tell it was going to be a great run. My pace was over a minute per mile faster than last week and my heart rate stayed in my zone 2. I felt so good I actually started to become a bit concerned. If I kept at the pace I was running, I feared I would burn out early. It took effort but I did pull back a bit. By the time I finished my first 8 miles I was still feeling strong.
The second half was a bit slower, but not by much. Since I started running longer than 13 miles, I have been dealing with sore hamstrings past 13 miles. This week the burn did not start to manifest itself until just before mile 15. By that point I told myself I didn’t have far to go, run through it.
All along my run I reminded myself the race is only 6 weeks away. It came into play during the first 8 miles when I wanted to push faster. Getting the miles in right now is more important that the speed. Going too hard could burn me out, or worse risk an injury. The second 8 miles the reminder helped push me through. My trainer scheduled the long run as 15 to 16 miles. I decided 16. By 11 I started toying with cutting it to 15. My race is in 6 weeks. Okay, push on. When I started feeling the burn in my hamstrings at 14.7 (thank you Garmin) the desire to walk a bit entered my mind. Again my race is in 6 weeks. Keep running. When I finished I was spent, but happy. My pace for the entire 16 mile easy run was 34 seconds per mile faster than the 16 miles I ran last week – the run that included a few miles at race pace. This is a day to bottle up and bring out in 6 weeks.
I did do a few things that I plan on continuing until race day. I made sure to eat part of an energy waffle every hour and take an electrolyte capsule every hour. The third thing may be more psychological, but I always wear an Energy Armor negative ion bracelet. Some people claim it helps with balance and flexibility. Others say it is a scam. I have noticed I am more flexible and one thing for sure – when ever I take it off I get a little head rush. Lately I have been wearing a stainless steel bracelet that has negative ion dots on the inside of the links. It is the “regular” strength band. I also have a silicone band that is the Superband with five times the negative ion strength. I wore that one today. Better nutrition? Better electrolyte replacement? Powerful Superband? Maybe all three. Regardless, it helped because it was a great run.
Just yesterday I was talking with a friend at the pool and we were commenting about how so much that may hold us back is in our mind. Our fears of injuries returning mostly. But also we have the ability to rise above and use our minds to advance our physical ability. The same friend ran the Columbus marathon today and she set a personal record. (running 7:24 per mile!) My mantras and little changes got me through a great long run today. Sometimes it is all in the mind to make the extra push to new levels. At least that is what I think…