Sunday, November 17, 2013

A goal conquered...

BOOYAH!  The frustratingly elusive 18 miles has finally been conquered.  Why is 18 miles a big deal?  Well, it's not.  There is nothing that special about 18 miles.  It essentially means that I ran about 5 minutes longer then my longest previous run.

But I had that goal to get to 18 and then it didn't happen.  And it didn't happen again.  And then it got into my head!  I had the "yips".  Apparently the "yips" IS a real physiological thing.  But more commonly it's used to describe when an athlete just loses his/her ability for psychological reasons.  Like missing free-throws or suddenly missing easy putts in golf.

Anyway, I was determined to get there today.  And my stomach was OFF - BAD - from eating like a pig at my grandmother's 90th birthday party yesterday.  While the temperature was great - low 50's - it was sprinkling and the wind was horrible.  Actually the wind was terrible for the first 5 miles, but then I was able to get out of it somewhat and run without fighting the wind for a while.  

I was doing pretty well until mile 13.  That's when Fat Jen and Thin Jen got into a fight.  It was there that a decision had to be made.  I could head straight home (2.25 miles) or take the left turn that would circle me around 5 miles.  I took that left turn.  At mile 15 I was CONVINCED that I couldn't do it.  I wanted to stop and call Marc to come get me.  I took inventory of my body.  I was uncomfortable -  well of course - running 15 miles is HARD - but nothing HURT.  There was no reason to give up, but I wanted to!  I had been running for about 2 hours straight.  I pushed on.

At mile 16.75 I turned onto the main road and knew I was close.  So I was happy - for about 30 seconds.  And then I realized NOT ONLY did I have to get up the large 1/2 mile hill lying in front of me like an evil demon, but I had turned DIRECTLY into the wind.  Fat Jen BEGGED for us to stop.  The hill went on FOREVER.  And just when you get to the top?  You run straight and then hit another smaller hill.  I was at 17.5 - "GOOD ENOUGH!"  Fat Jen yelled desperately - "that's still further then you've ever run!"  Thin Jen had abandoned me.  She was strangely quiet.  

And then there it was.  Although the rain suddenly became a shower rather then a drizzle and the wind was still trying to sweep me off my feet, lying in front of me was a gorgeous, wonderful, DOWNHILL slope AND I could see my house - calling to me, welcoming me home.  So I ran that last 1/2 mile and appreciated the victory when I arrived.

You see my friends - the best accomplishments are not about beating someone else.  They're not about getting a ribbon or having someone patting your back.  They best accomplishments are when you push yourself to meet your goals.  When you do something - anything - you were SURE you couldn't do.  When you wanted - with every fiber of your being - to give up and you DIDN'T.  I hope all of you can have that experience.  It is out there.  What are you afraid of doing?  What have you tried and FAILED?  I failed.  Until I didn't.  

18 miles - that's not a big deal.  Except that it IS.  To me.  For me.

I mentioned we went to my grandmother's 90th birthday party yesterday.  Although my father's father died when I was 10 months old, I am extraordinarily thankful that I knew my other grandfather and that both of my grandmothers are still with us and I am beyond lucky to have them in my life!


  1. Woo Hooo! Way to go Jen! I had no doubt you would do it on your next try. EIGHTEEN MILES! That is serious business. I don't know many people at all who can do anything close to that. Do you think you might do a full marathon one day? I know you've said that that is not something you aspire to do, but you are sure getting close.

    And 1562 calories burned!! Wow! I am thrilled to burn 400, :)

    It's interesting what you said about being uncomfortable but not hurting. I was reading a thread on MFP the other day about running and how to get started. Someone said something that really spoke to me. If you need to slow down, slow down but don't stop unless you are hurting. This just made something click for me. I am not a runner, I haven't even tried yet, but when I am on the elliptical or the bike, sometimes I take a short 30 second break just to catch my breath or take a sip of water. Why am I stopping? I don't need to. I am not in pain, I am just being lazy. Ever since then I have not stopped until I am ready to actually finish my work out. I think this will really help once I do begin to try running.

    I have a LONG way to go before I will ever be able to do the things you do, but you show us that it is possible and I thank YOU for that!

  2. I can't imagine training for a marathon! As it is, 2.5 hours is a lot of time to spend running! So I don't think a marathon is in my future unless I win the lottery and have a lot more free time!

    As far as pain goes, that was a wonderful tip I got when I was first running - taking inventory of my body - how are my legs? How is my breathing? Is anything WRONG? When I answer those, the answers are that I am fine, which means it is my MIND that wants to stop - that my body doesn't NEED to! But it is not easy!

    You don't have to aspire to be anything like me - just be the best version of yourself that you can!!