12-Miler Done!

So happy to be writing after a great 12-mile run – the last truly long run of the season! Next week we wrap it up with 8!

Not much to say about today’s run other than it felt really great. I got off to a bit of a shaky start with my breathing – it seems lately that I have to really warm up to get comfortable with running, especially during my long runs when my pace leader is able to start off with a bang. At first it made me really nervous and uncomfortable – lots of thoughts like “if I’m already struggling and it hasn’t even been a mile, how on earth am I going to get to 26?!” But now I’m more used to it – I just tell myself to settle in, settle down, and stop freaking out. Today especially I felt like I hit my groove around 5 miles or so. It’s so rare that the second half of a long run feels better than the first, but it definitely did today – the effort felt challenging but the time just flew by, fo’realz!

What I’m especially happy about is that my tummy stayed in control – I ate a UCAN chocolate bar this morning and felt energized to keep running without anything else other than water. And right now my stomach feels great – zero pain – a far cry from pretty much every day this week! So we’ll see how it goes – I’ll keep experimenting here and there but based on how I feel right now, after having completed nearly the first half of the marathon, I’ll stick with these bars. Thank you to my awesome cousin K for the recommendation!

It’s funny – I started to get a little pang of sadness today at one particular part of the trail. It was towards the end and for whatever reason it reminded me of a story that one of my running friends was telling us during the 15-miler, at that exact part of the course. And I started thinking about that run and how it was so hard and now so long ago, and it kind of made me nostalgic for the heat of our July runs, as crazy as that sounds! I know I’ll be feeling super sentimental when this is over – I did after my half marathon, and I barely trained for that race – just something to think about.

I mentioned yesterday that I’ve been reading running blogs and articles non-stop. I’m also reading a really lovely book by Kristin Armstrong (very much her own person, but you may know her as Lance Armstrong’s first wife – she refers to him as her “wasband,” which I think is adorable!). She writes a column for Runner’s World called “Mile Markers” and while it’s very much focused on running, it’s also really philosophical and thought-provoking. The book is just a compilation of her columns and it’s been the perfect thing to read this week – light but compelling, with certain passages that really resonate. She wrote something to the effect of when you’re not naturally gifted at something, it takes more determination, and in the end that makes you a stronger person. That so relates to how I feel about running. Ever single time I put my sneakers on I have doubt that I’ll be able to run a block, let alone a mile or more. It is a struggle every time, just sometimes less than others. And I think that’s why I take pride in it, even though I’m so slow. Growing up, a lot of things came easily to me – school, dancing, singing, relating to others – I never ran because it was too hard. And now that’s exactly what I’m chasing. It’s kind of cool to me.

And I am now signing off! Tonight I’m spending time with a friend in one of the suburbs, tomorrow I’m planning on a long yoga class at my gym, and on Monday I leave for a quick work trip to Vancouver – hoping to sneak in my 6-mile run beforehand! Will probably write before I take off. Happy weekend, everyone!

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