Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise

The eleven mile wall has been broken.  Not plowed through like a bulldozer, but definitely roughed up a bit.  This morning I ran 13.83 miles.  I know, 0.83 is a silly number, but I had assumed that my RunKeeper Pro was ripping me off of mileage again and thought for sure I made it to 14.  Oh well, I know in my heart that I could have finished the 0.17 to make it a full 14, I won’t fret over it.

Instead, I promised SloRunnerMom and Runnergirl33 from twitter a disco dance at mile 13!


The Run:

How is it that before I leave the house I try to go to the bathroom ten times and squeeze every possible ounce of urine out of me, then at mile one I have to pee?  I was fortunate enough to be going past a porta potty when the sensation began, so thank you City of Madison for keeping a porta potty on Monona Bay. 

I tried my CLIF Shot at 01:27:00  YUCK!  I’m pretty sure I won’t like any brand of this slimy gu energizer.  It’s slimy, sticky, gooey, and actually gross.  I’m glad I remembered to bring four sticks of gum with me.  The worst part is that I didn’t feel that pick-me-up that I thought I would after.  In fact, two-thirds of the way through the run I felt a major slump.

“I shouldn’t have registered for the marathon, my hamstrings feel like bricks, I’m never going to make it, what was I thinking, this is a mistake, I’m going to disappoint some people, $135 wasted, if I can’t make it to 13 miles how do i expect to even try for 20…” and so on…

And at 02:15:00 I had my first gulp of water and the second CLIF Shot (with caffeine).  The negative parade of thoughts left me, I knew I only had a little over a mile to do, and I got some pep in my step.

Possible things that contributed to the negative thought parade:

  • Should have had some water sooner
  • I was on a hilly road at this point
  • It was cloudy & gray out. Some sunshine might have helped
  • Possibly the songs on my playlist were not upbeat enough
  • Might be at the point where I need a better breakfast than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich

The problem with drinking more water during the run is the having to pee factor.  Porta potties aren’t always readily accessible.  I do my run early in the morning, a lot of businesses that I run past aren’t open.  Perhaps I should get a diaper?  Or not.

I guess this is what I like about running, putting the pieces together. Everyone is different, there really is no user manual for running.  I have a whole spring/summer ahead of me to overcome the dilemmas that I face during a run.



9 thoughts on “Mental will is a muscle that needs exercise

  1. I love the dance. When I clicked the play button my 6yo started dancing to it also :-). Every time I run I feel good about what I accomplished – even if I don’t make my time target or the run felt hard. Sometimes I think people get so caught up in the time game that they forget to celebrate the accomplishment. What you did today was awesome. You ran just under 14 miles. How many other people can do that?

  2. I know those thoughts, and they remind me of dementors in Harry Potter. They just come, sometimes completely unexpectedly, sometimes you know when you take off that they are there already. The only thing that helps me (and apparently you) is to keep going.

    Your run sounds wonderful. It is a great accomplishment to to increase the mileage by 3 miles. You are right, you have the whole summer for your training. You will gain a tremendous amount of endurance and will be a masterof the expecto patronum in fall.

  3. Two things you might want to try:

    1. Stash hydration bottles along your route for long runs. I’ve never done this, but know people who do. In a way, it can almost be like a scavenger hunt I think – especially if it’s early in the morning…my memory isn’t always the keenest before the sun rises 😛

    2. Run without the music. Whoa…did i just say that?!?!?! Why yes I did…leave that iPod at home. 9 months ago I would have never imagined running without music. In fact, I probably spent more time creating playlists for running than “actually” running. Sometime in November I started working on my running form. One of the big form issues I focused on was my “cadence”. I needed to know how many times my right foot struck the ground over 60 secs. Well…while working on my form I left my iPod at home. I found that a certain harmony with hearing my feet pitter patter along the road…and it helped my count and maintain my cadence over a long period of time. Now, I dread running with music – I feel like it numbs me to the experience and many times holds me back in my performance. Although, occasionally it’s nice to run to Survivor singing “eye of the tiger”…but trust me, no music is better in the long run (physically and literally).

    • Wow, no music!!? I can handle no music for the shorter runs, but on the long run it sounds terrifying!! Next time I will bring the Ipod, but not turn it on right away, I’ll meet you half way 🙂

      I do bring a water bottle with me, I use one of those hydration packs, it’s just a matter of finding a place to potty if needed.

      Thank you!

  4. Those negative thoughts can be so hard to fight off sometimes…good for you for keeping going. Whoever said they are like the Dementors is right.

    I would panic at running to no music! I find a certain song will keep propelling me or I’ll talk myself into ok, just keep going until the end of this song, then you can take a break – and then another good one will come on. I’ll be interested to hear in how the no music thing works for you!

    • Yep, I’m the same about music…A good song will really get me flying.. But then those slow ones come on & I zone out & forget that i’m even running.

  5. I like the Cliff bloks there a bit more like candy. Don’t know how you run & chew gum at the same time; this is talent! I understand the no water bottle. I absolutely hate them. But you need to get water in you before you get dehydrated. I run practice routes that have fountains around the 10 km mark and pop a blok just before the 15km point. As for the negative thoughts… banish them now!!! You must force your mind to think “I can do this I can do this” It sounds retarded… but it works! keep it up… you are doing GREAT!


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