you don’t have to run a marathon…

I spend a lot of time thinking on my long runs.  What do I need to do the rest of the day?  What am I going to eat when I get home?  What things do I want to blog about this week?  What do I want to do with my life?!  They really help me get out some thoughts and relieve some stress.  But, sometimes these thoughts can be totally detrimental to my mental health.

My 9-miler this weekend was one of those instances.  I’m getting to the point in training where long runs get really mentally tough for me.  Anything over 8 miles and I really start to dread going out on those runs.  I’m just not a distance runner.  It’s just not who I am.

However, I was able to run negative splits, which has been my goal for all my long runs lately.  Spend my weekly runs staying within my training paces for both speedwork and easy runs, but try to negative split on my long runs, getting progressively faster as I go.  I’m trying to push my body just a little harder and make those last few miles even tougher than they already are, mentally and physically.

photo (4) Mile 1:  8:28 / Mile 2:  8:13 / Mile 3:  7:38 / Mile 4:  8:06 / Mile 5:  7:37 / Mile 6:  7:54 / Mile 7:  7:39 / Mile 8:  7:43 / Mile 9:  7:29

My 9-miler was even harder because of the ice and snow still covering the sidewalks.  I just didn’t want to be out there.  It was a loooooong run and one of the longest runs I’ve done in awhile.  But, really, 9-miles?  Compared to what I used to train for, 9-miles was nothing.  Nine miles is a walk in the park for people like Dorothy and Michelle, who can bust out sub-7 minute miles on a 20 mile run.  Why was this so hard for me?  Why do I feel so inferior to people who run these long runs like they’re nothing? 

It’s not like I’ve never trained for a marathon before.  In fact, I’ve run 2 marathons and a handful of half marathons.  Nine miles feels like nothing when you’re training for a marathon.  I was starting to doubt myself.  I was starting to think this wasn’t worth the pain.  Why was I even running in the first place?

I’m constantly reminded that I am a marathoner.  I have run 2 marathons, so technically I am a marathoner.  I have a 26.2 sticker on my car.  I have a 26.2 key chain on my keys.  I even have a 26.2 water bottle that I carry around with me all day.  I’ve had coworkers refer to me as a marathoner.  Like the marathon defines whether or not you’re a runner.  And after my run this weekend, I was starting to feel that way.

I enjoyed training for my marathons, but I didn’t love it.  I still want to BQ because it’s on my running bucket list, but quite honestly, if I never run another marathon again, I won’t be disappointed.  If I never run another half marathon after GO! St. Louis, I won’t be disappointed.  I am a marathoner because I ran a marathon…

But, I am a RUNNER because I RUN.  Because really, I’m the farthest thing from a marathoner.  I absolutely hate long runs.  They’re my least favorite runs during training.  Do I still do them?  Yes, because I feel that it’s important to build my endurance with long runs.  But, that doesn’t mean that I like them. 

I am a RUNNER because I RUN.  I love going out on a beautiful morning or afternoon and feeling the pavement underneath my feet.  I love feeling a cool breeze on my face.  I love being drenched in sweat when I finish.  I love pushing my body to paces they have never felt before.  I love how running makes me feel.  On top of the world.  Like no one can touch me.  Confident.  Beautiful.  Tough.

Because even if I never ran a marathon, I’d still be a runner.  The distance doesn’t define it.  The pace doesn’t even define it.  I run, therefore I am a runner…

What do you think about on your long runs?  Can your thoughts sometimes get the best of you?

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And just because I couldn’t do a post without a picture (and I know she is the reason why most of you even read my blog), here is my little peanut…

MacKenna Looking 2 MacKenna Looking

MacKenna with iPad

  • I love this! It’s so true. I think a lot of runners, myself included, are just so competitive that they feel the need to really push themselves even when they don’t actually want to. I had to back out of a half not long ago, and though I’m sad that it would have been this Saturday, I’m happy I was strong enough to say No when I needed to.
    Tiff recently posted..What’s Up Doc?

  • Lee

    There are always going to be other runners who are faster or run more and it’s very easy to think, “why is it so easy for them?” when in truth, they probably have hard days just as much.

    I ran a marathon in 2007. For a while, I sort of thought I was going to run another because I was just supposed to but then I realized that I kind of hated it, so I haven’t run more than a half since.
    Lee recently posted..Crockpot Victory

  • LOVE. I have no desire at this point to run a marathon and I don’t consider myself any lesser of a runner. Instead, I want to train the heck out of a 5K and kick some speed work ass. To me, I am happiest running really fast for a short period of time. The long runs drain me too! And yes … after Go! St. Louis I thought I would never run a half again haha. But then I met the Augusta half and I hate that one more! EEK.
    Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family recently posted..Dreaming of Summer – Ocean Spray Mixed Berry Smoothie

  • Jen

    Yup. I only want to run a marathon again b/c I’ve never trained well for one, so I want to see what I’m really capable of. After that, I’m done. Halves are my favorite and I’m OK with that.
    Jen recently posted..Princess Half Marathon 2013 race recap