I think I would call myself somewhat of a PR junkie. I love beating myself in any and all categories - distance, time, split, whatever. I think that's why I am enjoying training for my first marathon so much. Every week there is a new distance to beat, and on the shorter runs I find myself beating my times with each run. Today, I hit a new distance PR of 18 miles!
Thursday is my long run day, though since I work shifts at my job, sometimes I find myself doing a long run during the weekend. Today, however, I am working the night shift. That means that I could wake up leisurely at 11:00, eat a balanced breakfast, hydrate sufficiently, and set the perfect stage for a long run when I was not pressed for time. The weather was absolutely perfect (not to make you bundled up winter runners jealous), at 63 degrees and sunny. And so, feeling ready physically and mentally, I set out for the big 18 with my lucky running hat, my Polar M400, and a trusty audiobook playing.
As soon as I settled into a consistent pace, I felt awesome. I had already mentally convinced myself that I would be running 18 miles today, and I really felt like my legs followed. Aside from some light pain in my shins in the beginning of the run, which subsided soon there after, my body felt great.
I am consistently amazed with the abilities of the human body, and a huge believer in mind over matter. When motivated properly, the body can be pushed to limits previously unknown. It is a constant reminder that the mind and the body are so tightly woven together, relying on each other to keep running smoothly (no pun intended). That's why if I psych my self out before a long run, I am usually unable to complete the distance. Or even if I am running with a new pair of running shoes and anticipate a stiff run, that's generally the outcome. However, if I prepare myself mentally sufficiently, telling myself that I AM capable, I am able to push myself and finish. I even find myself cheering myself on - saying things like "you're awesome", or "you're doing great, keep it up" out loud. That, combined with the clapping at each mile (a game my dad taught me that pumps my adrenaline during a run), probably makes me look like a crazy person from the outside, but inside it makes me feel awesome, so anyone judging me can take a hike.