People often tell me I’m crazy for being a distance runner.  I wouldn’t say I’m crazy, but it’s definitely mental.

It’s alllll mental.

For me, once I got the basic conditioning, running became a mental exercise.  For my long runs, I’ve learned some little mind games that I have to do in order to get my runs in the way I should.

If I run in my neighborhood, I will more than likely cut it short and go home early at the first sign of discomfort.  Even if it’s just being tired, or a random “phantom pain” that will pass in a minute.  It has nothing to do with my physical ability.  It’s just knowing that I’m so close to home and could easily change my route and just go home.

Yep, I’m a wuss.

So to counteract this, for my 16 miler today (couldn’t do it this weekend because of Irene), I told myself I wasn’t allowed to run in my neighborhood.  I had to run straight out of there, and get a decent distance away.  Because then I would know that I had no choice but to cover that distance to get home.

I felt good when I started my run.  There were a lot of hills on the route I took today.  I feel like my area is nothing but hills.  I never noticed it until I started really running more, but it’s like every single road has some big hill on it.  And you never notice those in cars either…

My second mind game is when it comes to my pace.  I’ve learned that I simply can’t look at it while I’m running.  I can feel great, and strong, and if I look at my pace and see that I’m doing well, I start feeling tired.  Even if I’m not.  It’s just because of the number.  So now I cover the pace on my garmin before I look at it, so that way I’m not tempted to check.

For the first 9 miles, I was feeling pretty good.  Somewhere around there, I started to get a stiff knee and some soreness in my right ankle (not the one I broke).  So I slowed down a bit.  I didn’t need to run fast, I just needed to get my miles in.

The rest of my run was okay.  Not great, but not horrible.  My ankle and knee were uncomfortable, but not unmanageable.  Most of the roads around here are cambered (sloped from the middle so water runs off), which I think is what is causing my ankle issue.  So I tried to run on the flattest spot, or on the grass.  This seemed to help.

So the rest of the run was alright.  I definitely slowed down a bit, but I finished strong.  I had to go up a huge hill right at the end, and I tried to push.  My hills are getting much stronger lately.  I think that’s mostly thanks to my extremely hilly neighborhood.  I put that last hill behind me and finished out the end of my run.

When I was done, I checked my garmin.  16 miles at a 9:56/mile pace.  Hooray!  It’s not amazingly fast, but anything in the 9’s makes me happy for my long runs.

Here’s the splits:

  • Mile 1 – 9:31
  • Mile 2 – 9:45
  • Mile 3 – 9:45
  • Mile 4 – 9:48
  • Mile 5 – 9:44
  • Mile 6 – 9:54
  • Mile 7 – 9:50
  • Mile 8 – 9:55
  • Mile 9 – 9:55
  • Mile 10 – 10:27 (slowing down)
  • Mile 11 – 10:14
  • Mile 12 – 10:04
  • Mile 13 – 10:14
  • Mile 14 – 10:06
  • Mile 15 – 9:46 (finishing strong up the hill)
  • Mile 16 – 10:08

So I’m four weeks away from marathon #3.  I’ve got my 18 miler this coming weekend and then my 20.  Then it’s taper time!  I’m really looking forward to running at Schroon again.  It was a great race last year, even if my knees decided to rebel.  I can’t wait to see what I can do this time.  Hopefully my good knees will come along that day too.  🙂

Also, yay!  This is my 200th post!