Just past halfway through the month, and sitting on about 120 miles of running. The game, as it turns out, is much more mental than physical.
Part of that mental game is reframing my daily mileage ideas. Instead of a 3 mile run, I do 5 or 6. Instead of 6 I do 9. Instead of 9 I do 12 or 13. This was a goal, to break my ideas about what I can do.
Another part of it is managing the panic that I won’t make it. Obviously, the math is entirely in my favor now. I have about 80 miles to run, and two full weeks to do it. That’s very doable, even at a slower pace than I’ve been accruing distance so far.
But that hasn’t kept the gnawing out of my guts that I needed to do more, which is sorta nuts, because I can see the math. Some part of me just believes that I need as much buffer as I can get, for when my body starts to rebel, or when my mind can’t get past tying my shoes.
The hard days have been the solo runs.
I’m out there on the trail, sweating buckets in the heat and humidity, trying to cover the ground, trying to push myself, and I’m just so much more likely to cut short or walk when I’m on my own. That’s ok. I can accept that. I can not do anything.
But that’s when the gears grind. That’s when self-doubt creeps in.
With M running alongside, miles fly by. We chat. We laugh. It’s just much easier to do the work. We ran 15 miles this last Saturday on a wide, flat trail through farmland, and I joked, “If neither of us cries during this project, have we even really done anything?”
It’s early to sift through the lessons of the thing, but I do think I see that I can do even more. It feels as though we’re climbing up onto a higher plateau where bigger miles are easier. I’m not deluded to think this is the new normal. It’s too time consuming honestly, and it crowds out other things, like riding bikes, hiking, etc. But I know now that I can take on big blocks of work, efforts beyond my previous concept of ‘hard,’ and succeed.
There is also learning about how to operate at the thin end of endurance, the place where your resources are low and you have to manage what goes in against what comes out more consciously.
That’s probably all I should say at this point. There are 80 more miles to run, and maybe even some tears to shed before I’m done.