I ran 9 miles for the first time Saturday. The run was rough. We do an out and back run. All the way out is on an incline. Usually the first half of our run is terrible for me. The incline is really rough on my calves, and I usually have to walk a little bit each half mile just to regain leg strength. Well, for that and to get a drink. I still can't drink and run. But this run wasn't like that. I was making pretty good time and my legs felt great. Then the physical wall hit.
I was at about 4 miles and was almost to Mark and out of nowhere I started dry heaving and seriously thought I was going to throw up. Then I got stomach cramps, which makes running easier. I met up with Mark and ate some fruit roll up for the return trip. I felt a little better, but I wasn't back to comfortable running until around mile 6. That really was a time suck because I was forced to walk way more than I would have liked.
Then I hit about mile 6 and was able to run for the next 1 1/2 miles. It was pretty much amazing. I also learned some things about my body. For instance, my toes go numb when running that far. I have to flex them every .25 miles. I also learned that I shrug my shoulders to my ears when the going gets tough. The problem is, the going is all rough when you are running that far for me. So I had to keep telling myself to relax the top half of my body. And when I would, my running was easier. So those are all good lessons to have learned.
Then I hit my worst mental wall I have ever hit as I completed 7.5 miles. I was tired. My feet were KILLING me (thank you plantar fasciitis, a recently sprained ankle, and running that far). My back started cramping. My stomach problems came back. And then I was mentally exhausted. I wanted to cry. I wanted to call Mark to come get me (he was finished running by then), but didn't have my phone to do it. All I could do was continue on or I couldn't go home. I could no longer run. I was miserable. I started really regretting paying for the half marathon that is now less than 3 weeks away. How could I ever run 13.1? I hate running! I never want to do it ever again.
This was the lowest I have ever been when running. I have hit mental walls before. It has always just been about that run, meaning mad I couldn't keep going or that I wasn't faster or that I was tired before I even began running. I have never thought that I should quite running before or that the next run wouldn't be better. That was all new to me. I totally understand what the running world means by running being a mental game now. With only a half mile left and after Mark caught up to me, I decided this was the end of my pity party. I ran again. I ran past the hip pain, past the sore and tired feet and legs. I ran past the stomach cramps. I ran past the pulsing in my lower body making me want to faint and throw up. I just ran. And I finished in 2:15. Was it a good time? No. Am I happy with the time? No. Did I learn anything during this run? YES!
I pretty much was in pain all weekend. It turns out my hip was out, thus the hip pain. My feet still hurt. Still, I am determined to do better this weekend on my 10 mile run. I really would like to finish at about 2 hours, so I am going to learn the lesson of this run to help make that happen, I hope.