Yesterday I did my first long run of marathon training – 7 miles. I will not lie. It was brutal. It was actually supposed to be my second long run of the weekend, but since I was out of town for work I only got in 4 miles at the hotel on Saturday. I did attempt the full 7 on Saturday, but due to getting a late start after a work function (around 7 pm) and dealing with some emotional stuff on my end, I just did not have it in me on Saturday. 4 miles is not bad, especially on the road, but I knew I had work to do. So I flew back to DC very early on Sunday morning. I needed a power nap first, so I started between 1:00 and 1:30 pm. Now I have run seven miles many times in my running career, but NEVER on the treadmill, which I did not realize until I started writing this blog.
I have always loved the treadmill, because I do not have to worry about downhill slopes, rough terrain, or inconsistent pace. However, yesterday it was unforgiving. On my normal workout day, I run for just over 100 minutes, which means the treadmill runs for 60 minutes and then I run for about an additional 44 minutes. This is not hard to handle, but when you have to run multiple hours, it just seems like you make no progress. It was about 100 degrees in my gym, so I had to stop frequently for water. I know hydration is important, but I am always afraid of stopping. I also learned that I cannot yet maintain a consistent pace as I do with my standard 4-mile workout. Usually I can go all 104 minutes at 2.3 miles/hour, but to make 7 miles on the treadmill I had to alternate everywhere between 2.2 and 2.0. I would not allow myself to drop any lower than that. I think I finished around 5:00 pm. (I am guessing, and I was blinded by sweat.) In the glow of recovery that comes with a rest day, I am so proud of myself that I stuck it out when it was so tough and I took my first steps to becoming a marathoner. I know this journey will be a long one, full of struggles and challenges with running, nutrition, and my emotions, but I am so glad to be on it. I know that no matter the outcome, I will be stronger on the other side. At the end of this process, 7 miles will seem like an easy short run.
It is with that promise of a stronger version of myself, as long as I am willing to put in the work, that I charge ahead. I am already seeing results even in the first week, based on my nutrition plan, and solid workouts I am putting in. Even though the results may only be visible to me, they are beyond motivating. I have all of the keys to success at my disposal, so at this point, all I have to do is keep going. Slow and steady wins the race!