Drum roll please...today I ran 7 miles! I am pretty pumped just thinking about that. Not only is this the FURTHEST I've ever run, it's over half of the distance of a half-marathon. So finally, my big goal is starting to actually feel atainable, even if I still have a good ways to go.
My running confidence has been wavering over the past two weeks or so (as evidenced by my lovely race nightmares), and I was determined to go into this long run prepared and with a positive attitude. I try to run on an empty stomach as much as possible because I tend to get tummy aches when I eat before runs, but I know seven miles is way too far to run without some calories in the tummy. So yesterday I bought some Gu to try--I've only ever used energy gels once before, when I ran/biked the Muddy Buddy in 2008. I was determined that a tummy ache would NOT mess with my run today! Then, I talked the run up in my head all day and night. When I was driving to go out with friends yesterday evening, I blasted my favorite running pump-up songs in the car and literally broke out dancing at the wheel a few times. By this point, I was positive that the run was going to be epic.
I had a snack before bed, filled up my water bottle, added some fun new songs to my ipod shuffle, and put on my running clothes. Yes, put them on. I'm NOT a morning person, and even though I didn't plan to wake up insanely early for this run (actually the opposite, I slept in until TEN!!! Glorious), I need all the extra motivation I can get in the morning. And not even having to change certainly helps! Then, in the car this morning on the way to the gym, I listened to a few of my favorite songs again. I was literally itching to get running.
Since I got REALLY exhausted about half way through my long run last Sunday, I decided to not worry about speed this week. I'm super slow as it is, but when I'm running on the treadmill I usually try to up my speed a tiny bit every mile, and finish with a big push. Today I knew that my goal was distance, and kept the speed slow. And between the amazing playlist I had going, the pep talks the previous day, and picturing myself running through the Magic Kingdom anytime I got tired, I powered through seven miles. BAM.
I said in my last post that I sometimes feel like a half-marathon is no big deal in the grand scheme of things. People do more ambitious races and run further distances every day, right? Well, the thing is, those people are not me. And 13.1 miles IS a big deal for me. 7 miles is a big deal for me. Running this half-marathon is one of the most ambitious goals I've ever worked towards (well, you know, besides surviving every day teaching in the 5th grade jungle, of course). And the fact that other people might run faster or further doesn't change the fact that I'm giving this absolutely everything I've got, and doing things I'd never dreamed I could a year or two ago.
I think I'll just take the rest of today to revel in my badassness...And hallelujah it's a 3-day weekend, so there isn't even any pesky grading and lesson planning to interrupt my happiness. :)