I read a blog post today from RunLadyLike titled Be the Runner You Are, and it brought me back to some thought I had during my long run on Sunday. I haven't posted much about it here on my blog, but I'm in the final few weeks of my training for my upcoming half marathon. If you've followed me on other social media, you have seen some of the struggles and triumphs I've had over the last month or so. This is at once humbling and uplifting. I'm pushing my body to do things that I'd hardly imagined I could do, but at the same time being forced to accept my limitations.
Starting just before the new year I've been hitting distance records on most of my long runs. I did a 9 mile run and it felt magical, like I'd hit a sweet spot and really felt that the sky was the limit for my running. Then a week later when faced with my first 10 mile run, it was a disaster. After 7 miles I felt like I couldn't move another step. I walked and prodded my way to the end and instantly felt defeated. Then I thought more about what I'd done, posted about it on Twitter and got some tremendous encouragement from the community. My next 10 miler was a little better and last week's 11 miler felt even better. I can finally picture myself completing 13.1 and I finished that run really excited about crossing the finish line in just a few short weeks.
Here's the thing. I've always had a time goal in mind for my half. I know that the only goal should be finishing and all that talk, but I'd thought that I could keep a certain pace and make my goal of about 2:45. Its not a fast time by any means, but I would feel comfortable with it. While I was running my 11 miles on Sunday, I realized that the pace that makes it comfortable enough for me to go that distance without burning out is much slower than that. My pace will put me much closer to 3 hours. I struggled with that a bit when I first realized it. Man that's slow! But, its me. Its me moving my still quite heavy body 13.1 miles. Its me logging 88 miles for the month of January (after tomorrow's 5 miler). I'm a better runner than I was 18 months ago, 12 months ago, 6 months ago, 3 months ago. From the beginning of my running journey I've said I want to build distance and then worry about speed. So why am I worried about how fast I do the longest distance I'll ever try? Uh, I don't know! I'm not!
The runner I am is one who fuels himself with positive thoughts. I will run 13.1 miles because I'm putting in the work to get my body ready to do it. There is a lot more that I need to get my body to do, including be less body, but that will all come with time and more positivity. For now, I am the runner I am, and that runner is going to move his 270 pound body 13.1 miles along the Ft. Lauderdale beach 6 days after his 40th birthday.