The Little Engine That Could

My mantra this morning was a little less G-rated.

My mantra this morning was a little less G-rated.

I ran 12 miles through waist-high water this morning. OK, not really, but it sure FELT like I did. I would like to know who filled my legs with lead while I was sleeping last night. I felt like The Little Engine That Could chugging up a mountain on this morning’s run (and in some spots, nearly became The Little Engine That Couldn’t).

Isn’t it weird when you head out for a run full of energy and good intentions, and it falls apart? Immediately? And continues that way for no obvious reason?

Good weather? Check. Good night’s sleep? Check. Healthy breakfast? Check. And the list goes on – I was hydrated, rested, stretched, dressed appropriately, not sick, etc. And I still managed to have the worst run I have had in a long time. Kept waiting to get into a groove and it never happened. Nothing hurt, but nothing gelled, either. It felt like work. Yuck.

The bright side is that I kept with it and got my weekly long run in. As I sit here, showered, full of endorphins and cooled off, I am reminded that a bad run is still better than no run at all. Truly. Now I feel great.

I also think about how I have committed to running a marathon this year. My main concern with the marathon is the mental tenacity it requires. I have no doubt I can train for the physical needs – I’m sure that I’m more than halfway there already, and don’t plan to run a marathon until the fall. But it is the mental strength that you can’t really test until you are in that situation – hitting the wall and figuring out whether you have what it takes to power through it. Runs like the one I had today might be good mental training for that situation. It’s easy to keep running when you feel great, but so, so hard when you feel like your body is fighting you. So maybe each time today that I decided against cutting my run short and heading home (and believe me, there were many), it strengthened my mental endurance a little bit in preparation for the 26.2. As always, you will get from Point A to Point B if you just keep going. When all else fails, just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other. That’s how I did it this morning. Wasn’t pretty, but I accomplished the route I set out to do.

I feel I must give a shout-out to Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” for getting me up a grueling hill. The man is a genius, I say (only partially tongue in cheek). Who else could put the lyrics,

“Maybe it’s not too late
To learn how to love
And forget how to hate”
“I’m going off the rails on a crazy train.”

And sing it while biting the head off of a bat?

The image made me laugh the whole way up that freaking hill.


6 thoughts on “The Little Engine That Could

  1. If you are knocking out 12 miles now for a marathon in the Fall…I imagine you will be more than prepared for anything race day will throw at you. As for bad runs, I have my fair share at all distances but without the bitter, the sweet ain’t as sweet!

    • Good point about the bitter and the sweet!
      I am weird and like long runs. I try to do a long – 10-13 mile run, sometimes longer – once a week. It’s not part of a training regimen – yet – but for now, just something I like to do. Except today.

      • Well that will come in handy once you hit marathon training and you start climbing into the 15, 16 territory it won’t be daunting and you will be just fine as you approach the 20 milers.

  2. You will be ready for a marathon. You like to run 10-13 miles each week and you aren’t even training for anything! Yes, those last 6 miles will be tough, but you won’t be alone. All you have to do is finish — and you will. And then you’ll know that there isn’t anything you can’t do!

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