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My First Marathon and a New Pair of Shoes

Monday, December 22, 2014

A fellow Sparker is blessing me with a new pair of running shoes. I am so grateful to Kneemaker and his family. They will be coming sometime after Christmas. I am excited, and grateful!
That being said, a member of our running club invited me to run a marathon-length training run. There's a road heading north from our town that goes 24 miles to the next town in another county and he would leave 'aid' stations for us every five miles or so. Once you get to town, you cruise up and down another highway to make it 26.2 ending at the community center where a huge Christmas party awaits. What fun! I just had to do it, even in my old shoes.
Well, it was a long tough road and I was in a lot of pain by the end of it, but I did finish the whole thing. 7 hours 15 minutes. I did lose two more pieces of tread off the bottom of my shoe, but I made it! The cut off for my race in February is eight hours, so I am very encouraged by this. I can't wait to try out my new shoes. Last time I got new shoes, they shaved a whole minute from my mile pace.
I was in some pain still last night, but this morning I woke up pain free and ready to bounce! I have so much energy today, it is unreal! I am riding high because even though it doesn't count as an actual marathon on my stats, I KNOW I JUST RAN A MARATHON!! Folks, I just started running at all last February. Don't let any goal you have, no matter how lofty, intimidate you. Go after it and take it!
The guy who organized our run, had family members drive by and offer aid, food, water, even a ride to town if I wanted it. Funny story: I had just told someone I was good and watched them drive away because I knew I was within half a mile of the next aid station at mile twenty. Well, when I got there, the neighbor dog had eaten all our granola bars! There was one bottle of Gatorade untampered, and that was all! LOL. Never turn down aid when it's there!
I got a hero's welcome at the Christmas party. We had so much fun! I had sent a bag of clothes and wet ones wipes ahead of time, so I could change and feel half-way human. In the future, I would have put a phone charger in that bag, because my phone died at 19.5 miles and it would have been nice to get it going.
If you want to be a runner, do like I did: jog in place in your living room while you watch TV or something. When you can go an hour, take it outside and run a quarter mile, walk a quarter mile over and over. Pretty soon, you'll be signing up for your first 5K!
Merry Christmas Everyone! Have a safe and Happy Holiday Season!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NHES220 12/22/2014 3:34PM

How exciting! You are awesome and I'm so proud of you for doing this run even in your old shoes. I don't know that I want to do a full marathon, but I'm psyched to do another half marathon and improve my time. I'm also committed to running outside this winter which is something I never thought I would do. Woo Hoo! Well done!

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BEACHCALSIX 12/22/2014 10:09AM

    wow you are emoticon I hope to eventually run a full marathon like you some day! Thanks for the inspiration. You're amazing! Glad you're getting some new shoes!!

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LSIG14 12/22/2014 7:52AM

    I am soooo happy for you completing your first marathon!!! You are awesome! I know that you are elated and you really are entitled to that thrill. I'm also happy that you're getting your new running shoes - that will really make you feel better! Spark friends are so special! Hope you and Dave have a great Christmas - we will finish this year with a flourish!!!

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I have so much to be Thankful for

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I desperately need new running shoes. They are flat, hurt to run in and have holes in them. I have to wait until I get gift cards at Christmas to afford new shoes. If it were not for my shoes going flat, I would not be having plantar fasciitis. But the doctor said I could keep running and that it would just hurt.
Also this week, I have been exhausted from work. It has been a difficult week at work to say the least. My boss makes me crazy. So I have felt run down every day this week.
So I got out there to nab another long run, and after just a measly three miles, my body said NO. My legs turned to jelly. I got nauseous. I couldn't run another step. My legs were leaden. There was no issue of willing myself through it. It simply could not happen. And since I was on the other side of the lake, I now had a three mile hike to get back to the car.
I was furious with myself.
And I was in terrible pain.
But it is not in my nature to give up without a fight. I am not quitting my marathon. So while I limped slowly out, I came up with a plan. First, it's obvious I need more rest. So for the next couple of weeks, I will go to bed an hour earlier. Also, I have been chasing these long runs week after week. It is time to give it a rest for two weeks and just do short runs every other day or every couple of days and do cross training the rest of the time. By the time Christmas rolls around and I get new shoes, I should be well rested and ready to try another long run. Maybe my plantar pain will be healed by then too.
I know that setbacks are part of growing. I know that nothing worthwhile comes easy.
I have so much to be thankful for. I finally got my head right about staying in my calories and eating healthier. I am on the right track. And I have proven to myself that I have the endurance to push myself. I am thankful that I have gotten healthy so I can do this. I am thankful that I can lose weight. I am thankful for second chances. And third, fourth and fifth chances! I am thankful for like-minded friends to share this with. I am thankful that I have the intelligence to problem solve. I am thankful for the progress I have made. I am thankful for the tools on this website. I am thankful so that I cannot remember what I was upset about.

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I really struggled with my trigger foods. And I still do, but I wanted to share some thoughts that have helped me. For a few months, I didn't really lose or gain. I bounced around in a five pound range gaining and then losing the same weight over and over. Honestly, it was probably water weight. I ate MOSTLY good and a little bad. I MOSTLY stayed in my calorie range, but slipped over just often enough to not see results. I could be good for four or five days and then undo a week's work in a single night. Here's where my fear was: who wants to give up everything fun and then not see results! But I wasn't seeing results anyway! Frustrating. Well, what I had to do was figure out a calories in and calories out template, that would generate a certain weight loss each week and then decide what foods I would eat to fill those calories. And what foods do I want to say no to. I had to really specifically write it all out. I had to have a solid plan. I couldn't leave anything to chance. So then it comes down to this: stay on the plan, see results OR step out of the plan, and don't. The first week was so hard because until weigh in at the end of the first week, I wasn't sure it would work. Mathematically it would work but would it? After the first weigh in, my confidence soared. Now when temptations crop up, it is easier to just decide: do I want to see a weight loss this week? But that's only part of it.
Here's where it really comes down in my mind. When I was eating food with sugar or heaven forbid, high fructose corn syrup, my cravings were out of control. If someone brought in chocolate, I was powerless to say no. I had to both eliminate those types of foods but also find substitutes that wouldn't derail my effort or cause cravings, but would satisfy my need for something sweet. Mostly fresh fruit. After a week of clean eating, I stopped having so many cravings. Now it is getting easier for me to decide I don't want a particular food, simply because I don't want those cravings to come back. I don't want to have to start over because it was not an easy thing to do in the first place.
Now I'm able to focus on my mental problems with food. I know that sounds funny but I don't know how else to say it. Obesity for me, is a mind problem. Sometimes I get it in my head that I haven't eaten enough for the day and I'm afraid I will go to bed hungry. The reality is that I've eaten exactly what I should. Now I can deal with changing these thought patterns. When I was at the mercy of my cravings, this kind of processing of my thought patterns was not possible. It's like pealing off layers of an onion. As we get through all the mental baggage we carry around about eating, we get closer to the core of how we should think, by knocking down these old ideas. We have to challenge our beliefs about eating, why we eat, and what we eat. And we can only do it one layer at a time.
Whatever stage you are at, I hope this gives you some inspiration to bring it to the next level. Push yourself. Fight for what you want. I wish you all a great week ahead!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KNEEMAKER 12/17/2014 10:32PM

  Awesome Blog April. I'll make you a good deal: If you'll share with me your exact meal plans and eating thought processes, I'll gladly send you some new running shoes. After all, we Russell's must stick together. If you agree send the size, width too and brand preferred plus shipping address to kneemaker@aol.com. What you have described is me all over and the cost of a good set of running shoes will be well worth it for me. We can consider it as swapping Christmas gifts. Thanks for sharing and considering this offer. Your Russell buddy. Let's just keep on keeping on! emoticon

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BEACHCALSIX 12/17/2014 11:21AM

    ugggh SUGAR! I have a HUGE sugar addiction. I think I always will. It's like people who have alcoholism, it's a life long battle and they have to stay away from it as much as possible. Once I get a tiny taste of sugar...that's it, I'm gone. The cravings go CRAZY. I want more and MORE and can never get satisfied! I know that feeling!
Hope you get some new shoes soon! My shoes are in "ok" condition for now but I will need new shoes again soon. Especially with the races I plan to run :)
Fruit always helps tame my cravings too. I love to stock up on ALOT of grapes and strawberries (my favorites). I love to put non fat cool whip on strawberries, better than most desserts! and usually under 100 calories for a full box of strawberries! SCORE!
Same with grapes, you can eat an entire bag and be at around 150-200 calories...a WHOLE BAG. CRAZY lol.
Anyways, I hope you get some rest for those legs. I'm not experienced with long distance running (yet) but it does sound like overtraining (which I dealth with last summer). A bit of rest will bring the energy right back!
My goal is to tackle long runs 1-2 times per week and then go from there.
Thanks for the inspiration! You always give great tips!

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NHES220 12/15/2014 8:24PM

    You go girl! Once you break those cravings it is easier! And yes, I think you need to give your body a little rest, so good for you! You are amazing and do not forget it!

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IDICEM 12/15/2014 11:29AM

  That's a great plan for your running / cross training. emoticon emoticon

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GORDON66 12/15/2014 9:58AM

  My boss makes me crazy too. As for your shoes, have you tried buying them online? I wear New Balance, and I get emails from them all the time. When shipping is free and they're offering a discount, that's the time I buy my shoes. You shouldn't even be walking in worn out, beat up shoes. This could definitely be exacerbating the problem with the planters fasciitis.

I've often felt that dieting only puts a patch on the underlying eating issues, but, in the end, it comes down to making a choice. Once you start recognizing that you have options, you're half way there. Making the appropriate choices is the hard part. Good luck!!



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FUNLOVEN 12/15/2014 9:22AM

    What a great blog, April! I think you have a solid plan for your running until you get those new shoes. Or have you looked into those arch supports you can buy at the store? They aren't as expensive as shoes and they just might help.

And LOOK AT YOU ! ! ! I have been following a few bloggers that are doing the Beck Diet Solution, but you have figured out the very same things she is saying about eating and cravings AND you did it all by yourself without a book. You are one smart gal emoticon

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FRAN0426 12/14/2014 10:36PM

    Sounds like a good plan for resting your feet , then when you get those new shoes your feet should be ready to break in the new ones.
Trigger foods I believe are the toughest hurdle with getting healthy for many of us. So glad you have been able to find the perfect balance for you.

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MEOWMEEEOW 12/14/2014 10:12PM

    Wow! I admire your courage to listen to your body and reassess the exercise plan. It's hard to work through set backs, but it sounds like you have a very sensible plan.

You are so precisely correct that the battle for your mind is the most essential element in success. I sabotage myself with different thought patterns than you do, but so much of the fight for success is in my head. Thanks for sharing!!!

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LSIG14 12/14/2014 8:03PM

    You are so together - I am in awe. You really seem to understand what you need to do and explain it very well. I basically know what I need to do but still am a slave to my cravings. I have no trouble making the plan; I have trouble sticking to it! I'm so glad you have decided to ease up on the training a little - I was concerned that you were overdoing. Praying that you and David will have a wonderful Christmas season and that your new shoes will carry you through your marathon. Know that I am right there beside you, cheering you on!

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BERGBA7 12/14/2014 5:17PM

    Very good you listened to your body and realized you needed more rest between the long runs. Never run pass your body. Push it but don't make it implode.
The big story on cravings and trigger foods in weight loss and maintenance is huge. It's great you found your balance. Keep going!
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A Milestone Non-Scale Victory

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

As I've started just weighing in once a week, I am always looking for NSVs. So I was kicking around the house Sunday, sore as all get-out from a six hour workout on Saturday, and I ventured into he back closet. I had forgotten a friend had given me a bunch of different size clothes and I had put a bunch of size 14's away. So I got them out to try them on. Well, all my weight is in my hips and butt so when I saw they were all pants and skirts, I wasn't so sure. They looked tiny. I was shocked when 1) I could fit in them 2) I could zip and button them 3) I could sit down, squat, bend without ripping a seam! I was so excited!
So a couple of weeks ago, with a lot of support from you Sparkfriends and a phone call to my mom, I got my head straight about the food. I finally decided what I really wanted. So up to Sunday, I was doing great on the food and then Monday (after the NSV) it was the darndest thing: I had all kinds of crazy cravings for food I knew I shouldn't have. Well, I got on Spark, called my mom, rallied my husband and got through it without giving in. I did buy something chocolate at the store, but before I decided to eat it, I gave it away at the neighbors house. Waste of three dollars but lesson learned and feeling strong. So Monday, too, I stayed in my calories! And again today! And I am still back on track.
I am enjoying my running and still chasing a twenty mile run. I had been running a 13.5 mile loop around the lake with my car being a resupply point at the start and finish, but I was running out of water at 10 miles and then by the time I got to the car, I really had tanked and so as I took off again, could only make a few more miles. So I decided I am going to stick to the inner trail which also goes around the lake but is a 6.8 mile loop. If I do three of these, I get to stop at the car more often to restock, never run out of water, keep the cramps at bay. Plus I keep Gatorade in the trunk! I am going after three loops this weekend: 20.4 miles--with little breaks. So far the most I got done was 17.5 mi but that was the week my plantar fasciitis flared up. But I went to the podiatrist and he said I can keep running, it will heal on the run. I have a frozen bottle of water that I roll under the arch to ice and stretch it afterward. It was great, my husband was sitting right there with me expecting me to be benched and the doctor said Keep Running! I was on cloud Nine. That and a cortisone shot and I feel a whole lot better! Oh and I'm going to stretch really good this weekend!!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BERGBA7 12/10/2014 6:04PM

A size 14 is fantastic!
I am looking forward to reading your blog about your three loop run and first 20 miler!
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EVRLNGFOO 12/10/2014 1:27PM

    awesome! keep it up!

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NHES220 12/10/2014 12:47PM

    Wow, great news from the doctor! Way to go on your runs too and fitting in the clothes! You are doing awesome! Keep it up.

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BEACHCALSIX 12/10/2014 12:39PM

    emoticon to the nsvs!! emoticon feeling!
That always happens to me too, whenever I hit a mini goal or a new nsv I get the cravings because I feel like I'm "in the clear" until the next mini goal lol.
and wow, YOU ROCK, you inspire me to run more, I'm definitely going to do some races this year!

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GORDON66 12/10/2014 9:38AM

  Those cortisone shots make all the difference in the world. emoticon



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IDICEM 12/10/2014 9:34AM

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FUNLOVEN 12/10/2014 9:14AM

    YOU ARE DOING IT! ! ! I am so proud and happy for you. Way to stick with it, April! emoticon

About that chocolate. It reminded me - I love to shop and sometimes I just should not be spending that money and sometimes there just plain isn't anything I need, but I will browse through the lady's department anyway and pick up clothing items that I think might be nice. When I reach the end of the department I go and put all of the clothing back and walk out of the store and WHA-LA, my shopping fix is indeed fixed!

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LSIG14 12/10/2014 4:50AM

    So happy for you! Know fitting into the 14s feels great. Also being cleared and getting back to running is the best news ever. (Just pace yourself and don't overdo it!) Sending tons of hugs and cheers!

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FRAN0426 12/9/2014 11:35PM

    Get news about the NSV--proud you should be for sure. Hey great news for you to keep running with the doctors blessing---good for you. You will reach that 20 mule run on day--- emoticon emoticon

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ROCKYCPA 12/9/2014 11:12PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TWESTEN1 12/9/2014 10:11PM

    You are spectacular, Miss April!!!!
Way to go with the running & how incredibly awesome to fit into those 14s!!!! YAY for you :) I'm so happy for you!

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MEOWMEEEOW 12/9/2014 9:51PM

    Yay for you! That's amazing!

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SUNSHINE99999 12/9/2014 9:35PM

  I raise my water glass for more successes in your future. emoticon

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KENTUCKYMEL14 12/9/2014 9:24PM

    Wow! You're such an inspiration! My goal is to run a half marathon by July 27, 2015 (my birthday). Right now I can't even run a mile and I know I need to get on it or I won't reach my goal. Reading this was just what I needed. I'm so proud of you! Keep being awesome. :)

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TRYINGTOLOSE64 12/9/2014 9:23PM

    Congrats on the NSV's!! Good luck on the 20.4 mile run!! You can do it!!!

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Breaking Through The Wall

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Here's me in my kneepads. (The pictures blurry because my husband's hand shake really bad.)
It only took me an hour to get going this morning. So I went out to the park and ran from 9:50a to 2:30p. For the last two weekends, I wanted to do at least eighteen miles, if not twenty, but I felt really off my game both weekends. I'm stuck at seventeen. So I came home, cooked dinner for my husband and I, and then we had some errands to go run. So I'm at the store with my husband and my legs are sore and I'm thinking how everything is unusually tight. I try to stretch my legs a little to push out the soreness and that's when I realize that I have been forgetting to stretch! No wonder I'm hitting a wall! Before every long run, I ALWAYS stretch everything out for at least thirty minutes before I take off down the trail. How was I forgetting this? Sometimes I can be such a dork.
So I'm hoping that next weekend, my stretching routine gives me the edge I need to bust through that wall.
On the drive home from my run and in the shower, I was thinking over my training. In order to be at a marathon by Valentine's Day, I need to be at twenty-three miles by January 15th. Doubts began to nag at me, of whether or not I could do this. I decided right then, that it's okay to have a little doubt for a moment, but don't let it take hold in my mind. I believe I can do this. I believe that if I stick to my running, it will just happen. It will all fall into place. It may be at the last moment, but it has to happen if I stick to my schedule. I've got to keep the faith.
Today is day fourteen of staying on my diet. I've spent the last year figuring out what my trigger foods are. (And yes, they were delicious!) So I made a list of what I would and wouldn't eat. It has been fun to stick to it because there are so many good, low-cal foods that I really do like and I'm seeing results again. I am really enjoying just weighing in once a week. I didn't realize how weighing in every day was really hurting my motivation! It has made all the difference in the world!
One last note, why won't popcorn companies give it to you straight as to how many calories are actually in a popped bag of popcorn! OMG! Part of why I wasn't losing was because I had calculated this wrong and it was putting me over what I thought I was eating every day. (The other part was just that I was going over anyway and eating a lot of junk.) But seriously, do I need to know how many calories are in unpopped popcorn? Am I trying to break my teeth?

I'll leave you with a picture of two of my favorite people: my mom and my niece.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRAN0426 12/7/2014 8:55PM

    emoticon emoticon

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IDICEM 12/7/2014 2:11PM

  You're doing great! You'll make your goal. And you are so right about the popcorn companies! lol

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FUNLOVEN 12/7/2014 9:46AM

    Very nice pic of your family emoticon

Honestly, April, I don't know why on earth you would even think you could not achieve a goal of 23 miles by mid-January - LOL!. That is over a month away and you are already doing 17 miles consistently. I don't doubt for one minute that you can do this!

CHEERS to your success!

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LSIG14 12/7/2014 9:28AM

    Love the pictures! Glad to see you wearing the knee pads - DON'T skip the stretches!

Thanks so much for my pedometer and the encouragement - together we can do this!!

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BERGBA7 12/7/2014 7:21AM

    Bravo on your very long run!
I am sure you had some doubts training for your first half-marathon too when you were in the midst of it, no? Just keep going and you will run this marathon the same way that you ran your half marathon!
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About the stretching. This is very important for me too and I must say I enjoy doing it 2-3 times a week in the evening. It is not directly related to the run, but I do it that way. It works for me.
Don't forget it nest time!
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TWESTEN1 12/7/2014 5:35AM

    Love the pics!!!!!
So glad I got to see the kneepads & even more glad that you are wearing them. Now, remember to stretch!!!! You are doing a great job and I have no doubt that you will reach your running goals and will do great on your marathon. So proud of you!

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NHES220 12/7/2014 1:12AM

    Still a cute picture even sideways! I am in such admiration of you and your training! I was very lucky with my half marathon training to not have any injuries, but you are pushing through. You are a warrior!

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CLEAN_MAMA 12/6/2014 11:20PM

    way to go on the running!! that is awesome...I always "forget" to stretch...for some reason I don't take time for it..i need to start doing that. thank you for the reminder. I love the picture :)

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APRILRUSSELL3 12/6/2014 10:55PM

    What is it with iPhones and sideways pictures?!!

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What Goes Through a Runner's Mind.

Friday, November 28, 2014

I forgot to take a picture of me in my new kneepads. And I'm not going to go through putting all THAT on again just to take one! We'll catch it next week. It takes me two hours to get ready for a long run in the morning. I have all the 'gear' to put on, the anti-chaffing layers, make sure I go to the bathroom, make sure I eat the right things, pack all the food and water I will need. It's a ritual.
And then I get out there and I have my route planned based on how many miles I'm going to lay down. And then I'm running.
I spend the first mile convincing myself that I'm not actually going to die. The first mile is the hardest because you are getting warmed up and finding your pace. I don't let myself think about the distance during the first mile because I would just want to quit.
Miles 2-4, I am dispelling my doubts and fears and by the end of that segment I'm in a place where I just feel I could go and go. I reason with myself based on pace, distance and terrain and convince myself that I can.
On the fifth and sixth miles, I get into a really happy state where I am reliving the finishes of past and future races over and over. I imagine how amazing it will be to finish at my first marathon. I am no longer aware of these miles, I am in my head at a happier place.
Between 7 and 15 miles, all kinds of craziness goes through my head. This is where I am learning to evaluate my pain. Just soreness? Not an injury? Use your mind to push it out of your body. My mind has gotten really strong like that because running is such a meditation anyway. Sometimes if a certain part of my leg hurts me, I can slightly shift my form and it goes away too. Sometimes I get to a place where I don't know where I was mentally, but I don't remember running the last mile because I was in a daydream about getting gored by a wild hog or falling and breaking my leg and dragging myself out of the woods or some kind of craziness like that. I daydream a lot when I run. I don't like to listen to music because I listen for bicyclists that want to run me over and other things on the trails. I listen to my breath and my feet crashing through the leaves and the wildlife that I startle.
After mile fifteen, I am just thinking "All the miles you just laid down brought you to this place so you can get these miles done, and wouldn't it be a shame to have come all this way and not do them, so you're doing it." And that gets me through.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PORTIAWILLIS 11/30/2014 5:18PM

    Wow that is dedication for you. Keep up the good work.

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BERGBA7 11/29/2014 5:04PM

    Oh yes - running is a meditation and running long distance is all about your mind-body connection! You are so inspiring for getting out there regularly and getting further and further!
Enjoy-Rejoice-and Focus!
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IDICEM 11/29/2014 4:54PM

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FUNLOVEN 11/29/2014 8:30AM

    OMG, I am sooo tired after running those miles with you! Actually, I think I would be tired after just putting all the gear on - 2 hours!!!! Thanks for the trip.

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ROCKYCPA 11/28/2014 9:40PM

    Good for you - keep up the good work!

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DRPOOH63 11/28/2014 8:13PM

    Great blog and so true. I don't do the miles you do and I listen to music or podcasts and it is amazing what goes through my mind. emoticon

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TWESTEN1 11/28/2014 8:13PM

    That is so cool April, though I'm sad the picture didnt get taken!!! I truly am impressed by your distance running. You are amazing!

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NHES220 11/28/2014 7:45PM

    Well done! Good for you. I don't listen to music when I run with other people, but do on my own but keep it low because you really do need to listen. I hear you about the bikes! There is a funny blog/article about what goes through a runners mind, I'll see if I can find it and post it.

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LSIG14 11/28/2014 7:23PM

    You are just doing so great! We are sitting here by the fire, watching the family across the street building a snow family - such fun. I still do my laps in the house but it's not the same as outside. I'm wishing for Spring already! Keep up the good work!

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Comment edited on: 11/28/2014 7:23:25 PM

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MM11113 11/28/2014 6:59PM

    Thanks for the descriptions. I'm glad you are out there.

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