Last Saturday my brother Christopher and our friend Marc rode their bikes from Logan, Utah to Jackson Hole, Wyoming in a little road race we like to call LOTOJA. If you don't know off the top of your head how far that is, try a little over TWO HUNDRED MILES. Yeah. In one day.
So today, as I did my 16 mile marathon training run, when I was sort of tempted to cheat on my mileage or walk the last five miles, I would chant to myself, "Christpher and Marc rode their bikes from Logan to Jackson. Christopher and Marc rode their bikes from Logan to Jackson," and I would realize what a pansy I was being.
This run was sort of a significant mental victory since it's actually the longest distance I've ever run outside of my last marathon. Three and a half years ago, when I was training for the Rock and Roll Marathon, it was during my 16 miler that I injured myself and wasn't able to run until the day of the race. I still remember exactly where I was in Harvard Square when I felt an excruciating pain my ankle and knew that something was seriously wrong. I limped around Boston that weekend and on Monday my doctor confirmed the seriousness of my injury and I ended up in physical therapy twice a week for the six weeks until the marathon. The only running I did in between was the 30 minutes my therapist let me do in his office three days before I left for San Diego and I sobbed the entire time-partially because I missed running so much and partially because I was totally afraid it would hurt and he would decide I couldn't go. But he sent me off with plenty of athletic tape and a special wrapping technique and I did indeed finish that marathon.
All week I've sort of been dreading this run and today it finally hit me why. My training has not been as consistent as I would have liked this time around, and sickness and travel and aches and pains have all conspired to make me wonder if this was such a good idea. I think I was understandably nervous that this distance might be a real killer.
I am however, very pleased to report that I not only survived, but felt really good pretty much the whole time. The last couple of miles were a bit tough and I am sitting here at 10 on a saturday night already in my pajamas as I am EXHAUSTED. But. I did it. The whole 16. And I didn't get hurt. And I didn't let myself get discouraged. All manner of tiny victories today. And my reward? New jeans in a new, smaller size.