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The Hardest Thing I've Ever Done.

I ran 20 miles a week ago. 

I wanted to quit at about mile 3.

I feel like I don't even know where to begin, clearly, since I started this post LAST Sunday. I guess backing up to my 18 miler the weekend before would be best.

I had had to split the 18 miles up due to, well, life. Debi and I ran 6.5 in the morning like NBD. Because honestly, 6.5 should be NBD at this point, right?  Then we finished the 11.5 later that night. There were never any walk breaks, no bathroom breaks, nothing. Just 2 solid, well executioned runs, at a respectable pace.

This Mezamashii run must have played tricks with my head. Apparently I thought if 18 miles were that easy, what's 2 more? I mean, I can run 2 miles all day erryday. Hello miss arrogant. The run gods apparently were ready.

So Debi and I set out to the road race series half marathon with the intention of running 7 more after the 13.1. This race is well known as being the worlds most boring half Marathon. I wish I was exaggerating but ask anyone that has ever run it. It's an out and back along a highway. Seriously.

The temperature was good for me as I like to run in the 40's. No issue there. But by the third mile I was asking Debi if we could walk. I was in my head big time and I knew it. Those miles looming ahead were all I could think about. As much as I told myself to stay in the mile, I couldn't. Debi talked it out with me and we discussed breaking it into 4 five mile chunks, with fuel breaks after each 5 miles.
Memphis Runners Track Club: 2013 RRS 1st Half Marathon &emdash;
There we are in the left side of the picture.  I'm in the orange shirt and black socks.  Debi is next to me in the gray shirt and black capris.
After that, I got to the first 5 mile fuel break and I felt a ton better. We made it to the turn around and I was back to my normal self. My friend Jay was with us for a bit and we clowned it up for the photographer, although those pictures got lost apparently. I can't remember when I started to lose it again, but it happened.

My ITB/knee started to hurt. I could feel my black toenail bruising up more. And the hills. Oh the hills. What would probably be classified as more of rolling hills felt like mountains. I was walking more than I would have liked. We made it to the finish line around 2:30 which if I was actually racing, I would have been pissed.

We took a porta potty break and then got back out for the remaining 7 miles. I've never wanted to quit so bad in my life. I really felt like everything was hurting and I kept telling myself there was no way I could run a marathon.

Where did this negative talk come from?

 How did I get here after a great 18 miles? Is this the wall?

As much as I wanted to turn around and call it a day, my heart wouldn't let me. I needed to finish this run. The walk breaks came more frequently. I hurt. We turned on my music. I leaned on Debi for emotional support in a way I've never leaned on anyone before. I became the worst running partner ever.

Yet, eventually the watch beeped Twenty miles. A new distance finished. The tears started rolling as the apologies started flowing. I despised how negative I was on this day. I was everything I don't want to be, but I finished. And my partner stood by my side and cried along with me. She hugged me and reassured me that it would be ok.

And then we laughed it off.

We enjoyed some Starbucks red cups and decided to move on.

Of all people, Josh was the one that really put things into perspective for me. I complained about how hard it was and he said, "It's 20 miles. It's supposed to be hard".

So what went wrong?

1. Horrible route. Never underestimate the importance of scenery.
2. Expectations: I assumed because my 18 miles went so well, that this would be great also. Every run is different.
3. Tight IT band. I've got to foam roll!
4. My head. Get out of it. You have to live in the mile you're in. Don't think ahead, don't dwell in the past. Just keep running.

The good news:  I've got another 20 miler to redeem myself.  Even if it's slower, I just want a more positive experience.  I want to enjoy the run like I enjoy most of my other runs.  I want to feel like I succeeded.  I know I succeeded in this 20 miler, Hell, I finished it.  But I felt like I wasn't true to me.  I want my next 20 miler to be epic.

Have you ever had a horrific run?  

How did you shake out of it?

I'm okay.

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