There are not a lot of things that bug me when I run. I don’t love wind, but I can ignore it for the most part. Hills aren’t my favorite, but my dad taught me to embrace them as a great way to push past the competition. Cold weather, sure I hate it but bundle me up and I can run in it. Rain? Bring it (for the most part).
The other night I decided to do some Googling (that was my first mistake). I started searching for reviews of the Poconos Marathon that we are running in 4 weeks. Granted, I should have probably done this months ago when I registered. But I was 10 weeks out from having a baby and high off of the endorphins from being back in the game and having just helped out at the Chicago Marathon.
At the time I started looking at spring marathons and this one came up with rave reviews from Runner’s World. The course starts out with a gradual six mile climb and then descends 1,200 feet over the next 20 miles. Sign me up! And so I did.
When blog after blog the other night noted that this was deceptive advertising, my eyes about popped out of my head. Every blog discusses how between miles 18-23 there are constant up and downhill sections. Correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t those the miles where runners struggle the most both mentally and physically on the course? Aaahhh!!
Here’s the other thing, Chicago is flat as a pancake. I hadn’t been running hills until I got to NYC during the first week of April. I was smart enough then to start incorporating a loop of Central Park into my daily runs.
As I prepared for my 22 mile run last Friday, I made a decision to do two laps of Central Park. (If you are not aware, CP has some killer hills throughout, especially up near Harlem. It is a challenging 6 mile loop).
I added some new songs to my playlist. Headed out with fuel and a little bit of an idea of what I would run. My initial plan was to run to the park, do two laps and then head to Randall’s Island for awhile before returning home. But as I started on my second lap of Central Park, something hit me. I had just gone up two consecutive, difficult hills and I didn’t even notice. I didn’t reach them and mentally prep myself. I didn’t think about how hard it was as I was pushing up. I just went.
It was then that I decided to go ahead and do a third lap of the park and just go for it. It happened again. Sure I was tired. My glutes were screaming a bit on a few climbs. Yet each time I hit the top, everything evened out and I felt pretty good.
The lesson to be learned here is that sometimes we need to go head first into those things that we find difficult or really dread. The more you work at it and continue to be persistent, you will whittle away at the difficulty. It might get easier or it might just get more tolerable. Either way, you will get through it. The best way to tackle the things you dread the most, is head on.
What is something you have to work to push through on a run?