THE LAST 4 MILES ARE ALWAYS THE HARDEST // SUNDAY FUNDAY
It probably has something to do with how fast the first miles were.
It’s also quite possible that it’s a mental thing. Like, “Oh I’ve already ran 3.7 miles…and now I’m supposed to run another 4.3? What kind of sick game is this?” More than likely, it’s a combination of both factors that made today’s 8 mile run just a little bit difficult. After last week’s horror show of an 8 mile run, I fully committed myself to avoiding any super steep hills or downhills at all costs. So, that meant signing up for lot’s of running around in circles and frequent watch checks to see if I was actually going anywhere distance wise.
Naturally, when you’re checking your watch every 5 minutes, those last miles drag out. However, the first 4 were not exactly a walk in the park. There was a near slip n’ slide incident in the mud during lap 1. And, with spooky season in full swing, I basically thought every shadow I saw was either a rabid animal or some non human being. And, if the latter happened to be the case, I really don’t think my pepper spray would do much good.
One of the hardest moments came when I had to run backwards to my house for a gel break.
Yes, I am that person who is too lazy to just carry their gel with them and then take it when they feel like it’s the right time. So, that short stretch between lap 2 and my house (probably like 4 or 5 blocks) seemed to take forever. Then, when I finally got there and was able to catch my breath for a moment, the last thing I wanted to do was take off running for another 4.3. I mean, sure I had the extra carbs/energy in me, but mentally, I was ready to be done. Thankfully, my music motivated me from that point forward to keep going.
I still dragged my feet/practically crawled up the min hill. Asked myself at least a dozen time if I really thought it was a smart idea to go 8. I toyed around with the idea of only going 7, which seemed much more doable once I reached the 5 mile mark on my second loop down Main Street. Yup. By the time I was in sight of the gym (my tried and true finish line) I still had another 2.5+ miles to go. This was a super scary realization…which would have been made a whole lot scarier if I knew just how slow my 5 mile time had been.
The twisty trail is legit the scariest place to run when it’s dark out.
It’s on the edge of town, there are only a half dozen or so house scattered around it, and the road is absolute trash. I’m talking, major risk of a sprain ankle and/or tripping and falling flat on your face. Plus there is corn+this little wooded area down there too. Aka it’s pretty much like a scene straight out of a million horrors movies I’ve seen before. I really, did not want to run down that loop once (in the dark)…let alone twice. But, 8 miles is a super long distance to cover without adding in any extra hills. So, I bit the bullet and did my 2 twisty trail loops.
The first loop actually felt pretty fast, probably because I seriously thought in my head that after 1 loop and another trip by the gym I would be done…or at least close to done. Wrong. I was only at the 6.5 mile mark after that first trip. Lovely. Just what my de-motivated and slightly scared ass needed. Now, I had to do another freaking loop down there…and somehow stop myself from stopping at 7 miles. The battle was on. Literally.
Miles 6&7 were the literally the flattest and slowest miles of my run. Aka further evidence of my hatred for the creepy twisty trail. I was also at that point that everyone reaches in a long run where you just cannot deal anymore. I was sweating my butt off, even though it was only like 40 degrees at most. I was super annoyed and over carrying my glasses. Every dip in the road or piece of loose gravel just seemed to piss me off and slow me down. And, wouldn’t you know it, the “right” music just was not playing at the right time.
Finally, after what felt like an eternity, I hit the 8 mile mark.
My first thought when I hit that stop button wasn’t “I better have hit x pace or else.” Instead, it was, “HOLY COW I ACTUALLY DID IT. I RAN 8 FREAKING MILES WITH ZERO PAIN AND WITHOUT THROWING IN THE TOWEL. HALLELUJAH.” I obviously had to look at my splits and pace before stepping foot into the gym to tackle yet another heavy leg day. I was pretty impressed by my time, even if it wasn’t anywhere near the 8 mile times I was running a year ago. I had shaved off close to 40 seconds from last week’s disastrous 8 mile time (average pace of 9:44 today vs. 9:49 last Sunday.
Oh, and I even managed to hit a new back squat PR of 180 lbs. immediately following this mentally draining run. I guess overall it was a pretty successful start to my Sunday. Although, I’m not gonna lie, it’s going to feel fantastic to “only” have to run 3 miles tomorrow and avoid the twisty trail entirely.