THERE IS NO LIMIT TO WHAT YOU'RE CAPABLE OF
It all started yesterday when my mom mentioned that she had told a couple people about my upcoming half-marathon in September.
Instantly, it made me think back on how these past few months of training have gone. How, I'm not exactly where I thought I would be 7ish weeks out from race day endurance wise and dealing with running in the heat/humidity. I still don't have any idea how to taper...and really am not too motivated to figure that out right now either. I haven't been all that consistent with using gels on runs over 6 miles either. Also, I have been scared to death of running anything less than 5 miles on my "short" run days.
Needless to say, the more people that know that you're training for something as huge/terrifying/challenging as a 13.1 mile race...the more the self-doubt starts to creep in. I'm not sure how my body is going to hold up over the rest of training...let alone come race day. How on earth am I going to mentally be able to remain positive/driven enough to get through the wall at like the 10 mile mark when I realized that every step I take is farther than I have EVER ran in my 22+ years on this earth.
As I laced up my shoes this morning, half asleep (because apparently 7 hours of sleep isn't enough for my body), I did my best to look on the bright side.
Maybe it wasn't the end of the world that people knew what I was doing running in circles 6 days a week all around town. Sometimes struggling to crack a smile or even muster up a half hearted wave. Maybe, just maybe, the more people that knew, the more I would be able to push myself past my predefined limits. Which, on a morning like this morning....was going to be a struggle.
That first block or so all I could think was, WHAT ON EARTH DID I DO TO MY BODY YESTERDAY?! Every single part of my lower body ached/felt sore and like I had been run over by a bus or something. Then, I recalled that I had forced myself to run 8 miles yesterday (because I knew today was going to be awful heat/humidity wise) even though I was defnitely ready to be done well before the 7 mile mark. Well, obviously that limited me a bit during that first mile speed wise.
Somehow, despite all of the hills, stabbing pain, and humidity...my first mile was a 9:26 according to Strava's gap pace (aka factoring in hills/elevation).
I really, truthfully do not know how the bleepity bleep this happened, because I felt like I was practically walking up some of those hills as slow as I was moving. Still, I knew how bad I have gotten at going far too fast during miles 2-3 (and sometimes 4), so I made a consciously effort to go slower and NOT run like a wild person on the downhills. That, surprisingly enough, paid off a little. The farther I ran, I felt a little better pain wise...and eventually only really had to contend with the heat/humidity comob...which was still tough. Just not I want to bawl my eyes out and curl into a ball tough.
I got a very brief break at the start of lap 2 (aka like 2.5ish miles in) at the rail road crossing. I was hoping and in desperate need of like a 2-3 minute break, but only ended up getting like a 30-45 second break. Which, was nice....but not all that helpful. Man, the entire rest of my run from there on was such a major battle, both mentally and physically. I was able to stay positive until I neared the 4 mile mark. And every step from that point forward was just indescribabley difficult. It was like, no matter how hard I tried, I just could not go any faster. My body was fighting me, and mentally, I just couldn't comprehend how on earth I was a. going to make it to the 5 mile mark + finish line at the gym and b. run 13.1 mile in September if the weather happened to be even a little bit like this.
However, apparently my crazy, strong, resilient, pizza loving, jacked up body knows no l i m i t s.
I ran the last .12 miles of my 5.13 mile run at 9:10 pace!! This is a freaking miracle because all I remember about that long stretch of sidewalk between Casey's and the gym was that it seemed to go on forever. And, I was all over the sidewalk, trying to just stay on my feet and make it to the finish...and the a/c gym obviously! I just kept telling myself over and over...the faster you run, the sooner you're done. SO MOVE IT.
I huffed and I puffed and I dragged my body through over 5 miles of heat and humidity this morning...all after just having ran 8 miles @ 9:48 pace the day before. I was even able to improve my pace to 9:45 today. All I can think to myself now, all these hours later is, this shouldn't be possible. My pace should have been like over 10 minute miles the entire time with weather factored in and muscle soreness from Sunday's leg day. I should not have been able to make it even one block with how shitty I felt after running one step this morning...let alone 5 miles.
Hence, the title of this post, "There is No Limit to What You're Capable of."
As much as someone who's a non-runner is going to say you can't expect to run like this for your entire life, especially if you're doing it on the pavement....DID YA KNOW HOW BAD THAT IS FOR YOUR KNEES AND YOUR ENTIRE BODY?! Anyone who's had even just a small taste of what it's like to run wild and free out in nature, will tell you....you just feel invinceable. Like you could run for hours and hours without ever getting tired. And, for those more serious/addicted runners who have caught the bug....there is no limit distance wise to just how far you're willing to push your body. Whether it be 50 miles weeks, 9-10 mile long runs, or running insanely fast paces, limits do not HAVE to exist.
Sure, there's how much time you have a week to get your runs in and how much time you have to recover from your workouts. There's also how far away your next race is and how much work you still have left to put in. However, at the end of the day...the only one who is putting limits on your performance/actual running 99% of the time is Y O U. And, guess what? The best thing you can do with those limits is throw them out the window ASAP.