The Road to 26.2… The Solo Long Run

For years I have trained with a running group vs. running solo, especially on my long Sunday runs. I figured I didn’t have the drive to complete 18-22 miles independently. Well, it turns out, I absolutely did (and I bet you do too! Yes… YOU). IMG_7262These past two weeks, because of work and personal life schedules, I couldn’t make my normal “8:30am Sunday run”. Which meant my group was going to run without me and I was left having to complete an 18 mile and a 20 mile run on my own. For the 18 mile run I was training in Vancouver (home to the BMO Vancouver Marathon – a beautiful place to run, and an event that Ultima Replenisher is the official drink on the course.) Everyone told me how gorgeous it would be running along the sea wall (which of course it was - see the picture to the right, this is sea wall running in June 2014 - sunny and beautiful) but no one factored in the mental game of running 18 miles alone, in the rain. Yes, it’s true, Mother Nature decided to welcome me into Vancouver with 18 VERY wet miles. By mile four my rain jacket was soaked, by mile seven my feet were making that “slosh” sound in my runners and by mile 10 I had given up wiping my face down anymore and just let the water drip into my mouth (extra hydration right?). The big thing about this day was — even though all these elements of this run were stacked against me — I still managed to complete it (and by four minutes faster than the last 18 miles I ran). I had conquered two things I had long despised (wet runs and solo long runs). It taught me strength and determination to complete something I have set my sights on since January. This past weekend I was back home and facing a 20 mile run on my own. Having never run that distance solo, I was actually petrified I wouldn’t be able to get it done. But why was I so scared? Was there someone telling me I couldn’t do it? Something holding me back? It was the little voice inside of me already putting negative thoughts into my head. So instead of listening to that voice, I ignored it, got up at 6am, laced up those runners and was out the door. I decided to run a 10 mile out and back so that I could use the half way marker as a good distance to aim for first (breaking it down into sections). Then I caught myself breaking it into sections, 5 miles at a time, and before I knew it I was rounding the bend towards the home stretch. So why am I telling you all of this? I think a lot of us have that little voice inside our heads telling us it’s too hard, too long, too fast, etc. I think we are all capable of so much more than we allow ourselves to believe sometimes. When it comes to race day (and even race training), don’t hold back. You are meant to do great things in this world and if you truly believe and quiet those negative thoughts, you can conquer just about anything. I’m less than four weeks out from race day now and I have a new motto going in… Leave nothing on the course! Be the best version of you! What does that mean to you? Leave a comment below and we’ll send you a pack of Ultima* for sharing your story! -Sarah PS. Congratulations to all those runners who ran Boston on April 20. You are all an inspiration! *Offer expires May 31, 2015