I'm not going to be dramatic. I'm not going to portend more terrible runs the longer my runs get... I mean aside from allowing that some runs will always be better and some will be worse. Today's 11-miler was... hard.
If I want to achieve my goals, though, I have to be okay with hitting walls. I can't let myself get sucked down into a spiral of perfectionism that says if a given run didn't go absolutely smoothly then it was terrible. That kind of thinking leads to quitting before I get as far as I want to go.
So rather than wallow in the frustration I could (and do a little) feel about not sailing through this particular milestone with grace and ease, I want to analyze a little bit to see what I can do to improve my performance for the next long run. Because after the next one I will be consistently travelling uncharted territory. And I will consistently be hitting walls that I haven't (and some that I have) mastered before.
So first, I think I could have eaten better this morning. For breakfast, I had a bowl of instant oatmeal and a molasses cookie. In hindsight, I probably should have been a little more thoughtful about what I ate, had eggs or fruit or yogurt or all three of those instead of the sugar-loaded items I did consume. Note for next week, eat a healthy, well-balanced meal first.
Next, I should have been more hydrated. Around the 8-mile mark I suddenly felt dizzy and exhausted. I'd been sweating a lot up to that point, and I'm pretty sure I sweated out all my electrolytes as well as large portions of water. Luckily, I found myself near enough to the water fountain I stopped at on my 9-mile run, so after giving myself a moment to recover, I walked briskly to the fountain and spent a couple of minutes hydrating. Note for next run, make sure I drink plenty of water pre-run and take water (and an electrolyte supplement) with me.
After the 8-mile mark I spent a lot of time alternating between walking and running, because I was determined to finish the distance, no matter the pace. But I spent a lot of time being down on myself for being "slow"... which is all relative, because I'm already slow. Note for next time, it's the distance, not the pace, that's the goal. Don't be down on yourself for walking for a while if it means you will be able to finish the distance.
I'm curious if any of you who read my running log have come up against any mental or physical obstacles in your own running or other goals? How did you overcome the challenge?