Running into a wall – a great thing!

Yesterday was a good day!

I decided that with my running being difficult, lack of sleep, and staying up late (late for me) to watch “Spirit of the Marathon II” the night before that I should take the day off and rest.  That I did.

I slept 10 hours straight.  If for nothing else, that would be enough to help anyone.  I woke up on my own and the sun was out and I felt renewed.

I got up and soon had a text from TJ asking if we were going to run together – “Yes”, I replied as I thought of the 7 – 9 mile run ahead of me.  I kept myself focused and got ready to go out.  It was going to obviously be cooler at 9:00 in the morning than at 2:00 in the afternoon, but it wasn’t much cooler.

We went out and ran a course through our neighborhood that he runs quite a bit.  It was great running with him and I felt good.  We hit the 2 mile mark and I could already feel myself getting a bit fatigued.  We were not running fast.  In fact he watched our pace and would tell me to slow down at times.  But the heat was beginning to get to me again.  It was so helpful that as I told him I was starting to feel myself getting tired and he said he was feeling it too.  “What, it isn’t just me?” That was a huge relief and kept me going.

By the 4 mile mark I was slowing down.  I knew 9 miles would be out of the question at that point, but I wanted to make it to 7.  I felt again like I hit the wall.  We continued and he slowed to my pace as I slowed down.  We finished back at the house and he ran in to get me some Gatorade as I walked outside a bit.


I know from the movie and what I have read that everyone hits a wall in a marathon.  Usually around mile 20 your body screams to stop running and give up.  That is the reality of my Spring (I can’t believe it isn’t summer yet) so far.  Everyday I hit a wall.  Everyday my body screams that I cannot go on.  I know I am hydrated and I am eating as well as I can, but I hit that wall over and over again.  My revelation…  that is a GOOD thing.  Each time I get to that point of not being able to continue, but I continue anyway, I am teaching myself to get past that point.  My body is learning how to go beyond the dreaded wall.  Not that I should be stupid and run when I am in trouble, but I can tell usually if this is just a wall or I should stop my run early.  Plus I know that I can run more than 2 or 3 miles and that is when this usually happens.

Another thing I learned the other day from reading an article.  When you run or exercise and it is hot outside, your blood moves toward your skin to circulate and cool you down so you don’t overheat.  That means that less blood is available for your muscles and helping your run.  This is the reason you slow down.  It was already obvious to me that I have slowed quite a bit (about 1 -2 miles a mile) since the heat kicked in, but it really helps knowing why it is happening.

Running with someone else is huge.  Had I run that early run by myself yesterday I might have given in and stopped.  Running with TJ was like running on a treadmill.  I kept going because he kept going.  Also, after the day was mostly gone, I got to run with RS (something I don’t get to do much).  We ran 2 miles together.  It was later and half way through it rained pretty hard.  It felt great.

So I got in my 9 miles.  I felt like I accomplished a huge feat just by making the 7 with TJ.  I felt awesome afterwards.  Then the extra 2 with RS and I went to bed knowing I made my 9 mile goal and all was well with the world (or at least my world).

7 miles and 1 wall this afternoon.  I can’t wait!

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