Saturday, March 5, 2011

"Only" Ten

I've often heard that marathoners make great employees.  Of the many reasons why this may be true, the most attractive could arguably be that they have an innate ability to take large and seemingly insurmountable goals and break them up into manageable pieces.  After all, you don't just go out and one day and say, "I think I'll run a marathon."  A beginner's marathon training program (like the one we follow with the Bob Roncker's group) starts with a five mile run, and builds to 20 miles over the course or four months.

While the task of running long distances becomes easier each week, marathoners still have to continually work to train their minds to believe that what they are planning on doing that day is actually able to be done.  We are getting to that funny point during training right now where we fill our "down" weeks with phrases like "only ten miles" or "just a thirteen-miler."  The "down" weeks seem so much easier in comparison to the "up" weeks, and that perspective can do a lot for your mental focus.

This was a "down" week for our training group, and we had a 10K race planned for this morning (6.2 miles), and were instructed to tack on 2-4 miles before and/or after the race for a nice, easy 8-10 miles. (Because 10 is now what we consider nice and easy.)  After meeting last night with some of my marathoning friends for our weekly carb-load dinner, I had a decision to make.  A nagging sore throat and the fact that the weather forecast was something along the lines of "will rain cats and dogs" meant that I was either going to risk getting sicker or I was going to treamill it this morning.

With the rain teeming down, I woke up this morning with the intention of running all 10 miles on the treadmill.  On one hand, it's only ten. (Gotta love perspective.) We did 15 last week, so no big deal right?  Well, even for marathoners, nearly two hours of running in place is about as exciting as watching paint dry and nearly as excruciating as sitting through a three-hour administrative law lecture.  A few miles in and I was antsy.  While some people might have given up (or never have even attempted such a tedious feat in the first place), I got an idea.  I could see through the glass door that the rain was letting up, so I decided to take my last four miles on the road.  I got through the last four outside miles easily, and was glad I got to pound a little pavement without risking my cold getting worse whilst waiting around in wet clothes at the start line of the race.

When we look at any big goal in life, whether it be running 10 miles or getting through college or tackling a major project at the office, when taken as a whole it seems undoable. But, if you can break it up into smaller pieces... say, six miles on the treadmill, four outside... you can do anything you set your mind to do.


Anonymous said...

I love this --only ten! Isn't that funny how training for a marathon changes your perspective on long and short runs. Good for your for completing the full 10. And I admit running in place for 2 hours sounds daunting. I am proud of you! :)

Gabrielle@Weightless said...

Thanks Linzi! :-)