Monday Motivation: Aim High

Another week, another successful long run in the books. Whereas last week I didn’t know if I could actually complete my scheduled 10-mile run, this week held no such mystery. Still, each time I cover a new distance — this week’s was 11 miles — there’s a significant mental hurdle to clear. Sure, it’s just one more mile than last week, obviously I can run it. But do I really want to?

The answer is yes, of course, but it can feel like no in the moment.

I saw this quote after my run, but it resonated with me because I do have goals, and there’s a reason I’m doing this every week. When I first started this, running a half marathon seemed like almost an impossible goal, but I’ve found that I surprise myself each week. Turns out you really can achieve whatever you set your mind to.

So, on to my run recap!

I took the train into Chicago on Friday and stayed with my sister overnight. We were going to the White Sox game on Saturday night, and I wanted the chance to get my run done in the city. Plus, there was a good chance I wouldn’t have gotten on the train on Saturday after doing my long run at home. 

My sister lives in Lakeview, which is just a short jog over from the lakefront path, so I headed there to get my miles in. It was a gorgeous morning. Sunny, but not too hot or humid. The runners and bikers were out in full force, and it was actually really encouraging to see because I can feel like I’m the only one out running when I’m on my long run route at home. 

I’ve resigned myself to a run/walk strategy for this race, but I think it will be a good move for the first half marathon. There’s a certain mental space in which you want to run the whole thing, but after reading about run/walk intervals over the years, it can actually be beneficial from an injury, burnout and even time standpoint. Check out Jeff Galloway’s training philosophy for more info.

Anyway, my goal is to run one mile, walk one-tenth of a mile, and repeat, and I actually found this quite doable on Saturday. In previous long runs, I’ve had to stop more frequently, but I think on Saturday I was the most prepared I’ve been (in terms of shoes, gear, fuel) and I was hitting my intervals as I wanted to.

It’s about 5.3 miles from my sister’s place, along the lake path, to the end of Navy Pier. I think 8 a.m. is just about the only time I’d be willing to spend any time on Navy Pier, so it was a perfect turnaround point. 

There were all sorts of people out training for different things. At Ohio Street Beach, there were plenty of people out in wetsuits swimming, and I was really tempted to jump in the lake at that point. The closest I got to the water, though, was running through the water that had been thrown onto the path by the waves past Oak Street Beach. My socks got soaked, but fortunately dried pretty quickly.

All in all, it was another wonderful long run, and my pace was actually faster than it was during my 10-miler last week, so I’m happy with that. My muscles were screaming for a couple of hours afterward, but actually getting up and walking around the neighborhood — to find food to fuel my recovery — and then later to go meet my family for the game really helped. It was a record-setting step day, too — 32,000+!

I really do love the way I feel after a long run.

Unfortunately, the Sox lost (what else is new?), but the game wasn’t bad, the weather was great and I got a free hat. I also ate all the food at the ballpark (a burger, fries and pizza, because I deserved it! #noshame), and then got to sleep all the way home. Pretty good day in my book.

Anyone else been having really good training runs lately?
What’s your favorite place to run?
    I think it’s a tie between Northern Michigan and Chicago. Give me a water view and I’m golden.
What is your favorite post-run meal?