Monday, September 17, 2012

The Run That Changed the Game

Where were we? Oh yes, Sunday.

Well, Saturday night, kinda.

So, I got back from the bachelorette party and into bed around 1am Sunday. Way, waaaaay past my bedtime. After checking out the forecast and seeing that it was going to PERFECT, I made the executive decision to sleep in til 8am Sunday, instead of 7am.

 I mean... with temps in the 50s and 60s, I didn't have to rush to beat the heat. Exxxcellent.

So, Sunday morning I rolled out of bed feeling surprisingly fresh, despite the Saturday night antics (cough, cough-- alcohol-- cough, cough). I got outta bed right at 8am, body glided-up, got dressed and grabbed my gear. Fail #1. 

DANGER! I don't run "naked" or "by feel". I am 100% obsessed and co-dependent on my love (aka: my Garmin). Seriously. I panicked. Was this the universe telling me not to run? Was it telling me to get ready for the world's crummiest run? Ugh. I was not happy. BUUUT, I told myself to suck it up and deal. I decided to run a path I know pretty well and happen to know is right around 7 miles and to track it using my iPod. So, I dried my tears and got out the door by 8:20am.

I have no mile split data for this run. My iPod's not that fancy. I can tell you that I felt good for the first half of myrun. I felt FAST. I felt GOOD. I swung back around to my house after mile 7 to grab my Garmin in hopes it charged enough and to make an emergency bathroom visit (ugh). I headed back out 5 minutes later and decided to just make it to mile 10 and then I'd switch from iPod to Garmin. I was thiiiiis close to saying screw the Garmin, stick with the iPod, but then my sanity kicked in. See, my iPod will track distance and even pace, but it won't tell you INSTANT data. There's no "hey, just look down at me every 2 seconds the whole race and I'll tell you exactly how far and how fast you're going". So, I finished 10 miles with no Garmin.
Imagine the HUGE SHOCK and look of complete astonishment when I saw this! A 8:44 pace! Over 10 miles?!?! At first, I admit, I doubted this. I told myself my iPod MUST be wrong because there's NO WAY I could run that fast. NO WAY.
I mean, OK. I had felt fast. I had felt amazing. BUT, there's just no way. I'm not that fast! I remember even telling myself to slow down around mile 8 because I needed to reserve energy.
I tried not to dwell on it. I turned on the good ol' Garmin and knew I could trust her (my watch is a girl, apparently) data 100%.
{Spoiler: Maybe the iPod WAS right!}
Mile 1 on the Garmin clocked in right around 8:45. What?!?! Fluke.
Mile 2: Same.
WHAT IS GOING ON?!?!? I told myself to SLOW DOWN because clearly I was crazy.
Mile 3: 8:50-something.
Mile 4: 8:50-something.
Mile 5-10.5: Low 9:something's. No mile higher than 9:20.
10.5 more miles in a 9:06 average pace. Yes, slower than the iPod... but, I always negative split, so that's totally to be expected.
That's 20.5 miles in about a 9:00 average pace.
WHAT?!?!? What the heck?? I mean... whaaaat???
Maybe my iPod was... {gasp!} RIGHT? Did I really run that fast?? CAN I really run that fast? WHO AM I?!?!?
I have no idea how this happened... but, OMG! I RAN 20.5 MILES IN A 9:00 PACE!!!! WOOOOOWOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
I finished my run at a local coffee shop to treat myself to a iced vanilla latte and as I was walking home I walked by this family sitting outside Jamba Juice. The dad was STARING at me and then I realize I had the HUGE RIDICULOUS GRIN on my face and he probably thought I was CRAZY. Here's this weird girl covered in sweat with a coffee in her hand and she's BEAMING. He probably thought I was a complete weirdo.
Anyway, I realized I was smiling like crazy and I realized WHY I was smiling like crazy. Not just because I had just run 20.5 miles. Not even just because I ran 20.5 miles FAST.
I was smiling because I, for the very first time in the last 16 full weeks of marathon training, realized I CAN DO THIS.
Woah. Let that sink in for a minute. I, Meagan, had a positive self-affirming thought about this whole marathon thing. I felt myself breathe and felt myself start to believe in myself. Sounds crazy, but I swear I could feel it. Like I could FINALLY let myself believe that I might actually be able to pull this shit off.
I couldn't stop smiling. Granted, walking home after KICKING some 20.5 MILE ASS while sipping (ok, chugging) an iced latte in this weather certainly didn't hurt.

It was a BEAUTIFUL day. I loved every second I was running. I felt like I GOT to run, not I HAD to run. It was AMAZING.

Best of all... I KNOW I can do this now. Will I still have freak outs? Sure. Will I still have many moments of doubt? Of course. But, I'll remember this Sunday's run. This Sunday's perfect, amazing run. And, I'll remember the feeling I had after it. That "OMG! I can really do this thing! OMG!!!!" feeling.

And, ya know what? I really can do this thing.

In 21 days I'll cross the start AND the finish line of the 2012 Chicago Marathon.

Let's do this.



  1. Oh my gosh Meagan, this is beyond awesome. Congratulations for knocking your run out of the ball park!!!!! You are so ready for Chicago, I hope that Chicago is ready for you to kick some asphalt!

  2. OF COURSE YOU ARE READY!!!!!!!!!! I mean, duh.