It was a strange week. After I got hit with that cold, I thought I would have to reschedule my 4:20 long run for the next weekend and keep it real with an easy 15 miler this weekend. But the tables turned, I was feeling better and really wanted to get my last super long run done so I can start a nice little taper for 2Oceans.
I made the descision yesterday afternoon. It usually takes me a little longer than 15 hours to prepare myself mentally for a run of that length but I think having less time to think about it might have actually been a good thing. Here’s how I prepared and executed, both physically and mentally:
Last night I whipped up a batch of my favorite energy gel (recipe to follow). This stuff is ridiculously good. Seriously, I feel like I’m eating cookie dough on the run, but with none of the guilt and tummy aches. I also loaded up my fuel belt so it was ready for action. Aside from my 2 batches of home made energy gel and 2 Clifshots as backup, I also carried
- 2 8 ounce bottles of water with a squeeze of lemon juice (energy, flavor, and alkanizing)
- 1 8 ounce bottle of yerba mate ice tea (little caffiene boost for the last 10 miles helps so much!)
- 1 8 ounce bottle of straight up water–no add ins
- 1 ipod with some wicked cool music (only used for the first and last 5 miles)
I didn’t end up eating the clifshots but had a serious love affair with my home made energy gel. I think I said out loud at one point, “OH MY GOSH! This is soooo good!” I stopped on the way home and refilled 2 bottles with water because I didn’t want to worry about rationing the last few miles.
Okay, on to the mental work. The be honest, there wasn’t a ton of preparing mentally. This sort of worked for me– less time to think about the struggle that would ensue. However, while I was running, I was doing some serious mind work. Here are some of the things I did…some are old tricks and a few were new:
-Focused on my breathing. On the inhale, I thought, “inhale strength”. On the exhale I thought, “exhale love” and thought of specific people in my life I wanted to send love to.
-Pulled all my energy into just below my belly button and allowed myself to move from there. I keep focused on this spot and almost immediately, I feel as though my movement is becoming more efficient.
-Using this same thought/physical adjustment, I imagined that it was like an energy machine (I can’t think of a better word). As I pulled all my strength into the “spot” it exploded out like a firework that propelled me forward. I then imagined that all that energy was love and gave it all to someone in my life that’s had a really difficult circumstance arise this past week.
Using this energy, I. UN. LEASED. I find that when I run with that much love in my heart, I’m like pretty much an olympic gold medalist waiting to happen. The last miles (mile 28.5ish) was hardcore.
I am filled with so much gratitude this afternoon as I think about the blessing of being healthy and strong. I’m also thankful for some fun animal encounters this week–2 raccoons, a deer, a bald eagle, and an elephant. Say what? An elephant? haha. I often run at the park that’s connected to the zoo. Today I got a glimpse of an elephant through the fence I thought it was pretty funny to see an elephant while running in Washington.
What do you take on your long runs? What do you do mentally to get through the toughest miles?
Lemon Lime Energy Gel (from Thrive Foods)
- 2 large Medjool dates (I buy them dried and soak them for a few hours)
- 1 tbsp agave nectar
- 1 tbsp ground chia seeds (I grind it in a coffee grinder)
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp lime zest
- 1/2 tsp dulce
- sea salt to taste
- Put everything in the food processor and mix well.
- I store it in a plastic bag in the fridge.
- Enjoy! It’s ridiculously delicious!