Back in 2010 when I was training for my first (and so far, only) half marathon, my mantra was "mind over miles" - I even had a necklace that said that on one side, and "13.1" on the other. This go-round, my mantra has been "run happy" (and of course I have a necklace for that...which should surprise exactly no one, lol). And after an involuntary year off, I definitely AM happy to be running. But I'm also thinking that I need to resurrect my other mantra as well, because lately I've been having some serious doubts when it comes to distance.
I know that part of this is because every long run on Saturday is a "new" distance for me (this go-round). So I'm not running a familiar distance, and that messes with my mind. Where it manifests is not in my legs, but my lungs. I practically hyperventilate as I start each long run...which, as you can imagine, does not make running very easy! This last Saturday, we were running 4 miles, and I wanted to run the entire distance. At nearly a mile longer than my 5K last Sunday, I knew that it would be a challenge, but I figured the hard part would come after I'd hit 3 miles. Nope. Right away, I was gasping for air. My heart was pounding out of my chest - it was ridiculous, really. It was close to half a mile before I stopped feeling like I was going to die - and probably another mile before I felt like I found my rhythm between my breathing and my feet. Then? Everything was fine. I ran without much effort. Didn't think about what I was doing...it just flowed. THIS is why I run.
But dang, getting to that point? Painful. And you'd think after all this time, I could do a simple run without practically going through a panic attack. I honestly don't know what to do to change this, or if I just need more time. This coming Saturday is our goal race (and yet another new distance, ack), but after that, we are just going to do some 5K's for the next few weeks. Which should be comfortable and familiar, so hopefully I'll stop this panic-breathing nonsense. Are you listening, mind???