Monday, March 5, 2012

The Long and Winding Road

I anticipated my Saturday run with some excitement with a dash of fear mixed in. My last long/long run was 20 miles and it was a tough one. I cramped up, tanked the last few miles and really had to gut it out to finish. I just wasn't confident that this scheduled 23 miler would go well.

It wasn't without it's pain. It wasn't without it’s moments of doubt and questioning myself. I was better prepared for what was ahead though. I learned some lessons from that tough run and I was hopeful that this one would go better.

I mapped out a course that wouldn't be a steady climb for the first part. It would be hard for me to run this far with out elevation unless I wanted to do the whole 23 on the treadmill. That wasn’t going to happen! I was able though to map out a course that would mix in the elevation change in doses rather than all at once.

The first nine miles consisted of running from my place to Lavell Edwards Stadium where the BYU Cougars play football. I ran up (and down) to the stadium and then cam back along University Avenue and headed back home. It was nice to be able to make a quick stop, dump off my gloves and then head right back out. Probably no more than a minute to do that. It was nice to have other options if needed. 

I then headed out in a different direction and started another big loop that had a lot of ups and downs but it was all manageable. I was surprised by how cold it stayed. I took off about 6am and expected it to be cold, but even after the sun was up, it remained cloudy, damp and cold. I was glad I had dressed right for the conditions.

Probably the hardest part was when I had reached the low point elevation wise and had to trudge up a big hill. By this time, my Garmin had quit. Must have been too cold to hold the charge for that long. I was hoping my phone would keep me company, but within three miles it suffered the same fate. I pretty much knew what I need to do to get the run finished, but I did have to estimate. The Garmin quit at 16 miles and the phone quit at 20. I didn’t quite though and was glad to get the final stretch back home.

Even though these long runs are hard, I know that it the only way to give myself a chance of finishing the marathon. I learned early on to find a training plan for whatever race you want to finish, stick to it the best you can, learn from your mistakes, trust yourself and trust the plan. If you put the time in, you have a good chance of succeeding.

Sounds a lot like goals in general doesn’t it?

When have you been most successful in your life? What did it take to get you there? Have you tried to apply those lessons you learned to your weight loss and getting fit plans? We’d like to hear from you. Leave a comment and tell us what works for you.

Hang in there and I will too!


  1. I think discipline has been very important for my success (so far) with getting healthier and fit, whether it be saying "no" to something I would like to eat but shouldn't or getting out and exercising in the cold. I have to be disciplined, too, to keep up my level of exercise as I prepare for my first bike event of the season (a 60 some miler) on June 2. This will be the most bike miles I ever worked toward. I have been on my indoor trainer weekly to get ready and to be ready for outside cycling. I am working, too, for steadiness and stamina. The trainer helps with both of those.

    BTW and to answer your question today: Snow shoeing is a lot of work for me. I like it because I am outside, but boy is it hard on my knees. The snow was deep, too. I am thinking next year I will work a little harder at getting more fit for shoeing. You were a champ when you did that look trail!

  2. Great job on your run. I am glad you were able to do the full 23 miles. It sounds like you did a more managable run this time. It took me getting UTI's several times to help me learn to live without too much sugar. I was able to learn that I didn't need nearly as much sugar as I thought I did. Also just being aware of my portions size made a difference as well. Taking my time as I eat makes a difference as well. It sounds like you are ready for your marathon! Keep up the great work. I love you.

  3. Amazing transformation over the past 2 years (?). Well done, Bruce.

  4. I was an elite level collegiate musician. For about 7 years straight (HS and college), I practiced 2-3 hours per day. What really made the difference was the consistency of my routine, which I think is what you're getting at. I played 30 minutes of daily drills 6-7 days a week. Then I practiced my actual music. It was a routine that allowed me to grow slow and steady over time. Seems like a lot of work now, but I just took it one day at a time.