Saturday was my first long training run with my new group.  Because my race does not allow headsets, I have banished music on these long runs.  I, obviously, have an issue with this rule.  Although there are times I am not aware of the music, there are also times when the music has been the only thing to get me through a run.

Saturday, it meant I had to get through six miles alone.  With my brain. {date with disaster.}

Ignore the fact I was sick.  And that it was raining.  And maybe my bad attitude.  And no pre-run fuel.  Maybe take those all into account.  Who knows how or when an epiphany strikes?

The beginning of my run started with this stream of consciousness:

I’m in way over my head.  What was I thinking?  How can I even think about running a full marathon?  I’m not ready.  I have yet to run a half marathon the way I wanted.  

All those people in our group – those real runners – very few of them are running a full.  Why would I attempt this when they are not?  There must be something wrong with me.  They must think I’m crazy.  Who signs up for a hard, hilly race almost a year in advance and before they ran a half marathon?  With a time limit?  Someone is totally delusional.  I mean, how did I even know I would like to do this?

There was also this thread:

I’m injured.  I’m sick.  What am I doing out here?  I should turn around and go home.  I don’t belong with these hardcore runners.  My legs are hurting – stupid crossfit.  I can’t even run a mile without hurting.  Running is totally unhealthy!

About a mile into the run:

What was different about the first six miles of Nike?  Because I was totally zen.  I was in the zone.  Why was that different than all these other races?  What is my freaking block?  

Hmmmm.  I was doing a lot of yoga then.  I had just finished a 30 day challenge and had been practicing 3-4 times a week.  Why is yoga different?  I am outside my head during class.  My thoughts don’t bombard those quiet moments.  

Oh… That must be it.  In yoga, you focus on breathing.  Maybe that is the answer to these long quiet training runs.  Maybe I just need to focus on my breath.  Let everything else fall away.  

And that is what I did.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Each time the nasty lizard brain came back, I spent time re-focusing on my breath.  Surprisingly, it worked.  I would like to say I ran faster than normal.  But I don’t know.  I know there were moments I felt strong.  But that could all be in my head too.

My new-found focus is going to be a work in progress.  My lizard brain is used to hanging around and causing me all kinds of turmoil.  I have another chance to practice this weekend with a 10 mile race.