Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hitting the Wall – Aubrey

It took roughly 12 weeks, but it finally happened. On my 18 mile run last Sunday I had my first experience “hitting the wall.” I was surprised how accurate of a description that really was for what I was feeling – it really did feel like I was trying to run through a concrete barrier. I was pushing with all of my might, but I could not penetrate it. My legs were heavy, my arms were sluggish and my head was spinning. It came on so suddenly, and to my horror, I was completely unprepared to address it. I hadn’t eaten enough that morning, I had only brought one Gu with me, and I had no electrolyte replacement. It was my own fault. As frustrating and scary as it was, I am grateful it happened. Training isn’t all about tempo and long runs. It’s also about preparation. If I had spent more time preparing for my long run by eating a balanced breakfast, hydrating well and carrying the proper amount of the energy replacements, I wouldn’t have gotten myself into trouble. I definitely learned a lesson last weekend – I didn’t want to learn it, but I’m glad I did. I’m even more glad that I learned it five weeks before the Marathon and not the day of. Our bodies are amazing machines, and I’m astounded how resilient mine is. I test its limits daily – I don’t nourish it properly, I don’t rest it and then I force it to run as hard as it can for nine miles. Rarely does it ever let me down despite the fact that I don’t take care of it as well as I should. The sad realization that I’ve come to is that I take better care of my Asics than I do my body. I dry them after every run, clean the mud off them, alternate them frequently and change my laces to keep them snug. So why don’t I show the same care to my body? After all, it’s my greatest tool. Good sneakers won’t allow you to run a marathon. A nourished, rested, strong body will. I’ve learned so much about myself in the last 12 weeks, but this may be the most important thing I’ve learned. Take care of yourself. You only get one body – you can’t replace it like a pair of sneakers when it wears out. Be good to it.

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