I got off my bottom and did my long run yesterday - and crushed my goal. I learned a heck of a lot yesterday, out on the road.
The first thing I learned was that motivation for the long run only needs to get you out of the house. Once I started moving, it was surprisingly easy to KEEP moving. It probably helps to have been running more often than usual lately; my body knows what to do and the actions feel familiar. As my feet found their rhythm, I could really get into a groove, and at no point in the run did I feel as awful about the thought of running far as I'd experienced immediately prior to lacing up my shoes. Getting started was the hardest part, but next time I anticipate having a lot less trouble!
My second lesson was about pacing. It's actually pretty easy! Perhaps it was my music, which was steady and uplifting, that allowed me to keep my feet moving at just the right speed. Occasionally I tried to slow myself down a bit, but it was too hard to run so slowly, so I just let my natural pace go. I've often heard people talk about that "pace you can run at for hours", and I didn't believe it existed until last night.
Finally, I learned that I am better than I expected! My goal was to do six miles in an hour and a half. I had no idea how do-able that goal would be at my current levels of fitness and experience - and was thrilled to see at the end of my run that I'd done seven miles in an hour twenty! My last attempt at a longer run had been four difficult miles at a 12:00 pace, so I had assume a longer run would result in a much slower pace. The 11:30 miles surprised me, big time. I know this isn't some major accomplishment compared to other runners, but it's a HUGE deal to me, and that's what matters!
The results of last night's run have truly inspired me to push harder. I know I can do it, I have the proof. Next Sunday, when I head out to the Fort2Base race, I'll be requesting a distance change, upping my run from 3NM (3.45 miles) to 10NM (11.5 miles). Not only does this seem the next logical step in my racing progression (maybe it isn't, but it feels right to me), but it's the last chance I'll have to add distance before that half-marathon in two weeks. It'll be a massive confidence boost to have run the 11 miles before I try for 13 miles!
And really, everything is worth it for that bling at the end of the race ;)