Sweet Sixteen: Breaking Through the Wall

21 Aug

Two weeks ago, I attempted to run 16 miles and failed miserably. I hit the wall violently at only mile 7.5. I ended up walking 3.5 more miles and having my dad pick me up. I felt horrible. I was so depressed and discouraged, I felt like quitting the marathon.

After letting myself mope a day, I got back on the horse and continued my training. I sent out a SOS to a local running group this week asking for someone to run 16 miles with me. I was going to try again, but I knew I needed a partner to help me break through the mental wall I had set up for myself. One person responded and met me at 6:00am in the dark on Saturday.

We set out on the trail to do an out and back run of 8 miles in each direction. The first 8 miles are a continuous altitude climb filled with many hills. The entire course is paved, except for the final mile on that stretch. I cannot do trail running due to the instability of my right foot. So I had to walk a lot of the last mile up, first mile down due to the rocks, hills and instability of the unpaved trail.

My partner and I didn’t even talk much the last half of the run, but having another person there with me, doing the brutal run was enough. We pounded our way through it and finished in 4:03:29. The time wasn’t the best, but those 2 miles on unpaved road really screwed up my time, and I wasn’t about to risk getting injured by trying to set a PR on a training run.

The point is we finished, and I was so supremely happy I cried. I broke through the mental and physical walls that had been plaguing me for months. I even finished with energy to spare and could have gone a few more miles without a problem. It was the exact confidence booster I needed. I am certain now I will succeed and finish the marathon.

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