I pulled out my old iPod that has my running log from last year. After running a couple 5K and 10K races, I wanted to train for a marathon. Having only ran a 6 mile distance a couple times, I started upping my mileage. I ran an 8 mile. That sucked. Four days later, I tried 9 miles (I may have been attempting 10).

I vividly remember that run. It was looping around a lake in a park, over and over again (x6). It was boring. I had brought water but nothing to eat. It was middle of the day and warm. When my energy was zapped and I was reduced to walking, I felt like a failure. The run took over 2 hours with long walking breaks. I tallied up the time, and calculated 6 hours to complete a marathon at that pace. Embarrassingly slow, I thought.

The run log shows that I ran a few shorter distances after that, and then I stopped. I told myself it was just a break, that I had plenty of time to train, but really, I had given up.

Obviously there is a lot wrong with the above. In fact, pretty much all of it is wrong. But my biggest mistake, was that I assessed how that ONE run went and decided I couldn’t complete a marathon to my satisfaction. Instead of regrouping, researching, and re-tackling, I decided I couldn’t do it. I could have figured out all the mistakes I was making (just like I am now), but I couldn’t recover from giving up.

Well, I guess I can. Cause here I am.

And here is the 9 mile run again. Despite knowing I had basically set myself up for failure last year, I was still nervous about completing this run. And while I have been doing my long runs in cool places lately (Marietta and Tybee), this week I’m on call and had to run around a lake in a park x9 (sounds familiar…).

Today’s run took 1 hour and 36 minutes, including 1 bathroom break and 2 water breaks. At mile 6 and 7, I stopped for water and a few Shot Bloks (sugary gummy science), really to just ensure a smooth finish… for my brain’s sake. I wasn’t going to let another bad 9 miler destroy my marathon, but, honestly, it would have been a significant mental stumbling block had this gone badly. Overall, considering all, this run was fantastic. And the ‘Zombies, Run’ 10K race mission to visit Professor Van Ark was pretty darn awesome.

With the 9 mile stumbling block milestone complete, I still find I’m a little nervous. I’ve never ran further than 9 miles before. I’m reaching for new distances, new territory, and new struggles. Don’t give up.