As a runner, my biggest accomplishment thus far was having the sense to stop running after completing 8.5 miles today; I'd planned to do 10.
I stopped not because I had to stop--I am sure I could have dragged my madly protesting body another 1.5 miles and made it to my front door step (my makeshift finishline) before collapsing in a sweaty, dehydrated heap in my foyer. I stopped because feeling miserable didn't seem like much of an accomplishment after 1:30 minutes of hard work.
Being the intense, Type A runner that I've become, this decision was incredibly hard to make. "What are you doing??" my will power screamed in disbelief. "Fifteen more minutes of running is nothing--hup! hup!"
But I did not hup! hup! From stores of wisdom and balance I had no idea I even possessed, I had the sense to stop when I began to feel weak and nauseated--feelings I really haven't experienced thus far in my running adventures, because thus far my body has generally cooperated with the goals I've set for myself.
It was a long 1.5 mile walk/trot back to my house, but it was no walk of shame. The next time I try for 10, in about a month when it's much less humid here, I'm going to do it with my Team in Training teammates by my side and my running mentor cheering me on then.
Until then, while running alone I'm going to stick with long runs I can do enjoyably--7, 8 miles max--so I don't burn out or overtrain, as one of the mentors had warned me. She told me she ignored her exhaustion and ran anyway once, only to collapse and fall and badly injure herself, delaying her running for almost a week. Another mentor had warned me that she'd once been hospitalized for dehydration from running in the heat.
Both of these mentors assured me that if I just followed their marathon training schedule (we're supposed to be up to 5 miles by this point, not 10), I could easily do 26.2. I think I'm finally at the point where I trust their advice--and trust in myself.
Which, being the type of intense, determined but occasionally unwise runner that I am, is quite an accomplishment indeed.