Athletics Magazine

Get Tough

By Brisdon @shutuprun

Truth be told, I was being a baby/pussy about today’s 21 mile run. It had been snowing for two days. It was colder than a witch’s tit (which around here is single digits. Research has shown that is exactly the temperature when a witch’s tits freeze). I dreaded putting on the Yak Traks and suffering through the elements…once again.

I emailed Coach Kastor last night. I don’t know what I wanted him to tell me. I just needed something. Here’s what he said:

“Don’t worry about how many miles you cover, it could be 16 with the weather the way it is!!!  Be sure to bundle up, drink plenty of sports drink to get your core temperature up and GET TOUGH!!  Just be safe, no slipping and if you are really, really cold, get inside!  It’s not worth risking your health.  You still have 35 days until the race, plenty of time to do a long run next weekend too (in lieu of the Marathon Simulation run on Feb 8.)

Hope that helps. Best of luck!! Coach Kastor.”

I think what got me was when he told me to GET TOUGH. That settled into my bones and I turned around my attitude. I also gave myself permission to cut it short if it got to be too much, but I kind of knew I wouldn’t do that unless one of my legs fell off. My plan was to do two 9 mile loops, then a short out and back to get to the 21 mile mark. Ken would join me for the first 9 miles.

We started out and it was 10 degrees. The sidewalks and roads were snow packed with some loose powder. About a mile in, the sun made an appearance and my outlook shifted once again. It was gorgeous:


We finished the first loop. Ken told me goodbye and said, “Be careful. Don’t slip on ice and fall in front of a car because that would ruin my Super Bowl.” So romantic. I took a break for a gel and fluid, then headed on out. Solo.



At ten miles I stopped at my favorite store to refill water and I did something I never do. I had gotten hungry and the gels weren’t doing the trick so I indulged:


Another amazing thing about my running pack is that it is big enough to carry donuts. Some days I am powered by donuts and it works very well for me. While buying the donuts a woman told me about how the butcher in this store had diagnosed her with celiac disease by looking at her face. People tell me the most random things.

I trudged on. I felt great. I loved seeing Ken and my footprints from the first loop. I thought it was cute. And, showed that no one else was out running today.


The strangest thing happened on this run. Through the entire thing, I just kept getting these zings of gratitude for my life. My life is not perfect, but there are a million things to be thankful for. I wasn’t even trying to have gratitude. I was just trying to get through the damn 21 miles. But the gratitude just showed up. I thought of Ken, my kids, my health, my parents, a steady job, a body that lets me train and race, the most amazing friends. All of it. I felt kind of like I was in a trance for those 21 miles.

When all was said and done, it took me 3:20.


For as much as I was dreading this run, it turned out to be one of the best long runs I’ve ever had. It showed me I can do hard things. It showed me I am stronger than I think I am. It showed me that things are rarely as bad or hard as we anticipate.

Coach Kastor’s response? “That's great!  Sounds like you ran tough. Go Broncos!”

On a side note, one thing that had been pissing off our entire household all weekend was that our satellite dish was covered with snow, making the cable not work. As the time got closer and closer to  Superbowl kickoff, we were panicking. We had offers to go watch at friend’s houses, but we wanted to be home. I came home from the run and Ken was about to get on the ladder and shoot de-icer at the satellite dish. He said that at least if he fell of the ladder he could watch the SB in the hospital. He makes me laugh. Guess that’s why we’ve been married almost 20 years.


Then…miracle of miracles…it came back on.

Now I’m off to make some wings and guacamole and chili. Got to replace 1,800 calories. Go Broncos!


What’s the longest run you do in marathon training? I’ve only done 20s before, but this time I will do a 21 and a 22.

What are you doing for the SB? Who are you rooting for (maybe we can still be friends if you say the Seahawks).


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