I did a long run this morning. I had no idea how long until I got home. After mapping it out, it was just under 7 miles. The whole run I had a feeling that it might be that long. Toward the end, it got hard to keep going. It was a flat run, and those tend to bore me more often than hilly runs. But I didn't want to stop. I would make something in the distance my mark and run to conquer it. And that's what running is all about; the conquest.
In the beginning for me, time was my goal. I wanted to run for a set length of time without stopping. Later, I wanted to conquer distance. Often now, it's all about conquering fatigue or the long hill that I haven't dared touch yet. I feel like if you don't have something to conquer, than what are you doing out there? And to me, conquering something during a run is more than just reaching a goal. To me, getting say you conquered that hill or that you conquered those last 6 miles means that you pushed yourself to the brink. No limping, no crying, no mercy. Leave nothing on that road, run past the point where you thought you'd die. Don't just reach your goal, destroy it. That's what it means to really conquer something. Don't just eek by.
Give yourself something to conquer. Running is hard work. There's no doubt about that. But a determined spirit is unstoppable.
Conquer the distance. Run your usual distance and then one step more.
Conquer the time. Run your usual length and then one minute more.
Conquer the route. Run your usual route plus one more hill.
In my experience, going one extra step, one extra minute, or one extra hill gives you what you need to keep going and you'll find that the next step or next minute or next hill is yours for the conquering.
The next enemy I have to conquer is 8 miles. I haven't done 8 miles since way before the boys were born. I plan on it being hard. I plan on it sucking, probably. But what worth conquering isn't hard and sucky?
Sometimes when someone tells me they can't, I want to say, "Are you sure?" Who knows until you try?
Find something to conquer.