If I wrote this post on Saturday I would have been on cloud 9, top of the world happy and feeling damn good about training. I had completed a 7 mile easy run followed by a bootcamp so nasty that it leaves you curled up in the fetal position begging for mercy and yet somehow simultaneously smiling. How is this possible? I have not a clue. Naturally, I bought a 10 pack to the class.
Unfortunately it’s not Saturday. I’m not visiting my boyfriend in Connecticut. And I’m not recovering from an awesome two hour workout. In reality it’s 8 pm on Wednesday night and I’m sitting at home alone (kiddo in bed) while begrudgingly petting the needy cat that I desperately love and I had one of the cruddiest runs that I can remember this morning.
Right now- in this moment I’m feeling off. I’m feeling not myself. I’m down about my running and my pace. My conversational paced runs have been hovering around an 8:30 pace (a far cry from my 7:50-8 pace of yesteryear). I’m doubting my ability to throw down in a race. I’m frustrated with my weight and my body- which really means I am mad about what I am actively choosing to feed myself each and every day, shame on me. I have no idea how the next 5 months of training are going to go. Right now the notion of training through the bitter cold day after day just plain scares me.
On Monday I actually felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I looked at myself in the mirror and recalled the immensely toned body that attacked New York and Chicago Marathons just a few years ago. Where did that woman go? Did I like her? She was physically strong, but was she healthy? I have no idea anymore. In the face of a failing marriage she escaped to the streets and the gym. Her body was well put together while her heart was slowly breaking. And now? My heart feels full of all the warm and fuzzies in this new relationship while my running focus is moderate at best. And my nutrition focus? Good grief, we won’t even go there.
What is wrong with me?? These are not the words of a passionate, motivated, strong woman. This is not me. Guys, I think I’m in bit of a slump when it comes to my training. And the first step of un-slumping myself has to be simply admitting my slump-like tendencies.
And when you’re in a Slump,
You’re not in for much fun,
is not easily done.
I’m well-aware that my plate is full. I just started a new, full time job as a therapist…. and I’m coaching 16 one-on-one athletes… and I’m a recently divorced single mama… and I’m in a long-distance relationship (hehe yay)… and now I’m training for the Boston Marathon. On a day to day basis my plate feels VERY full. But honestly I’m not sure it’s my full plate that is causing the slump because EVERYONE has a full plate. Every single reader out has a to-do list miles long. So what is it? Honestly, I’m not sure but I’m blaming it on WINTER. Yea, you heard me right :).
Winter. This Godforsaken time of year when the days are shorter, the wind whips off the water and the streets can be slipperier than expected. How the hell did I do this last year? And the year before? How did I train though winter??? And why am I so slow right now?? Enter slumpy-slumperson.
Well that mentality stops RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW. I am writing this post to hold myself accountable because here is what I know:
1. Consistency is key. Progress is made through small, daily successes. Focus on making the right decisions in the moment and the small success will add up to a healthier lifestyle.
2. Focus on eating well and executing the daily workout as best as possible and THAT will lead to successful training. Don’t worry about tomorrow’s workout, or this weekend’s long run – just focus on what I need to do TODAY!
3. STOP EATING TREATS SO OFTEN. Treats will be saved for long-run days. Boom. Done.
4. I will never, ever stop running. Giving up is not an option. Never was, never will be.
Every marathon training cycle represents a chapter in the book of my life. This chapter represents my return to officially training while juggling many, many responsibilities. If I have learned anything from the work I do it is this: many people live life one day at a time. Honestly, I know that it’s pretty damn normal to feel overwhelmed. I know that it’s normal in winter to prefer to stay in the warmth of my home over the cold of the streets. But I also know how running makes me feel inside and out- strong, accomplished and capable of more. As much as I want to sleep in most mornings or watch late night tv with a bowl of bon-bons the end results of those decisions isn’t a happy me.
I am stronger than I think I am. I am strong. I had to write that again to just remind myself of that fact that I throw to the curb so easily in times of stress. I can be a full-time working single mom who marathons. YES I CAN. I WILL. I AM. I’m here and I’m committed to giving this training everything I’ve got. It’s going to be hard, but then again- everything worth doing is hard. Holy shit- I’m pumped!!!!! It’s time to get ready to Boston!! And away we go!
** Base building**
I have spent the past month of November focusing on building back a base mileage of about 35 miles/week to kick off my official Boston training this past Monday December 5th. This past month my runs have been very straight forward- zone 1/conversationally paced runs 4x a week with 2 days of strength. The idea behind base building is that I can run 35 miles a week very comfortably so now I will incorporate intensity (speed) without taxing my body too much. In theory this means I should be able to go harder!! Tomorrow I start back up with more challenging runs- I have my first structured tempo run since last April!! Whoa!! It’s been a while since I’ve really truly trained for a race. It’s time to refocus, recommit and get ready to BOSTON.
Never stop running,
The Lone Runner