In an hour or so I will be running my first run of marathon training #3. It will be my 4th marathon ( yep, no training plan for first marathon) and will be back at my original marathon stomping ground, Hartford, known in Runners World mag for its incredible porta potty set up.
My emotions as I head into this? Definitely mixed.
Since my last post on this blog, I have not been training for anything but have run a lot. I ran a 31 mile run with a 5.5 trail race in the middle. I ran through woods on adventure runs with no goal except to have fun. I’ve run a bunch of 10k tempo workouts attempting to break at least 50 minutes. (Still seconds away from that goal-but it WILL happen- soon!). Last Tuesday I ran an out and back 27 miles through 5 towns with a stop at the Dept of Moter Vechiles to renew my non-drivers ID ( lady in front of me “are you that teacher from …I recognized your voice!- no private life as a teacher. The cost of small town fame.) and an awesome pit stop at Walgreens for some liquid and Nutter Butters. That was just a pretty long sentence but so appropriate to describe the run so I am not editing it for you. And lastly, I ran a 5k cross country race on Saturday.
And just in these last 2 months of runs, I feel like I have learned so much about myself and running. That last 5k? The cross country one? It sucked. Bad. I thought I could break 23 minutes for sure. My body and mind were ready. Instead I ran slower than 25 minutes and I have no clue why. I could blame the long run Tuesday, the fact I couldn’t sleep the night before, the fact it was HOT…but I feel like those are just lame excuses. People keep telling me it was the terrain, but honestly, it wasn’t. I just sucked. It was an off day and that’s that. I am forcing myself not to trespass on the course just to try again and prove to myself I can do better (ok, full disclosure: that may be my plan for this Thursday’s run.). And that’s the third 5k in a row that has sucked for me. I hate the fact that I am hating 5ks. I want to love them. I do love them for so many reasons but can’t ever seem to run the paces on race day that I know I’m ready for. Ok, enough whining.
Those crazy & random long runs? They too have schooled me- in a totally different way. I love the fact that you can have three shitty feeling miles and then BAM: you feel fine! The sheer number of miles garantees you will have shitty ones and awesome ones. I learned about developing mental strength to remind yourself when you randomly feel shitty, that in fact you are fine. I ended up just repeating that to myself out loud in a super cheery voice and stupidly, my mind listened. And I felt better. At the end of both I was tired, but could have kept running a couple more slow miles if I needed to. Which is awesome. They also taught me how much I love ice baths.
These last 2 month reminded me that I love running. Not just racing or training but running. Even when I had nothing to train for, I loved running into work each morning and literally running out that door every afternoon. I loved trying to see how fast I can go. I loved going to the track after a 15 hour day and busting out a mile record for me. I love the fact that my legs are tone and I have body confidence that I have never had before. I love how my high school students look up to me as an athlete and are motivated to try new things because of my crazy running stories. I love that even when I have a sucky race, I still was the 5th female and was able to push hard enough to maintain that spot instead of giving up. I love the feeling of getting to listen to a new Spotify playlist while cranking out six miles. I love that I have improved so much over the past few years just by keeping on trying.
But all this love comes with a stomach full of butterflies as I start training today. I have big goals. This is the first time I’m admitting them to peeps other than my sis. It feels safe here since I’m pretty sure no one reads this.
I want to BQ. That’s cutting almost a fuckin 30 minutes off my time. Before you comment to let me know that’s unrealistic and I’m just going to disappoint myself, I already know that. But I’m going to do it any way. I don’t care if you doubt me. Because, God-damn it, I love challenges. Love them. Doubt me and I’ll work hard. Tell me I suck at math and make me repeat PreAlgebra in 8th grade and I’ll become a math teacher. Tell me I can’t double major in two totally different fields and Ill kick ass at it. Tell me I don’t have a runners body. Tell me I’m going to get injured. Tell me it’s too hard. I don’t care what you say because it will be fun. Doubt me, please, because I will eat your doubt for a pre-run treat.
Thinking about the doubters (who I know exist since they doubted my previous goals) motivates me. And I need that motivation. It will take a lot of work this summer. But I have the time. I’m a teacher, after all. Nothing but time, all summer (yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds. But I work crazy hard and crazy lots of hours the rest of the year). When people keep asking me what I plans are for the summer, I try to avoid answering. Because my honest answer? I’m training the hardest I’ve ever trained. And I’m as excited and as nervous for it as you are for your trip to wherever you are going. I’m nervous not because I might not reach my goal on race day, I’m nervous because I’m afraid I’ll wimp out and not give my training my all. But that’s my mental dragon and that’s the dragon I get to slay this summer. Proving to myself that I can and will kick my own ass. It’s a privilege to have that be my mental dragon. I’ve got it lucky. I have an incredible life that has allowed this passion for running. This selfish but awesome pursuit of working hard to make myself better.
So my plans for the summer? I’m going to work super hard. Sweat so much. Foam roll & ice bath often. Be proud or disappointed daily at my times but proud every day of my efforts. Doesn’t that sound like fun?
Does to me!