NOTE: This is basically verbal vomit. Careful with your shoes, I"m sure it splattered everywhere. I also probably am going to include a lot of language that I typically try to filter out here on the blog (even though I'm known to be pretty liberal with the f-bomb in particular in real life...). I just need to get his out of my head, and it's going to be messy and it's going to be ugly, and I can't promise it will make any sense at all. I can't help that, I just need to express it. Sorry.
I have avoided running lately. In the nearly 2 weeks since The Run for the Ducks, which was an incredible experience and deserves a long-overdue post of its own, I have put in a whopping 14 miles. Three of those were on my own, and the other 11 were an LSD run around the lake with my girls last Sunday.
Why have I avoided it? Because I think when run. And there's been a lot of stuff going on in my head that I haven't wanted to think about. And so when I have found "opportunities" to belay my daily mileage, I've taken them. It's late, it's early, I'm recovering, I just ate, I haven't eaten, I'm tired, my knee hurts, it's too hot, it's too cold. Those are just excuses. Even worse, they are bad excuses. Bottom line, I am a fraud.
What does that mean? It means that I haven't pushed myself as a runner since Cowtown. I put everything that I had on the streets of Fort Worth, and since then, I've run 3 more marathons and a half and a few 5ks and yet I haven't pushed myself to the limit since February. And even then, if not for my bubble of love I would have started walking a mile 19, when it got hard. What does that say? I've had "reasons" to take it easy, rationale for not going 110 percent, balls to the wall since then. For Grasslands, it was my Maniacs qualifier, so I just had to finish. So what did I do? I just finished. For Hells Yeah Hills, I paced Julie. And when things got tough, we walked a bit more than I needed to, because I didn't want to leave her. That was the right thing to do, don't get me wrong. But that race wasn't really difficult for me. It was a challenge, yes, don't get me wrong there. But I didn't come away from that race thinking, "wow, I can't go another step." I had a blast. It was fun, which I guess is a good thing. But I didn't push. I played it safe.
Then there was Oklahoma City. Well, that one is a story all to itself. But because of the circumstances, again, not that I would do anything differently, but I didn't push myself then either. And I am okay with that. But, really, this is another prime example of how I've been allowed to get away with it. Races like OKC have actually perpetuated my tendency to just finish, to just get to the end. And that's been enough for me. But, really, should it be? Since when did I become OK with just finishing?
I actually caught myself on Twitter this week saying I was shooting for DFL. Who the fuck says that? Really? When did "just finishing" become enough for me? Am I self-sabotaging my best performance by bailing on my runs, by coming up with "rationales" for "resting," so that when I do finish dead last, if I even make the cutoffs, I can say, "ha, ha, told ya!"? Really? What is that about? Why am I not doing the work? I know what it takes to finish a 50k. I know it's not a foregone conclusion. So why am I not doing the work? Is it to give myself an out? Is it so that when I don't make the cutoff on November 19, I can say, well, I *did* just have surgery... it was crazy of me to try for 50 miles so soon. Is that my game?
What am I afraid of? Is it that I can do the work and it still won't be enough? Ever since the doctor told me that there is nothing wrong with me physically, and the nutritionist said she had nothing more to offer me except maybe I shouldn't eat lunch at my desk (???), I have not been doing the work.
I see my friends knocking out these amazing workouts day after day. I see them doing back-to-back long runs, like what was on my plan that I haven't had the courage to open since Hottest Half. I see Drum waking up at 4 AM to do hot yoga, then hammering out a weights workout and a trail run. On a weekday. I see Libby kicking ass with 3 marathons in 70 days, working with a personal trainer to get all buff & stuff, and that's with a pre-schooler & an infant. I see people like Erin, who are struggling with injury but want nothing more than to go for a run. And here I am, sleeping in and putting off the morning run, and then finding a reason to not do it in the evening. And then I think back on last fall, on how I missed ONE workout in the entire 18 week training plan for NYC. And I wonder what happened to that person, to that runner who was so dedicated and so motivated and so freaking in love with running. Because she doesn't live here anymore. I don't know where she's gone.
I do like to run, I do. But it's hard these days. And the reality is, yes, I have had to start over since the surgery. From scratch. and that sucks. And I've had some heavy emotional stuff, dealing with my dad and then trying to help my mom cope. And as much as I can tell myself that it's a fresh start and I shouldn't, can't look at what I used to do, I can't help it. I compare myself today with what I used to be able to do. It's impossible not to. So is that what's holding me back from trying now? It doesn't make any sense that it's harder so I work less? I'm so screwed up right now. I don't have the answers. I don't know how to solve this, except to suck it up and deal and start running. Simple, right?
So what does this mean for the 125 miles of races I have in the next six weeks? culminating in that little 50-miler? Well... I'm still doing them. I'm still committed. But I don't know that I'm content to "just finish" anymore. But it's kinda late to cram for a 50k. So what's the plan? Get the weekday runs done, for one. No more excuses. No more "rationale" for why it's ok to skip them. Dial in the nutrition even tighter. Focus. It's no longer enough for me to show up with a camera and a smile and be content to just finish. I have to find my motivation again. I have to find my drive to do the training so that I set myself up a little bit better than what I've done so far. The training alone won't get it done when it gets hard, for that you need the mental part. I have that mental part down pat, I think, but I know I need to get the physical part down too. The mental part alone won't get it done, either.
I don't know if this post makes any sense. All I know is that these are the thoughts and the feelings and the fears that popped into my head as I made four really not very fun loops around my neighborhood tonight. What does it mean? I don't know. Am I really going to get off my ass & get some weekday runs done now? I don't know. I do know that I'm going to open up that Wild Hare training plan and take a look at it and see where I am and what I can do to finish the ramp up with a little more intensity and purposefulness than I've done in the last month. I do know that I'm going to go to Palo Duro Canyon next week and see what I can do with what I've got right now and make adjustments as needed. And I won't be content with just finishing.