mind games

Holy crap.  Do you see this over on the sidebar?  —————————->

For posterity’s sake, I should copy this down.  It says:

Countdown to the Minneapolis Marathon
June 3rd, 2012
8 days to go

I’m actually doing this.

I’ve gone through all sorts of emotions the last week.  Mostly sheer terror nerves.

The mere thought of the marathon has been enough to get me running to the bathroom.

All through the first few months of this training cycle, I was positive.  Upbeat.  While running 15, 17, 18 miles, although (of course) it hurt some, I was just so excited that I was doing it.  I was following the plan.  I was going to run a marathon.

Then May hit.  We got busy.  Super busy.  You might say “life got in the way.”  Soccer started.  Friday night practices, Saturday morning games, Sunday afternoon games.  A trip to Washington, DC.  Three trips to Chicago.  Then, baseball and t-ball started.  More practices.  More games.  Hardly an evening at home.  Then I traveled to Switzerland.

Through it all, I tried to follow the plan.  But the weekday runs suffered.  Although the plan called for three weekly runs, I was struggling to get out once during the week.  I finished all my long runs, but instead of meeting up with the Live Uncommon crew and enjoying running with friends and good conversation, I was out at 5:30 am, in the dark, running alone on the canal bike path.  I ran with time constraints:  “I have to finish this 19 mile run by 9, so I can get home, shower, and be at the soccer game by 10.”  

Apology to the soccer moms:  I actually finished the 20 mile run, got home at 9:30, and turned right around to take my oldest to his soccer game.  I think I might have splashed water on my face, otherwise I went straight from running to his game.  Oddly enough, nobody sat by me…

Intermission:  I just had to go clean up a spill of a full cup of coffee off the kitchen floor.  Apparently the toddler can now reach things on the table.  Fun times. 

Intermission 2: I returned to the computer just to be immediately called back to help open a game box.  This blog post will happen, just maybe not today.   

Hooray, my husband just got home.  Maybe now I can type for more than 10 seconds at a time.

Those long solo runs were tough, both mentally and physically.  I got through them, and I didn’t cut out any miles (okay, the 19 mile run was 18.83, but I was not going one.more.step).  And I know that running them alone was good for my mental toughness.  But, then again, maybe it wasn’t.

Once I started deviating from “The Plan,” my head started playing mind tricks on me.  As long as I was sticking to the plan, I knew I would be fine.  But the last few weeks really started to get to me mentally.  People kept saying, “you’ve done the training, you are fine!”  But I didn’t feel fine, I felt like someone who was cheating on the plan and not doing the work.  And as any runner knows, “not doing the work” = “tough race.”  Combine that with the fact that I wasn’t running with the group (and therefore missing the support that comes with it…misery loves company!), and my mind was just not in it.

Let me state that I have never, never doubted my ability to finish this race.  I still don’t.  Through this whole training period, I have always known I will finish.  That’s just the way I am.  Walk, run, crawl, I will cross that finish line.  But my confidence was rocked when I started to feel that my training was not quite up to par.  So I needed a good group run today just to get my head back in the game.

And a good group run is exactly what I got.  Of course the speedies took off and left us slowpokes in the dust, (Jen and myself).  And poor Josiah got caught in the middle doing his version of a solo group run. 😉  But it was still much faster than my long runs, and so it was a good challenge for me.  And I felt good through most of it, even with my jello-y legs, so it was just what I needed.  I drove home listening to the XM Pink Floyd channel (yeah, it’s awesome), and the combination of endorphins, music, and coffee made me feel so much more optimistic for this race.

I’m excited again.  I’m going to run a marathon!


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