I started my official training when we came back from Leavenworth. Since I had taken a few days off from running, I figured my legs would be light, springy, ready to run. Not so much. They felt like crap. Running was difficult and even an easy pace left me breathless.
Since the previous week (wedding week) also sucked, I started to panic. I’ve had a great summer of running, but I was convinced that I had lost all of my fitness. This culminated with an absolutely terrible 5k. Note to self: When doubting yourself, do NOT for all that is holy and good run a 5k. Those things are mean-spirited.
Here’s how the 5k went down: Started WAY too fast, got tired, slowed down, walked, ran slowly, walked some more, finished with a time five minutes slower than my PR. Yep, it wasn’t pretty.
For a few days leading up to the 5k and during the 5k, I thought about bagging all of my upcoming races — including Portland. In terms of running, I was mentally and physically in a really bad place.
Thankfully, I followed up my disaster of a 5k with a yoga class, and the teacher’s theme for the class struck a running chord. The theme was “living in the maybe.” In other words, learning to be comfortable in the transition periods, being OK with uncertainty, and just trusting that things will work out as they should.
In running and in life, I hate maybes. I hate uncertainties. I hate not having everything perfectly planned out. As I’m realizing more and more, running is FULL of maybes. I know I have sub-4 hour marathon in me, and maybe it will happen in Portland and maybe it won’t. Maybe I’ll qualify for Boston someday and maybe I won’t.
So many freakin’ maybes!
Thanks to this little epiphany (which may seem like common sense to you, but it was a huge discovery for me. I told you before that I’m not the smartest…), I decided that I wanted to proceed with my training and run Portland. However, I decided that I would train for and race Portland with a different attitude, an attitude inspired by something else I’ve learned in yoga: The importance of detaching yourself from the end result.
Let me explain. During training cycles I get so obsessed with one thing (OMG I have to finish sub4 or I’m a giant running failure) that I become a Garmin-stalking psycho who freaks out about any small thing that goes wrong.
Even when I ran Eugene, I wasn’t happy when I finished the race with my second fastest time because I didn’t reach my goal of sub4. I allowed that arbitrary goal to ruin my entire experience.
It’s clearly not a healthy or sustainable way to approach my running. So my new attitude is to work hard (and smart!) and do my best — both in training and the race itself. If I finish with 3:xx on the clock, I will be elated. If I finish with 4:xx, I’ll probably be disappointed BUT I will be proud of the effort I put forward and celebrate finishing my sixth marathon. No matter what happens, I won’t be the sulky brat I was in Eugene. Pinky promise.
Armed with my new attitude, my second week of training went a million times better. I was more relaxed, enjoyed my runs, and even set a pretty big PR in the 10k (more on that later).
I’ll recap my first two weeks of training in my next post. Happy running, friends!
p.s. If you made it all the way to the end, you deserve a gold star. Thanks!