Oh my goodness!!
What a crazy year it has been. I started off this year with a simple goal: run 1300 miles in 2013. Well, that goal was easily reached because I met yet another goal this year as well…
I ran my first marathon.
And then followed it up with another marathon.
My other goal was to make it through the year uninjured. I almost made it. SO close. The past two weeks I have been going without running due to Achilles tendonitis brought on by refusing to hop on a treadmill and going for a run while there was still ice and snow on the ground. The uneven footing was enough to alter my gait enough to cause this bit of discomfort. I am on the mend though. Not being able to get out and run has been killing me…but I have supplemented spinning classes (I go at least 2 times a week), swimming (once a week) and some weight training in, all of which I intend to keep doing well into next year. Because I love how strong these other activities are making me.
Do I have a goal for this coming year? I haven’t really given it much thought. Miles I always seem to surpass…races I run plenty…I think my main goal is to eat better, train better, remember to cross-train more, take some time to walk and see the sites that I might miss otherwise, work on speed, and just have a great year on the road.
SO much love and thanks to all my friends this year who have seen me through training, traveled to my races, cheered for me, cried with me, and pushed me beyond what I ever thought possible. I have made so many new friends this past year and I know that I’m going to forge new friendships in this coming year.
So…here is to a happy, healthy, and healing New Year.
Thank you, my dearest readers, for sticking with me and offering advice, words of love and encouragement, and for pushing me to aim higher.
2014…I’m on the mend…and I’m ready to hit the road! Let’s do this!
That’s all I’ve been feeling toward myself these days. While so many of my running friends are posting better times and new PRs…I feel like I’m in a slump. I feel like…things are just…getting worse for me. And all of this leads to a lot of self doubt and a lot of low self-esteem. Yes…I am so very proud of my friends for their accomplishments. But it’s only natural for me to look at what they are managing and wonder…why am I slowing down? Why is the weight piling on? Why…just why?
I try to keep my thoughts positive, but when you feel like your fitness is suffering…well…it’s hard to keep that good attitude.
Let’s start with the first thing. I’ve put on about 10 pounds since I ran the Chicago Marathon. I haven’t changed my eating routines. I’m not loading up on junk food. I’m still eating clean. I still treat myself. But…the weight just won’t come off. In fact, I just seem to add to it. And that just sucks…mightily. When you no longer feel as light as a feather…you don’t feel like you’re running as fast or capable of running as fast as you did when you were at your prime fitness. This is me. And it is really messing with my mind. I hear about all my friends losing weight, dieting, all this stuff. I don’t diet…I just eat clean and I workout. And somehow this has brought on weight. I don’t eat a lot of crap. Yes…I treat myself to ice cream on the weekend…but I’ve always done that. Even back during my marathon training. UGH! The biggest insult happened this past weekend when I went to the pool to swim some laps…and my bathing suit was tight. Uncomfortably…not fitting me right…tight.
Now, allow me to follow this paragraph up with the fact that I am not working out to lose weight. I don’t run to lose weight. Nor do I run so I can eat a lot of crap and not feel guilty about it. I run and I go to the gym because I love how it makes me feel. I don’t need to lose weight. BUT…I don’t want to gain it either. And despite my workouts and my runs…that scale keeps creeping up…and with it…my self-doubt.
It sucks having low self-esteem!
Achilles tendonitis. Brought on from…ironically…avoiding the treadmill and going out to run on those icy and snowy days. Landing on uneven icy and snow altered my gait…and with it…put some strain and stress on my Achilles. What has this brought on? Slower runs. No long runs. And a lot of very mixed emotions from me. I hate cutting my mileage. If there is one run I look forward to every week it’s my long run. I love going long. I love the distance. I don’t care how fast I run or how slow…I just want to get that distance. I love the time with others…or the time alone. I love talking or sometimes just letting my thoughts take over. This past weekend I was supposed to run 2 long runs…but…I ran a total of 4 miles. FOUR MILES!! And not even at speed. I can’t. Not with this ankle/Achilles issue. It is so aggravating. I can still run…but the intensity isn’t there. The distance is definitely not happening. And it just tears me up inside. I know it’s for the best…not to put added strain/stress on the problem area…but…I get so cranky when my runs get messed with. And this has definitely left me feeling insignificant. Especially when the miles are turned down and so is the speed. I feel like I should be turning up the intensity if the mileage is not there…but I can’t even do that. And it’s beyond bumming me out. It’s making me second guess everything. And then I read about everyone else who is running long, setting new PRs, and just getting so much stronger and faster…and here I am…slowing down…feeling like I’m reverting back…feeling…SO DAMN SLOW!! IT SUCKS!!
I know it’s for the best, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.
What I have been doing is taking my runs inside…to the dreadmill…and running at a very deliberate, easy pace. The soft belt is a lot kinder to my joints than the hard pavement right now. Oh…and I’ve now officially taken two spinning classes (and totally intend to keep going to them!!) and have added more weights for some strength training. I’ve only learned the machines…so I haven’t officially added that back in. I’m going to get back into the habit of my circuit training. I fell off it when my roommate went into the hospital. Then it was too close to my marathon to really want to hop back in. After that…probably sheer lack of motivation…and the fact that the roomie can’t turn it up and dial it in like I can while on her current meds. BUT…that changes when I get back from my Christmas vacation. Dialing back into those weights, the core, the strength training. Hopefully the ankle/Achilles will be further on the mend. I also went swimming on Sunday. Yep. Swimming for a whole 45 minutes. I love to swim, and definitely should incorporate it more. Or else I’ll never get any better. Not that I’m a horrible swimmer, I’m just not very fast. I don’t have that strength behind it yet. But that comes with time and training. Time to just hop in and DO IT!
I have a difficult time wrapping my head around slower running times. I’m built for distance…that much I know. But I also like to prove that I am swift. I’m speedy. Sometimes I feel that way. But ever since the cold weather hit, my times have been so much slower than what I could master in the heat of summer. I run better in heat than cold. Cold burns my lungs, makes it hard to breathe, therefore…I never quite find my rhythm. Some people run better and faster in colder temperatures. I am not one of those people. Slowing down scares me. I am not ready to slow down. I want to find that strength to push a little harder, fight to get a little faster, and outrun all my doubts and limits. And I have yet to do just that. I feel like I’m failing…
Cold weather creeps in and so does my self-doubt. I am my own worst critic and my harshest competition. I don’t feel like I’m running up to par and that gets stuck in my head. I get aggravated when I fail to nail a time on a distance that felt so easy during the warmer days. I know it’s natural. I know it’s normal. But I’m competitive…and when I feel like I’m sliding backwards instead of moving ahead…I get into this tug-of-war with myself and my emotions…my expectations…
And yeah…that sucks too.
My competition is not my friends I run with…nor is it those who are out there making progress. My competition is myself. I look in the mirror…and those extra pounds, those slower times, the lack of long runs, the self-doubt…that is my competition. And until I get get over this hump…it’s the fight of my life right now. Because until I believe that I can run faster in the cold, that my ankle won’t hurt, that my body isn’t failing me or trying to slow me down…then I’m not making progress. And I won’t. Words have power…even the unspoken ones inside my head.
Time to find my strong…again.
It’s a battle I’m willing to fight. I just have to be smart about it. My competition…is all in my head…and it’s time to show it who is boss.
Fly, fly precious one
Your endless journey has begun
Take your gentle happiness
Far too beautiful for this
Cross over to the other shore
There is peace forevermore…
As you might recall from my previous post on the Fast Freddie Five Mile Foot Feast, I ran that race for a little 12 year old girl, who I was connected to via a group called Brain Cancer Share Your Shirts. Her name was Trinitie and in 2012, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor known as Glioblastoma Multiforme Stage 4.
The concept was simple…run a race and send your race shirt, race bib, and a little note to the child you are connected with via the program. So, on a bitterly cold Thanksgiving morning, I hauled out to my five mile race and battled the cold temperatures to churn out my best 5 mile race to date. It was by no means fast…but it was fast enough. And I did it for Trinitie. I boxed up my race shirt (a beautiful long sleeve tech shirt), my race bib, enclosed a card, and threw in the signs I made for the occasion, a ribbon, and a few extras because, without having even met Trinitie…she touched my life. The box was sent off to the address provided.
And then…Trinitie took a turn for the worse. But it seemed she was going to bounce back. That’s what kids do, right? They bounce.
Then yesterday…the most heartbreaking message was posted on Trinitie’s page as I was getting ready to leave work. Her mom wrote that Trinitie had a massive brain hemorrhage and was unresponsive. She was being airlifted to Children’s Hospital. She asked for strength…and prayers.
So simple…yet I know every person reading that status felt so helpless and powerless.
This morning…the news I read on Trinitie brought me to tears. The Brain Cancer Share Your Shirts page stated:
Miss Trinitie earned wings a few hours ago. She’s now flying high with the rest of the angels. To those who supported her during her fight, know you touched the life of a child. Please join me in prayer/positive thoughts for her Mom & family. Fly high Trinitie!
I was brought to tears. It seems foolish, perhaps, since I never personally met Trinitie. But I felt so connected to her. I ran a race for her. I thought of her through each cold, hilly mile. She provided inspiration and strength. It is hard to believe such a beautiful and brave girl was now gone.
Her fight was not in vain. She touched so many people with her story. She touched my life…and never even knew it. Which is why I sit here, crying, because I feel like I lost a part of myself. That’s what running for someone does to you. It connects you in ways you never even realize. I am heartbroken at the loss of such a young life. But Trinitie was a fighter. And she went to battle each day, brave, relentless, and she did it all with a smile. She never lost her spirit.
I hope that her fighting spirit and courage continue to live on in each of us…and that her soul watches over all the other children in this world who are fighting the battle she fought. Her strength, her courage, her grace live on in a beautiful soul that went to fly with the angels last night.
Fly high, Trinitie! Thank you for letting me be a small part of your inspirational life.