Monday, November 18, 2013

Exercising the Demons

What do you do when you have a really, really bad run?  How do you put it behind you and move on without letting it linger in the back of your mind causing fear and doubt to creep into all of your runs?  How do you know that you are capable of doing better?  And how do you make sure you do better next time?
These are all of the questions I've been struggling with since Saturday's terrible long run.  I know that it's important to put it behind me if I want to progress in my training.  I know that I need to look at Saturday's run as an important step in my preparation.  I know that by making it through the fifteen mile run when every part of me was begging to stop, I am now mentally and physically stronger for the next run.  I know all of these things, but I'd be lying to you if I said that knowing and feeling are one in the same.  I can't help but feel a little terrified.  I can't help but hear that little voice in the back of my head whispering, "you bit off more than you can chew," "this isn't for you," and "you aren't a real runner."
So, today was the day to exercise my demons.  Literally.  I knew that I had to take the first step towards the next run.  For a little inspiration, I dug out my 2011 Houston Marathon finisher shirt.  I needed a reminder of what I've already accomplished and what I am capable of accomplishing now.  Just putting on the shirt reminded me that I CAN run 26.2 miles.  Off I went and slowly but surely, I felt the kinks come out.  Physically, my legs loosened up and started to move like I wanted.  The short shuffling of Saturday turned into long stride sprinting (today was an interval run).  The labored huffing and puffing of my last run became strong deep breathing.  And most importantly, I began to think that I could run, really run, again.  I hit some great sprint paces.  At one point, I even looked down and saw the number 6 ahead of my pace!  It didn't stay there long, but it was something I never expected to see and I was excited to know I could run in the sixes, even if for only a few seconds. 
I guess the moral is that the only way to face your doubts is to just face them.  To trust that there is a reason for really bad days and the reward for getting through those days is that the next bad day won't seem so insurmountable.  We need to stop letting the really bad runs intimidate us and instead realize that we have been preparing for the really hard days our whole lives with every hard day we've already overcome.  Basically, what I'm trying to say is that we are unstoppable because we are ready!
My reminder of what I am capable of achieving.  Also, a reminder to take care of my brows!

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