This process of training for a marathon means that every day begins with an “Ask”. Something the day is asking of me. Week 1 starts easy, and it builds for 18 weeks….taking me to a taper week – and then straight to the Starting Line of Race Day. The days of the week play out similarly. Monday starts out lighter (it’s typically a recovery run from the Sunday long run), and the miles build up over the days as the week progresses – culminating in a long run on Sunday. This Monday (Actual Day 1 of the whole shooting match) started easy…..3 miles. Tuesday is a Rest Day (luv, luv, luv). Wednesday and Thursday were asking for 4 miles. Each. Greedy little monsters! On top of their “Ask”, I was “Asking” myself for more. Run the miles Diane. Find out what you are made of. I believe you are made of “more than walking”. Go out into the big world….and find out!!
As I stepped off my street sign Starting Line on Wednesday morning, in the dark – I began to run. Shaking out all my thoughts, clearing my mind. I was pumped up. STRONG. I Want This. Remember Diane? There is a reason we are out here before the first speck of the sun breaks in the sky. Remember?
The first mile, I felt heavy. Again. My whining brain, and my Inner Coach, agreed that this was probably how every 1st mile of every run from here on out was going to feel – so we had to just toughen up, suck it up, and push through it. Once I got to the two-mile turn around, something wonderful happened. It was as plain as the nose on my face. I had “flipped the switch”, and I wasn’t afraid to say it/think it/believe it! I was in the pace where I could recover……while running! So cool! I was in my glory.
I jokingly talk about this Inner Coach, but it’s a real phenomenon when I am running. When I’m out there, working…WORKING…I get a lot of comfort out of hearing my inner voice talk to me. It’s not the same thing as talking to oneself. It’s different. “Come on Diane, we can do this. We can make it up that hill. We’re strong.” Who is this WE I keep talking about?
For a while, I was sure it was a carry-over from my writing here on the blog…but now I’m pretty certain that it’s not. It’s not just a writing technique gone wild in my head while I’m out there. No, it’s something much more important, something much more powerful. It’s the realization that my Defective Inner Voice had been replaced by a Positive Coaching Voice. Instead of throwing harsh words at me, like rocks, ….. THIS voice encouraged me and partnered with me. THIS voice and I were in this TOGETHER. WE is really a WE. I’m not alone out there. That is VERY comforting.
Pulling off the first 4 miles on Wednesday felt like an unknown. I am NOT going to use the word DOUBT. I’m banishing words like DOUBT and FEAR. I’m teaching myself that “not knowing” is not necessarily bad. In fact, sometimes not knowing can be exciting, and motivating. I’m working on my mental conditioning to set out on these “first-time” adventures into the unknown as exciting. The reason this is important, is because when I’m anxious and not fully confident, I tend to want to Rush my Run. Get it Over With. Be Done. For me, right now — this equates to Running Too Fast in the first mile or two…then burning out, and falling into a walk. That pattern is No Go. No More. Over.
So the 4 miles on Wednesday and Thursday went very very well. Nice slow runs, all running…no walking. Not one step. The whole way, my Coach was whispering in my ear…….”Relax, Just Let it Happen. Don’t Rush, Just Let it Happen.” Man, it worked SO So so so so so so well. I held myself back the first two miles, then when I felt “the switch”, when I felt it – I let myself settle into the pace and I just ran. In relaxation. I just let it happen. It was the weirdest, and most wonderful feeling EVER. I saved enough energy and tenacity to make it up the HILL. All 102 feet of incline. Coach has to talk me to the top. “ Just get to the Fence. Now move to the bush. See that can on the side of the curb? Go that far.”
Um, WTH, I’m using trash in the road as markers now?
“Yep – whatever it takes to break that HILL down, so you can get to the top. Do it!”
So I do. Looking back over these last two runs, the thing that makes me feel the most positive is that I am running by “feel” now. That I can “feel” that pace, that place where I can run and recover while running. I had heard Marathon Brian describe this place to me…..but you know…..it’s just one of those things that you just can’t know until you “feel” it for yourself. I like that a lot. And how I KNOW I’m experiencing this as I run is this –> I’ve run two 4-mile runs, and never looked at my Garmin once. Not once. Not until I was done, and walking home in Cool Down. That told me a lot about Just Letting It Happen, and filled me with confidence for the next run.
I’m moving from one run to the next. Day to day. That’s the plan. So far so good. I end each of my nights all minty fresh – with Icy Hot on my knees. I consider it my badge of honor! LOL
Ciao for now……Diane