Marathon Brian has been telling me all along that 90% of distance running is in the mind. I’ve fought that idea….until this week.
Some personal struggles over the past week and a half have disrupted my sleep, invaded my mind, chipped away at my mental fortitude….leaving me feeling tired, worn out, weak. Each day I dragged myself to the treadmill, or outside if it wasn’t too cold in the very early morning hours before the sunrise. I dragged my body like it weighed twice as much as it does. I dragged my spirit, because it too felt very heavy. I was committed enough to my running routine and to my training schedule that I did every run required this week. But the poor state of my mind and spirit crept into my body, causing me to suffer with every step. Yeah. It felt awful. Every step. My defective Inner Voice, which has been recovering like a well-fed, well-cared for bed-ridden patient, was back to its old tricks, as if it had never skipped a beat. “I’m tired. This is awful. I’m weak. I can’t do this”, it said…over, and over, and over. Until…..my body, mind and spirit caught the infection, and I physically felt tired, and awful, and weak, and ……I couldn’t run. How can that be? I’m on the treadmill, running at 5.0 which is 12 minute pace, something I have done a million times. Ok, ok, maybe not a million……but dozens and dozens of times. Yet, there I was on Wednesday morning, shamefully hitting the Speed down arrow, and lowering my run to a fast walk pace. A walk of shame. GOD! I HATE THAT! But there I Was, feeling tired, and awful and weak……so……what else was gonna happen?
The real kick in the pants was….it happened again on Thursday, and then again on Friday. D@mn, I was MAD!! At myself!
“Tee Hee….Ha..ha..ha…”, my defective Inner Voice was enjoying this, ALOT! Because all those negative emotions, all the unfair jabs, all the sharp-pointed barbs, were pointed squarely and directly at myself. And I had really good aim, from a lifetime of practice. “Oh, you are a loser Diane. Yup, this is where you lose it, and fail, and we never run the Race in April! This is the end of the road. It was bound to happen. D@mn you. What’s wrong with you??”
Yeah, it got bad.
But I kept walking, and running, and limping and running. I tried to ignore the self sabotage, and I got in every mile I was supposed to run this week. And truth be told, the walking was a small fraction of what I accomplished. But, like perfectionists do, and do very well, I beat myself up for every walking step, and didn’t love on myself for all the minutes run. Ohhh, Old Habits Die Really Really Hard. Gotta persistently be on the lookout for them. They creep in like thieves in the night and steal your confidence.
So I limped into Weight Watchers this Saturday, feeling kinda Out of Sorts. Not sad. Not upset. I didn’t feel much of anything really. I was just “kinda there”. This was somewhat depressing in itself, because it was on the heels of a very positive and celebratory week last week, where I earned my 75 pound charm. I wanted to lose that .8 of a pound and get under 200. But I felt like it didn’t happen, and I didn’t want or need that feedback this week. So I decided on the car ride over, that I was going to give myself a “Pass” from the scale this week. I decided that I just didn’t care what it had to say today.
I walked into the meeting, sat with my friends, and experienced an awesome meeting on the topic of Emotional Eating, lead with all the humor, compassion and insight that Denise packs into all of her meetings. I left feeling GREAT. Uplifted. Unburdened. I felt Rebuilt, Reminded, Reminded that I am Full of Strength. It seemed simple really. But I’ve noticed that sometimes I need a good reminder from outside of myself — a reminder not to be so hard on myself — not to tear myself down. There is so much I receive from my WW meetings that has nothing to do with food, or PPVs , or cookbooks, or snacks. It has so much to do with friends, and support, and reflection on how far I’ve come, and how capable I am to go further.
I came home and looked at my running schedule. I had 3 miles to deliver today, and I had a new determination to turn a corner back to strength on that treadmill. The wind is howling today, so I decided to run inside. I donned my running shorts, sports bra and running shoes, filled a water bottle with Vitacoco, picked up my iPod, and opened the window in the room. After the warm-up walk, I turned the speed up to 5.4, which is an 11:00 pace, and ran a half mile. When I felt I needed relief…I turned the speed down to 5.0, my normal 12:00 pace and did a half mile at that speed.
Then the WEIRDEST thing happened.
My normal 5.0 pace of 12:00 felt slow. It felt like the rest I needed to recover my breathing. The rest I normally get when I walk. Huh?? I was so ready to hit the Speed down arrow button and move to a walking pace, BUT…..I didn’t need to. 5.0 felt good, and restful. So I ran a half mile at 5.0, and then moved it back to 5.4 and alternated half miles like this until I had finished all 3 miles. The last .20 miles, I turned the treadmill all the way up to 7.0, which was an 8:30 pace, and I RAN to the finish line of my run like a Gazelle!
WHAT the HECK?? My brain couldn’t process what was going on. Yesterday, and Thursday, and Wednesday, I couldn’t even run 3 miles at the 5.0 (12:00) pace. And yet today, I ran 3 miles at 5.4 (11:00) and 5.0 (12:00) half mile intervals, and I felt strong and capable and AWESOME.
I can’t really explain what happened, except to say this. I “knew” I could run faster, because I’ve always run faster outside than I do on the treadmill – I knew that from my Garmin watch. So, I broke through the mental block I was having on the treadmill, by letting my strength take over, and then letting my body recover at the slower pace — which is under my capabilities. I KNOW that now. I don’t have to fear it, or worry about it. It’s a FACT now.
We REALLY ARE only limited by the Beliefs we hold of ourselves. And it’s a lesson that I may need to re-learn over and over for a while, until words like STRONG, and CAPABLE, and AWESOME become the habit inside my hard ole head. This week, I fell into the old trap of believing my own self-doubt and self-criticism. Until…..I decided to run that off on the treadmill today, and chose to use the Power of my Mind for My Own Good,……. again……
Ciao for now…….Diane