It was one of those workouts. The kind which bring every doubt to the surface. The kind which floods your brain with every negative thought you ever had. The kind which makes you cry the ugly cry, which, for the record, is really difficult to do while running.
Yep, Saturday’s long run was one of those for me. It was humid and hilly and slow and miserable, but mostly I was having a mental breakdown: Would I be able to run a decent pace the half marathon at Niagara-on-the-Lake? Was my goal too ambitious? Did I peak too soon? Why do Sue and Nicole think they have flabby stomachs? And if they do, what does that make mine?
And those are just the tip of the crazy mental chatter iceberg. Once the floodgates opened all kinds of thoughts came to my mind. I’d breath through them, gather myself, and keep on running. I finished the 22K run but felt spent and frustrated. Sue yelled at me throughout the run, chastising me for my negative thinking. Mark noticed my bad mood and let me wallow over coffee and a bagel from Tim Horton’s. Then I vented on Facebook.
My running friends asked what happened and sympathized, reminding me that all runners have frustrating workouts. Another offered, “But you did it and will learn something from it. That’s what I think you would tell me!” Ah-ha. Indeed that is what I would tell a friend who offered a similar analysis of her long run. Humbling when your own philosophy and advice is lovingly offered back to you.
And then came a few extra reality checks.
First came the disturbing news from my friend Amy G. that she was in a bike accident — her second in four years — and shattered the bone above her elbow. She will be fine, but is filled with sadness at the lost opportunity to race Ironman this summer coupled with the void of lost training. My crappy long run? Precious. Then came the blog from my friend Jen who has decided to set a goal of running the London Marathon in 2015. Her inaugural blog posts emphasize that she’s on a journey:
I am a 36 year old …. completely out of shape, “light” exercising, life long “fat girl,” with a dream, a goal, a mission. …. To me, weight loss will be a by-product of what I’m trying to achieve.
A girl with a dream, a goal, a mission. I know exactly what that feels like. Time for me to stop whining. Maybe I needed a good and thorough purge of negative emotions on that long run. Sometimes the only way to change a thought pattern is to revel in the ridiculousness of it. With that over, I can return to defining my dreams, goals and missions. Right now, it’s about challenging myself, stepping outside my comfort zone and embracing the possibility that my best is just perfect, regardless of what the time on my watch might say.
What will inspire you to go after your dream, goal and mission, regardless of what your “rational” brain may say?