Worth It

Two weeks ago I was taking a time out because of knee pain and I hadn’t run more than 6 miles for my long run at that point.  To say I’ve been nervous through this training is an understatement.  I haven’t really wanted to run because I’ve been enjoying the social experience of going to the CrossFit classes and my body has been tired.  Some days I feel like the marathon broke me. Could that be true? Most runs this past month felt like it’s my first time out there.

Last week’s 8 mile run was brutal. Between the heat, my knee still feeling a bit unsteady, and running in the evening after a long and busy weekend, my experience was less than desirable.  Thankfully, Mama C was able to run 5 of those 8 with me. I wasn’t prepared for the run and I would’ve easily quit after the first 3 miles, gone home, blamed the weather or fatigue, beat myself up, and started the cycle of anxiety over the race all over again. Instead, she pushed me through and what seemed impossible at 3 miles became probable at 6.5, then it became another check mark next to the long run on my training plan.   All week I wondered how on earth I was going to make it though 9 miles if I barely made it through 8.  This was going to feel like a punishment. 

I woke up at about 6:35 and sleepily headed to the kitchen, I really just wanted a cup of coffee. My husband and I passed each other in the hallway and he said, “You’re up early.”

Me, grumbling: “I should go do my 9 miles now.”  But all I really want is a cup of coffee and to sit outside with no one bothering me.  Sit. Outside. Alone. Sit.

Him: “Do it.” He says optimistically as he fired up the Keurig.

Me, searching for any excuse, any reason at all to delay this task: “I don’t want to do 9 miles alone.”

Him: “Nobody wants to do a 9 mile training run alone.”

Me, slightly annoyed: “Wow. That was unbelievably unhelpful….”

Him: *stares blankly* No more words. I could tell he was trying to figure out what might be his next safest move. He was stalled by slightly strange turn we had just taken and was trying to assess how quickly this might deteriorate into a full blown “Well, crap. Candice is pissed off before 7am again, now what?” kind of day.

Me, flatly: “Can you just fill up my water bottles, please?”

Him: Optimistic once again “Yep!”

Me: “I think I just don’t want to do almost 2 hours of hard work right now.” The little Sole Blocker voice of doubt got louder. “I just don’t know if I can do it.”….I stood silently weighing my 2 options: get it done now vs. 24 hours of anticipation.  “The weather is really good this morning, this is the day to do it.  I should really go.”  I continued to convince myself.  “If I go, I can be back around 8:45am and that’s still early enough to drink coffee outside quietly, right?”…..

Him: Lost in his own world, he kept preparing the water bottles at the sink. He was probably attending a parade where he was atop of a giant “You did it! You didn’t make her mad!” float. This is a really big float, pulled by a really big tractor.  I could tell he was probably throwing candy to all the children cheering for him.

Me: “Right???” Still no answers. I rolled my eyes and got dressed. Yes. I tell myself…yes.  Be back at 8:45am and drink coffee on the deck.  You will earn this…

The first mile went great. That’s only because I built some confidence by choosing to start on a longish downhill through the neighborhood.  Smart.  This is not bad.

Mile 2: What the {insert your word of choice here}? My right shin, left knee, right quad, glutes, and shoulders were tightening up. I started feeling a little restricted.  I hit a major hill and I had to walk. When I hastily mapped out my route I hadn’t remembered how long this hill was. I started the Galloway Method.  I walked for 30 seconds at the start of every song on my playlist.  I did this for about 3 songs. I could do this. This is not bad.

Mile 3: I started to loosen up and felt okay.  I actually said to myself, “This is going faster than I thought.”

Mile 4-6: Felt really good. I had a GU and fell into a groove.  I set small goals, walked a few times to catch my breath, and hydrated. This was going way better than expected.

Mile 7: My legs started to feel tired.  The started that heavy lead-like feeling. I had to really concentrate on picking them up off of the ground and moving them forward.

Mile 8: Well we all know how Mind Melt Mile 8 goes. All systems started breaking down.  First my legs, then my breathing, then my confidence.  I was at the track by this point giving my joints a break and it just felt rough. I stopped to stretch and gave myself a quick reprieve after this mile.

Mile 9: Heading home from the track and things fell back into their groove again. Though I had to walk up part of the massive hill back to my house, I felt great knowing that I was in the home stretch.  And when I looked at my phone, I realized I was going to be able to do “9 in the 90’s” (9 miles within 90-99 minutes).

The extra .3: I decided I really wanted to say to myself today “I finished a 15K” so I made a small loop around the block to finish up.  15K

I was really proud of myself for quieting my mind and just stepping outside to get it done.  I think the weather was the major factor for being able to finish this and feel good about it.  The temps were in the 60’s, the humidity as very low, and overall the air felt crisp and easy to breathe.  The conditions were perfect. I was better hydrated this week and that helped too.

I really tried to use this time to solve work problems and make a mental list of all the things I am thankful for.  Unfortunately those things didn’t happen. I have no idea what I thought about for those 96 minutes, I can only remember having some really weird daydreams.  During mile 3, I hallucinated that a cat was sitting on a bench in the front yard of a house.  I don’t know what was really on the bench, or if there even was a bench. But in my mind, there was a big fat tan cat on that bench that wanted to attack me.  I made a plan that if this cat were to attack my left arm, clawing and biting, I wouldn’t try to shake it free, I would put hand over it’s eyes and pinch it’s mouth open with my index finger and thumb so I could remove the jaws of death grip and throw it into the street.  I’d then run to the YMCA (this was the closest place for help) and ask for their First-Aid kit.  There. That was settled, I had a plan. Weird.

Somewhere between miles 5-6, probably because I was feeling awesome from my GU, I had a daydream that everyone in the 5:30am CrossFit class knew how to Latin dance.  And one morning, after a WOD, the entire crew broke out into a spicy dance party complete with Merengue and Salsa. Muy caliente!   My daydream ended right before our Argentine Tango dance off.  I think I got to a stoplight and had to pay attention.  Even weirder.

All of those weird thoughts aside, I think that I need to relearn to trust my body and trust the training.  Brick by brick I’m laying the foundation for a good race, even if it’s not all running.  Every WOD, every yoga class, every short run, every really bad longer run, every ice bath, every foam rolling session, every drink of water, every attempt at a healthy meal, and every playlist creation session, I’m building.  And I need to remember that it’s okay if I die when I’m done. At least I made it.

15K tired2

One step at a time!

-Mama K

About Soleful Mamas

Powered by sunshine and friendship, Soleful Mamas is half support group/half running club. Our tribe is committed to empowering women of all ages and abilities one mile at a time. We are committed to inspiring those around us to live stronger, healthier, and more confident lives through the power of running and adventure experiences. We’d love for you to join us!

We want all Mamas to know that as you blaze your trail of awesomeness, we’re with you every step of the way!

Leave a Reply