This post has a very limited number of "half-full glasses"
Proceed with caution...
I'm pretty transparent when it comes to how I'm feeling about things. Not just about running and training, but about life in general. I'm a "wear my emotions on my sleeve" kind of person. Some people would say that I'm "pessimistic" (or any other synonym that comes to mind). But I like to think of myself as being realistic, objective and authentic; i.e. "What you see is what you get" and I'm pretty unapologetic about that.
With that in mind, I wanted to start the post with the warning and disclaimer above because I'm having some doubts about my running and training. This post isn't meant to be a negative venting session, but rather a reflection on the emotions I'm struggling with right now. I know a lot of runners struggle with their training from time to time, and many of the bloggers I follow discuss their struggles on their post. I also know I've talked about my own struggles on previous posts. This one will be no different, except for the fact that I gave the warning in the beginning. The post will end on a somewhat positive note though so you can either stick around and read through it all or skip ahead to the end (it's up to you).
I ran this morning. It was a 6 mile run with one of my running friends Andy. And we took a route that I liked and the weather was good. We started early (5:30am) so the sun wasn't an issue. We stuck to our intervals (2:1s) for the entire duration. My knee felt tight and I had a burning sensation to the outside of my knee (which I know is tendonitis to my ITB) but it wasn't horrible. The pace was a typical "slow and steady" pace based on the intervals we were doing (an average of 13 mins/mile). So apart from my knee and the pace, the run was good. I finished the 6 miles knowing I could probably run longer if I needed to. So what's the problem? Well, the problem is I didn't finish it feeling confident. A lot of things went
well reasonably well considering my knee isn't 100% yet; but I still want to feel confident about my running and running ability. And right now I don't...
Last night I was talking to one of Gail's friends (Gail is my sister-in-law and her friend is Sharon) and I was explaining my training schedule and telling Sharon about the races I did last year. In doing so I also talked about Chicago (of course; my first full marathon finds its way into
most all of my conversations #arunnerslife). I told her that the most painful part of the race was the blisters. When I described how big they were (and how painful, and that they were filled with blood) she said "I'm not seeing how this is fun for you". It's hard to convince someone that running is fun when what stands out the most are all the painful parts :(
Don't get me wrong, I LOVE running. I really do. It has been my outlet and the road to clarity and self discovery over the past 2.5 years. It has allowed me to find peace in very difficult life changing situations. It has allowed me to rediscover a sense of happiness that alluded me for years. It has helped me to be focused and disciplined and given me a sense of confidence that I'd lost for a long time. But, despite all those things that "fill my glass", I still struggle because running is hard for me.
I know I'm not the only one that finds running challenging. And I also know I'm not the only one that battles injuries and blisters and loses toenails etc. I'm not the only one that struggles. And though many people give up on running at the first sign of a struggle, I've never quit...
I don't have a picture of what my actual feet look like, but this is a pretty accurate depiction of how they look after a long run. Minus the ballet shoes of course ;)
I wish I was joking about the state of my feet, but I'm not. And if you think the picture is painful to look at just try and imagine how painful my feet must feel. Not fun at all. But despite the fact that I will forever be a "closed-toe shoe" kind of girl, I continue to run because I love running. I really do (and I'm not just saying that to convince myself ;) ).
The road less traveled is the one that is hard; the one that brings you the most pain. But it's also the one on which you find yourself and discover what you're capable of. It's where you realize that injuries (after the mandated period of rest by a trained & licensed medical professional) won't stop you; blisters won't stop you; never being able to date someone with a foot fetish won't stop you (which is not entirely a bad thing by-the-way). It's where you discover that you're unstoppable. This road and this journey is where I've discovered that I AM UNSTOPPABLE. Because I struggle, and fall, and rip my compression pants, and get blisters, and have to donate all my sandals to Goodwill, and spend too much money on physical therapy co-payments; but through all of that I refuse to stop running...
I could spend just as much time talking about the struggles I have with my pace and feeling like I'm slowing down instead of getting faster. But #1 that might exceed the word count of this blog post; #2 I talk about my pace enough on my regular blog posts. Instead I'll leave you with this:
Running may hurt...
But it also heals.
My goals may be a dream...
But one day they'll be real.
My feet may be slow...
But they've carried me here.
Running may hurt...
But I have nothing to fear.
~This Is My Faster
Don't let anything stop you from pursuing your dream. Even when it hurts; even when you struggle. If you want it, fight for it.
How do you deal with struggles and set-backs in your training?
What's the one thing that you struggle with the most?
What's the one thing that makes the struggle worthwhile?