January and February were very dark months. Not only due to the obvious lack of daylight and uncomfortable amount of cold but I was in a schlump. I was stressed with work stuff and family stuff and friend stuff and so instead of turning to my running shoes for comfort, I found comfort in curry and my couch. Melted cheese and glasses of wine. I would drag my butt out for a run or two but nothing consistent and nothing too difficult. I’d claim to be getting back on the wagon but that didn’t really happen for very long either. My head was too many places. It wasn’t pretty but at the time I didn’t really care.
Since August I have been running in the mornings 4-5 times a week. I should be in amazing shape however I’m running with 40-60 girls who while lovely in their own ways, take up more energy than the actual workouts. It’s been fantastic running with them and coaching them and getting to know them and seeing them improve but I’m starting to become anxious to get this season finished.
I miss my alone time. Running for me is about so much more than exercise. It’s about processing and breathing and getting my head in the right place before the day begins. It’s about being in tune with my body and what my body can do and should be able to do. It’s about getting myself grounded before the day begins.
When I’m not coaching, I actually do the 4:44am thing which is earlier than my coaching wake up call at 5:21 but I find I’m way more tired with this coaching thing. From before 7am I have the little voices asking me all sorts of things and it doesn’t stop until I’m tucked back into my hobbit hole of an apartment at the end of the day. I’m not complaining, I’m just noticing that it’s starting to drain on me. But the season is fairly short and we’re in the final stretch so I know it will all right itself.
I have learned so much from coaching and am forever grateful for the opportunity to do it. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about my students, myself and running. I am now in the process of setting my own personal goals and trying to figure out what’s next for me in terms of running and races and all of that fun stuff. I’ve been able to witness the excitement of meets and actually, right now I’m in Guam for a tournament. All good things but I’m also happy that the season is short.
I am so looking forward to November 5th when at 5 am it will just be me and my running shoes.
Hanging in my parent’s basement is a calendar. My dad put it there. He uses it to keep track of the many miles he runs each month. The calendar has been blank since April. You see he, the man who has been a healthy runner for as long as I can remember, has become very sick. About 18 months ago he had a non-cancerous brain tumour removed. He miraculously recovered from that and we spent Christmas running together, for the first time. We ran lots of miles, he and I, talked about many significant and insignificant things and I loved (almost) every minute of it. I planned to return to Canada for a bit this summer and continue to run with him as he added miles to the calendar.. but that was not to be.
Once upon a time I had a friend who was going through a really difficult time. She felt like something was inherently wrong with her and so she went to get help. She was looking forward to getting some profound insight into her problems and difficulties but she came back somewhat disappointed. The counselor told her: eat breakfast, put on your running shoes and eat a multi vitamin.
So often our seemingly complex problems actually require very simple solutions. It’s nice when it works out that way.
Other times our complex problems really are indeed very complex and there are no immediate solutions. There are only small things we can do to get through each day.
Currently I am facing something rather large and out of my control and so naturally, I am looking for big, powerful, mind blowing solutions and answers that I cannot get on my own. Nothing I can do can fix this situation. I can’t find the cure for cancer, heck, I can’t even figure out how the gears on my bike work…
So what can I do to combat this feeling of helplessness? I can take care of the smaller details in my life… the ones that I can fix and I can control. I can focus on simple tasks and duties that if I do, I can more easily let go and trust God with the big stuff.
For me, this means that I need to tend to my heart and mind every single day. I tend to wake up feeling pretty sad and overwhelmed, I’ve written about this before. But instead of giving in to those feelings, I can turn them around by praying, reading the Bible and filling my mind with Christ’s words.. usually set to music. If I make sure that I spend time every day getting myself calmed down and focused, I am much stronger during the day.
On a more practical level, I need to make sure I’m exercising every day. It helps nothing to eat and drink as much as I want. I find that once I get outside, get those feet hitting the pavement, get my heart rate up, I’m much more alive and stronger in my body.. which transfers to my mind. I like the world more on the days I run. Simple solutions.
Now if only I could find a decent multi-vitamin.
A year ago, I ran my first ever 10K but this post isn’t really about that…
Around kilometre 19 of my first half marathon (3 weeks ago) I really considered packing the whole running thing in and never putting on my running shoes again. I regained a bit of oomf and made it to the finish but I must say that a part of me left my runner’s heart back there at Kilometre 19.
After surviving my first half I really had problems getting back into running. I took some days off (mainly because I could hardly walk) and tried to stretch and pep talk myself back into wanting to run again. It was tricky. I went for three measly runs, varying in unimpressive lengths.. 3km, 5km, 6.5 km. Each run feeling sluggish and pretty darn awful. I wondered if I’d ever get my groove back.
When I woke up Saturday morning, I checked the weather hoping for rain. I did not want to run the charity 10K that I had signed up for months ago. But I had friends there and I knew I probably should. You can just quit after 5K, I told myself and that was my secret plan.
I got to the Registration table, got my number and free t-shirt and proceeded to psych myself up. I would be able to do it. I could talk myself into it. Actually, once I got going It wasn’t very hard at all. It was a completely beautiful day! Bright sun, blue skies, warm but not too hot. My friends were all in high spirits and it just felt like a good day.
And so I started to run… I decided to use my trusty 10/1 interval medley and off I went. And you know what? It felt great! It was fun! My pace was consistent and I felt strong. I remembered and appreciated all of the energy during races and loved being part of the whole thing. I had friends waiting for me at the finish and cheering me on and that’s just a great feeling!
I had told myself that I’d just run for fun and hopefully not be too much longer than an hour but I finished in 57 minutes which I’m happy about. But what I’m really happy about is what happened somewhere around Kilometre 7: I started to love running again!
Well I did it! I completed my first half marathon!