And that's where I am; stuck between inspired and "are you kidding me?!" But from what I have gathered, this is all part of the training process. The evolution from a non-runner to a runner is a long road of excuses, struggles, and finding courage to get out there and do something. It took a long time to realize that running, for me, had a lot more to do with courage than physical ability. I needed to find the courage to go out in public and walk, run, walk, gasp, stop, and keep running. That's a really scary thing when so often the runners you see in your life seem to be effortlessly sprinting through finish lines and racking up miles. Now that I've actually been running, however, I know that like life in general, every runner is fighting their own battle and working on their own struggle. Comparing them is pointless since my problem is not the same as someone else's.
So far through this process, I've been through the...
I think I can do this.
SIGN UP FOR ALL THE RACES!
....holy shit, I can't do this....
Why am I doing this to myself?!
And finally back to the, "Maybe...I can do this."
It is not just about struggles though - it's about celebrating victories too. Easier said than done, but it takes courage to get over the voice that diminishes the things you do. "Proud to run a mile? Pfft...who can't run a mile?," the voice in my head says. Well, I couldn't before and now I can. Who gives a flip what other people are able to do or not able to do. That doesn't diminish my success. It has taken 8 months of running to get over that and I'm sure its not the last time I'll think about it.
It blows my mind how much of a mental game running is. You'd think, well...just run and don't stop, but its so much more than that. When I first started running, I'd put on music and head to the track since, well - that's where you run right? A track? Turns out, lap after painfully boring lap and I was losing my mind. Every time Map My Run would chime through my music, "0.35 miles, 3 minutes" "0.65 miles, 7 minutes" "1.02 miles, 13 minutes" I'd lose a little bit more hope and I'd start crunching numbers.
Numbers, numbers, numbers.
I KNOW this about myself. Numbers = anxiety. On the scale, on clothing tags, and apparently on the track. Numbers give me tunnel vision and make my mind race. Music didn't help - I could tune it right out. Why do I torture myself then?
Yesterday, I had a break through. I don't care if it sounds lame, it was a damn break through. I turned off the voice on Map My Run (aside from the time so I could run/walk intervals), got off the track, and changed out my high energy cardio music for, get this, an audio book.
I ran 4.5 miles in 55 minutes when it was 85* outside. My splits were decent (except for the awful hill I came across in mile 3!) and I FELT GREAT. That is a full mile further than I have ever run in my entire life. Sure, there were parts that sucked, but at no point did I think about stopping. Also, I'd like to point out that this was the longest, uninterrupted thing I have done for myself in a very, very long time. I know the Moms out there can appreciate that.
And I'm back - I can do this. I know it won't be the last time through this thought cycle, but I have a 6 mile race on Saturday, August 9th and right now I KNOW I CAN DO IT.
I've run almost 8 miles this week and plan to run another 3-4 tomorrow evening. The 6 miler is in less than a month and my half is in 9 weeks. I have a lot of miles ahead of me, but its not like I'm doing them all at once. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. How do you train for a half marathon? One step at a time.