The topic is race recovery. I am going into a new season, with a new-ish foot…and I can no longer live on yesterday’s accomplishment or training regiments, as I am now a different runner. Many times, I think about the 10 min paces I kept only a year or so ago…pre marathon pacing…and, I wish I could do that again. However, after a Summer of casts and boots and walking…I am simply a different runner.
- “I don’t have a choice.” – I can use the excuse that I’m old. I’m heavier. I have a broken foot…so therefore I have no choice but to accept my present circumstances. This is a lie. I have a choice. I’m heading to lift weights and have made a commitment to cross train every other day. This week, my commitment is 3 miles, every other day. No stopping. I do have a choice. I can re-tool my training.
- “Training is easy.” – Once you accept that training will be difficult, you can face any plan. I have trained for 5 marathons to date, and there comes a point in the plan where you are just running. All the time. It doesn’t matter if you lose your job or you have a romantic glitch with your mate…you have to keep it up every day. And, this is the rub…if you DON’T, then your RACE is difficult. I have skipped workouts, and on race day beat myself up for allowing that day I slept in, instead of laced up. Training is not easy.
- “The way it is now is the way it will always be.” –This is most difficult for me. I have certain walls I hit in each marathon. And, I sort of fight with myself around mile 18. But, I don’t have to have this. I can build in an emotional component next race…whereby I will have trained my brain for the fight. It can happen.
- “The sky is falling.” – I have about a million posts about bad runs. Times when I’ve thrown my shoes. When I collapsed on the ground. Got all dramatic about how much of a crap runner I am. Truth is, these are the runs that shaped me. I’ve talked a lot about that here. These are the runs that you rely on when the going gets tough.
- “Everyone else is doing better than me.” – I think this is one of the most ruinous thoughts for runners. For a long time, I was comparing myself to 25 and 35 year olds. And, of course I was coming up short. I thought, “I don’t have enough drive, or enough passion.” It always ended with me feeling less than. I was comparing my insides with their outsides. Truth is, I’m 53. I can compare myself with other 50 year olds (as is done on race day), but really, my life is mine. I compare myself with me, and I am okay.
- “That’s unrealistic.” –”Doesn’t it seem a bit unrealistic to be able to walk into a dark space, hit a switch, and instantly fill the entire space with light? Fortunately Thomas Edison didn’t think so.” (quote) As an older runner, when I hear the noise that I have to give up running already because of my foot or my age, I think…no. When I started training for my first marathon at age 50, I didn’t know it was too old. I would hear people remark about my age, and I thought…really?
- “I wish.” – You cannot have a 4:30 marathon if you don’t put in the work. I’m a 6:00 marathoner. I’ve accepted this. I can’t wish for a faster time, unless I will train for it. If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. I have to stop living in fantasy land. Do the work, and accept the reality of your training.
- “It’s too late.” – Never. It’s never too late. I will run, and continue to train until I can no longer. It’s not too late to race an ultra. If that’s what I want (I don’t). I do have a little fantasy. To run the Dipsea. It’s not too late, and to prove it, I have on my calendar the day I must enter. It’s not too late to grab my running dreams.
- “I can’t.” – Fall down 8, get up 9. Or something like that. I am thinking this weekend of my friends running CIM. All week we’ve been talking about how bad the weather will be. And, I’m glad I didn’t know how bad LAMarathon 2011 (aka Monsoon Marathon) was going to be. I certainly would not have chosen to run, either. But, you get in a situation like that and you really have no choice. “I can’t” becomes “I must”…you have to forge forward. So it’s not “I can’t”…it’s, “I won’t”. You are no longer a victim, and you absolutely can…you just chose not to.
- “This situation couldn’t get any worse.” – Yes. Yes, it can get worse. You can get injured, or lose a job or a mate…it can get worse. As a runner, accepting how bad it can be, is really very healing. I remember the time that Kim and I ran in 85 degree weather, and she had no water. We got out about 8 miles, and it was apparent that she either get water, or get sick. We had one bottle between the two of us, and I gave her mine. I ran a little way longer and found an orange tree, so I got hydration that way. Later, my pink top had the ravages of blood on it, and I was down on the ground resting. A car came by and asked if I was okay. I wasn’t. It was stupid. I finally got to the Shell station, and called her to come get me (she was home already). It can get worse, but the lesson is always to be prepared!
The thoughts I must leave in the past…they hold me back. Running is my love, my salve…and re-tooling my thinking is as important as any physical race plan.
*Idea taken from Marc & Angel Hack Life