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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Training -- physically and mentally

Having spent the majority of my life terribly overweight trained my brain to compensate for things.  I'd try to hide under clothes or behind people in photos.  I'd convince myself that I couldn't do something before I'd even tried.  Some things in life were unavoidable (e.g. school tests, performance reviews, etc..) and my brain would immediately go to the worst case scenario.  Generally this meant I ended up in tears with Dan rolling his eyes saying "you always do this and everything works out" and he was usually right (yeah, I hate that too) but I never figured out how to change my brain so it didn't go full tilt negative.

No, this photo will NEVER get old
The reason I bring this up on the blog is because the same thing happened yesterday while I was out running with one of my favorite people in the world, Coach B.  There are some scheduling issues and I knew I wouldn't see her for over a month (gasp) so we decided to get together for a run yesterday.  As we headed out she told me to run whatever pace I felt comfortable and she'd hang with me.  We were planning on only running a little over 4 miles so I was cool with whatever.  The sun was shining with low humidity and I was running with someone who has provided me so much guidance and inspiration that I didn't really care what pace we were running.

Apparently my new shoes came with rocket boosters?
She was doing most of the talking with the occasional comment or question from me and I was having the most fabulous time.  She told me crazy stories and we joked about family vacations.  I honestly could not have been happier.  Right until I looked at my watch and noticed that we were running sub 9:XX/miles.  The only time I've run that fast was doing speed work before the Oshkosh half back in April and I was only running that speed for short bursts.  In the first mile I didn't pay much attention to my watch but I knew I was pushing hard.  I heard my Garmin beep when we'd gone a mile and briefly looked at it and thought wow - that was fast.  We kept moving along and when the second mile revealed an even faster time my brain kicked in and started to take over.

I ended up convincing myself that I needed a break.  Coach B agreed and we walked for a bit, started to run again when I complained of cramping and so we slowed our pace.  Was the cramping caused by dehydration again or was this a mind over muscle thing?  Maybe a little of both.

When we finished our run I asked Barbara what I should do next?  I had been really tempted to sign up for the Chicago half marathon in September but was worried about training over the summer.  She looked at me in that way that you know she's going to tell you something you probably don't want to hear but know you need to hear and told me I need to suck it up.  She told me that I need to push through my brain telling me that I can't do something because I can.  When I told her that my first 3 miles of the last half marathon were low 9:XX/miles and that I don't normally run that pace she looked at me and said, yes, but you can.

So during the summer I'm going to suck it up so that on September 8 I will be prepared to toe my fourth half marathon start line.  I have a training plan (and I love having a detailed plan) and a shiny new goal/PR in mind!

Are you training over the summer?  What races are on your calendar?


  1. Ahh, the mind is such a powerful thing! Good luck getting past your fears. I know it's tough; but you can do it! Look at what you've already done. This will be a piece of cake. :)

  2. Your first few sentences reminded me of when I was younger and a big (my dad said I was husky) and at school they brought us in the gym, had the guys take their shirt off and get checked for scoliosis or something by bending over. Now this was embarrassing as it got for me, nothing like being big and having other people laugh at you.. thanks school.. Look how far we've come though! (sorry flashback)

    I just found this yesterday -
    53 running commandments. This one stuck out for this post - 36. Don’t wait for perfect weather. If you do, you won’t run very often.

    You'll do great!
    I'm training for the Chicago Marathon, and doing the Rock and Roll half in July!