Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lightening up to Hit a Goal

On March 30, 2014, roughly six weeks from now, I will be lining up to start my 16th Half Marathon, The Love Run in Philly. Due to an extremely cold and snowy last several weeks with a side of the flu, my training program was seriously derailed. I mean seriously derailed. This is not helped by the fact that I have a love hate relationship with the treadmill. Meaning I love the concept of getting training miles in without having to brave the cold, ice and wind, but after about four miles I feel like a hamster. At some point on my treadmill runs the Oingo Boingo song “Running on a treadmill after you” starts playing through my mind no matter what music I splaying on my iPod.
As one week of not training gave way into another week of not training and so on until I was looking at almost four weeks without any solid training. I began to feel depressed about losing all the off-season ground work I had carefully laid down in preparation for my winter training. The seeds of doubt were germinating and taking over, dark storm clouds were closing in on my training horizon. Yes, after completing fifteen half marathons and one marathon over the last eleven plus years, I was doubting myself. I toyed with the idea of bailing on the race, even checked out the deferral policy.
Somewhere from deep down within me a voice said “oh not so fast kiddo! You are not bailing on this one! Get your butt back on the training program and make these six weeks count.” So Sunday afternoon I found myself pulling into the gym parking lot and stepping back on the treadmill. The first mile was tough, my legs protesting by triggering aches and pains from nonuse to throw me off. Eventually muscle memory took over and the next three miles became smoother, not easy but smoother. I still run up against a wall at about the four mile mark on the treadmill, but I will take it. Monday’s workout went even better. I guess by acknowledging the fact that I got off course was enough to get me out of the quitting funk.
I posted on Facebook that I was feeling determined, with the status of “It is buckle down time... 6 weeks out until the half marathon... And I am behind in my training. Love Run I will be ready!!!! The encouragement I got from several sources was just enough wind to fill my sails. My cousin, who is a seasoned marathoner, provided encouragement and the verbal smack I needed to eliminate those seeds of doubt, “You have so much experience that you'll ramp to where you need to be very quickly.” and “You just get back to routine and you'll start feeling better quickly. Good luck. I'll be cheering you on.” I like to think that I am a pretty good lone warrior, but I am slowly realizing that yes, even I, sometimes need a village to remind me that all is not lost and if I lighten up a bit, the goal may just come back into to focus.
My goal you may ask? Originally it was to break the sub three hour finish mark (I generally power walk the half marathons). I have been inching closer and closer to doing that with each half marathon I complete. In order to bust through the 3 hour finish mark, it means adding running into the mix. The transition from power walking to running is not as easy as one may suspect.  Now that I am making my way back on track and feeling happier, I have lightened up my goal. My goal now is to complete the half, have fun (not injure myself) and set a personal best, even if it means that my first sub 3 hour finish must wait for the next half marathon on my schedule.