run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Head Case

I've been doing weekly recaps of my training, but I think it's time to assess where my head is at during all this.

My head. Most of the time.

First of all, I just want to say that running is a big part of my life, but it's not what defines me. So, while this post is probably going to sound all WOE IS ME and depressing (while simultaneously sounding entitled and bratty, fun times ahead, y'all!), I'm only talking about running here. I am wildly happy with my life right now and I think in this case, having a history of depression is helpful in that I can realize that in the grand scheme of things... this shit doesn't really matter.

Also, I'm not looking for comments of how awesome I am (a little presumptous of me to think that I might get those, I guess. haha). I'm not really looking for anything in return. I just want to take a moment to express some of my mental roadblocks that come with training and racing.

A few years ago, I ran any and every race I wanted. I ran a few 50Ks, marathons back to back, I trained haphazardly and I didn't give a shit about what my times were. I ran because I could. It was fun! I was happy!

And then I decided to TRAIN for once. I spent about 4 months working with Coach for the first time and I unexpectedly pulled out a HUGE PR in the half marathon. And the high from that, the sense of accomplishment and the wide eyed sensation of... "Oh my god, what else can I do???" struck and I got addicted. I used to just be addicted to running and now I'd become addicted to improving.

 Yes. There it is.

And it's been great. I think it's a good place to be. I enjoy pushing myself and training for something other than just not dying or falling off the side of a mountain during a race.

But, here's the deal... I've been chasing after the same goal for awhile now. I've strung together some really good training cycles and after each one of those I've had disappointing marathons (4 times in a row now, for those of you keeping track). And while in the end I know that those training cycles aren't going to waste, they just got rolled into the next training cycle, it does kill a little chunk of my spirit each time. No matter how little pressure I try to put on myself, there is sense of disappointment there when I fail to reach my goal (no matter how lofty/delusional my goal was). 

It feels kinda like this.
Minus the adorable-ness.

I struggle with low self esteem when it comes to running. Like REALLY low. I feel infinitely inferior, because, I don't know... I feel like BQing  shouldn't be all that fucking hard. Particularly, if you actually PUT THE TIME into training. Granted, my legs and head weren't always the ones denying me... my stomach killed my dreams at most of those failed races. But, each time I say that I'm going to use that disappointment to my advantage and train hard and get after it, and I do the work and then I come up short again. I just feel like a complete and utter and a teensy bit melodramatic failure.

I try easing up on myself. Reminding myself of how far I've come: I've shaved an hour off my marathon time; I've been PRing in marathons despite not having the best days. I try finding inspiration in those around me... The KoB is the hardest working, most dedicated runner I know, The Bitches take their running seriously and put in the time and the work, and I read a lot of blogs of runners who's hard work pays dividends. And, I hate to talk about this, because it makes me seem like a whiny little bitch. But, coming up short time after time takes its toll, ya know?

I keep plugging along because it's something I really want and I know that eventually I'll get there and then I'll make a new goal and start the process all over again. But, I also know that if there were a way that I could flip the switch of feeling like a shitty, slow ass runner into feeling like a scrappy, hungry runner who hasn't reached their full potential, that I'd probably run better in general. BUT HOW DO I DO THAT????

Anyway, I just want to run a marathon and feel like it was the best I could do based on my training. I guess that's what we all want, I just wish the universe could throw me a fucking bone once in awhile. Until then... I'll just keep running and writing insufferable blog posts.


Dolly said...

Girlfriend I feel your pain! The marathon is such a tricky bastard. The training cycle is soul crushing. If you fuck it up on race day you can't just be "well I'll try again next weekend".
Not to mention how fucking expensive marathons are now a days. I sound like an old fart but, I remember when a marathon only cost $75.00 to register at the Expo the day before the race. Now they cost twice as much because there has to be entertainment on the course!

I could write a novel about this topic but, then it would be all about me.....

I say switch it up and really go after your half marathon PR.

I'm trying to do that right now.

Also have a baby or two, that helped light a fire under my ass to get back into shape. (I'm kidding)

Gracie said...

Oh, I hear ya. The closer I get to my actual, natural ability, the harder it is to PR. I used to PR at, like, every race. Now it's work, and I get injured. What fun is that?
My advice: after this race, move down to the 10k or 5k. Whole new set of goals, and give your brain a break.

René said...

I third the motion to add in some smaller, shorter races. It can build confidence.