Milestone #1: Today I came to a bittersweet conclusion: we are at that pivotal point in the year when the kids have had enough summer vacation and it’s best for everyone involved (me) that they return to school pronto. Despite countless playdates, picnics, visits to the sprinkler park, pool, playground, zoo, etc., summer ennui is in full swing here. Things 1 and 2 are at each other’s throats like feral cats for the better part of each waking hour. Thing 1′s eyes seem to be stuck in the rolled-up-into-her-head position and any attempts at conversation with her are met with deep sighs and unintelligible mumbling. Thing 2 is holding her own with constant whining and daily demands for a new dress. School bus take them away!
Milestone #2: Today was the first day of this marathon training cycle that I actually started believing I can cover 26.2 in a timely fashion again. You’d think past performances would have bolstered my self-confidence by now but remember being hypercritical in one of my strong suits.
Chalk it up to last week’s strong tempo or Sunday’s solid 18, I think my head is finally rewrapped around this thing. Today’s speedwork was not for the for the faint of heart (IMO anyway): 2x1200m, 4x800m. But my newfound confidence would help me through right? Ha! I had no problem hitting goal pace on the 1200′s. But the 800′s were hard, I could barely run the first one any faster than I did the 1200′s. Halfway thru the 2nd 800 I was fading fast. By the final 800 I managed an Oscar-worthy performance of looking “normal” as I wheezed past some landscapers, hoping they wouldn’t call the paramedics. Preposterously hard. But why? Granted it was steamy and already 70 at 5:30am when I got out. . .residual fatigue from Sunday’s 18?. . .then it dawned on me. Since last Thursday I’ve made a concerted effort to clean up my diet. Meaning no more scarfing errant grilled cheese crusts, rejected pizza bits, a spoonful of mac n cheese here and there . . .whatever the kids leave behind I have a tendancy to dispose of down the gullet. This pathetic behavior came to an abrupt end last week and it may be far-fetched but I’m wondering if I’m a tad low on carbs? Maybe it’s time to rethink and retool that situation. One thing I know for sure, this too shall pass.
None other than Kara Goucher was in town to run Chicago’s Rock and Roll Half Marathon this weekend. Fleet Feet had an event Friday night where I could have gone to meet her and perhaps snag a photo op. Alas suburban mommyhood got in the way and I failed to make the trek downtown to one of my favorite, although faraway, running stores to see her.
But I can tell you, as if you don’t already know, that she rocked the R&R half, coming in first place overall and a whopping 13 minutes ahead of the second woman to achieve a blistering finish time of 1:08 and change.
During my post-run ice bath yesterday I happened upon Chicago Tribune’s interview with Kara Goucher that resonated with me. In it she admits she felt “dissed” two years ago when coach Alberto Salazar first suggested she switch to running the marathon. “It felt like Alberto was telling me ‘You’re not good enough’ Goucher said Friday”
The ‘you’re not good enough’ sentiment is one that rears it’s ugly head around here from time to time: when I was fired from a job eons ago, when I’m failing to hit my goal pace on some speedwork, when I’m gutting out those last couple of miles in a race and feel like I wanna die. . .you get the picture. Wouldn’t it be “easier” to just hang it up and try something else? Maybe but not so fast. Here’s what I do to keep pressing on:
1. It’s not personal. Sure it seems that way in the heat of the moment. But its far more productive to channel your energy and emotions in a positive direction. So acknowledge how you feel then move on.
2. Take whatever happened and learn from it. In the case of my job, I was stagnating in a dry as dust (to me) technical writing position that bored me out of my skull. In retrospect the kick in the pants out of there was a huge gift. Of course I went on to bigger and better. We all do.
3. Tweak, retool, reinvent. Identify something that you can improve upon and take simple steps to get there. My latest mission: Operation Build Endurance (OBE), spawned from my disatisfaction with my longer race results.
and finally my favorite and maybe the most important:
4. Persevere! Certainly it’s easier to hang it up. But who wants to be a quitter? The marathon is such a great metaphor for perseverence because of the long training commitment necessary. Certainly few of us rival Kara Goucher in terms of our running abilities. But setting goals and exercising the discipline needed to achieve them is infinitely rewarding on every level.
There you have it, my pep talk for the day!
Saturday Blanche and I spent an hour of quality road time together. It felt great to be up and out early. This is such a gorgeous time of year garden-wise!
Sunday’s 18-miler went well! No picnic by any means but I managed to hit my stretch pace goal! Weather conditions were perfect, 57 and clear when I got out. My fuel belt felt heavy starting out, I felt like Juan Valdez of Columbian coffee fame’s burro. I ignored my body’s first weak objections at mile 10, then ran strong until mile 16 my feet said “What you talk about Willis?” I pressed on though and got it done, very even splits too. My notorious toenail is angry once again, we’ll see if it decides to fall off this time. It did after Grand Rapids but not after Boston. Go figure.