Blogging is hard.
Well, blogging regularly is hard. My coach and I have challenged each other to a 30-day blogging type of deal. (Visit her blog, it’s way funnier than mine and also her adorable baby girl is prominently featured.) It’s been a while since I’ve written here. I’m pretty good at the stop-and-start of writing, but not so much the styling and finalizing. I was terrible at writing the “conclusion” paragraph in our neat little MLA-styled essays in school – knowing ahead of time that I was bad at writing that part made it hard to even start. I’ve also been in a bit of a running funk for a little while, which has made for some pretty uninteresting blogging. (Read: grumpy blogs are not okay.)
Turns out it gets pretty hot in Texas during the summer, so suddenly all that good training I felt like I was doing turned into a series of epic bitchfests in which I felt like I was Usain Bolt but was really running eleven minute miles (really, if I was lucky). Going for a casual run transformed into this huge endeavor of planning just the right time to go outside without instantaneously melting, loaded down with water and Tailwind like some weird Texas version of an Everest sherpa. What was once easy (logistically) became harder than I expected, and with what seemed like very little payoff.
I didn’t really train a whole lot last summer. Or at least, I wasn’t training for anything in particular – I was running when I felt like it, and not running particularly long. I was mostly just running for general fitness, weight loss, and to keep up my score on the Navy PT test (I finally obtained my long-time goal of scoring an “outstanding” on the run portion that cycle). It was easy. I didn’t start “training” until around late October or November (can’t remember exactly) when I decided to sign up for Nueces as my first 50k and took on a most wonderful coach.
Having a coach really changed running for me. I felt accountable to someone else at that point, and was definitely running the most organized and serious running plan I had ever done as a runner. I had Nueces as my goal and I was seeing improvement all the time. In a way, training back then felt different. I’ve asked myself several times lately if maybe the motivation just isn’t there and that’s why a lot of running has seemed like suffering lately. It’s hard to feel motivated when you don’t feel like you’re improving because the weather just turns everything on its head. I’ve never been competitive with anyone but myself, so when I start to feel like I can’t even compete with myself, I get a bit discouraged. Nueces went by, then Brazos Bend went by, and there was a bit of a lull there where I wasn’t really training for anything in particular. The idea of doing Cactus Rose 50 miler was kicked around, but even to this day I still haven’t registered.
50 miles? Me? That’s insane. If I went outside right now and started running (it’s 1135) I’d get barely a handful of miles and feel like I wanted to die, easily. All the poor performance really filled me with self-doubt that really kind of kept me from committing to anything. Even though the weather has been my major source of ire lately, the piss-poor attitude that it brought along with it was really the biggest cause of my suffering. (But also the heat and humidity. They’re not getting off scott-free while I’m around.) I’m sure you’ve seen all the inspiring quotes about pain being inevitable but suffering being optional. I was doing a lot of lingering on my decreased performance and suffering because I was stuck there in that attitude for a long time (well, like a month or two).
Weirdly, I really feel like what grabbed me and pulled me out of this rut was CrossFit. I was in a kind of bad place at this point; skipping a lot of runs/workouts, doing a lot more sitting around, eating a lot more ice cream, feeling fat and out-of-shape because I was on the verge of puking/collapsing every time I went outside and ran for more than three seconds. Not really a great place to be. Going back to CrossFit regularly helped me get back into a routine and kind of made me realize…hey, I’m not a completely useless limp noodle. I think it’s impossible for anyone to deadlift 305 pounds (new PR, whoop whoop) and then go “Damn, I’m so out of shape.” I guess it turns out I’m alright at CrossFit – I mean, I’m also bad at a lot of it (toes-to-bar!), but still – and am not out of shape in the slightest.
So I guess this blog post is mostly an explanation of where I’ve been, and what I’ve been doing. Not really full of any major insight. Still not running super fast, but I’m getting better (despite everything).
(Dude I’m going to be so fast when it gets cold again.)
I’ve got some goals to keep me going. (60 days until the marathon.) Mostly I’m just trying to enjoy what I’m doing. Suffering is optional.