There are definitely 2 types of steps I’m talking about here. The steps that take you along the path of commitment to a goal, and the physical steps I’m taking on each run. Both equally difficult right now. I’m aware that I go through this each December. The hustle and bustle of the holiday seasons are tough on the training schedule. Mental demands of fighting store crowds, juggling family visits, fending off illnesses, and managing three kids at home that are bored every 10 seconds; I get it, the steps are hard work. But I like hard work, I tell myself. This should be such a rough experience. It’s true, I enjoy challenges and hard work except for the times when I don’t…..and I want to bail on everything. This is one of those times.
Yesterday I beat myself up all morning for not going to CrossFit, for not going for a run, for not going to the Y to meet Mama C for a swim. You name it, I was feeling guilty and frustrated with myself about it. My cute little mug from my neighbor summed things up perfectly.
At about 2pm it hit me. It was a little windy, but it was 61 degrees outside, a rare gem of a day for Pennsylvania in late December. How can you not take advantage of this? I questioned myself. I desperately tried to ignore the question question that my feet were asking my brain. As I sat at the kitchen table eating a late lunch of chicken nuggets and day old, reheated crispy crowns dipped in hot sauce and ranch dressing, I asked Charlotte how her track practice went this morning. She said it went well; it was tough and she was so hot. So hot…….. “Yeah, I should probably go for a run since it’s so warm today.” I responded. She agreed, told me to get out there and wear short sleeves. That thought was kinda exciting. “But I washed my hair already today for my appointment this morning. I don’t really want to do that again.” She rolled her eyes at me and left the table as if she’s the only one in the house that’s allowed to have lame excuses to get out of doing things. Seriously though, that’s a whole lotta hair. There’s only 2 hours left of daylight and I am eating now so therefore my food won’t be fully digested and my stomach will probably hurt if I run without following proper digestion protocol. Another lame excuse. Thankfully, that one stayed in a thought bubble.
I told myself 3pm. Get out there at 3pm. That’ll give you an hour before the sun starts setting. Just do 2 miles. 20 minutes. You can do anything for 20 minutes. I became frustrated with the song and dance I have to do to convince myself to do something I enjoy doing… just go outside and go on a quick run. I wished I was disciplined enough so that I could tell myself to get up and run at 6am and just do it. I’m annoyed with myself that I literally have to treat myself like one of my kids. The bribing and negotiating is exhausting. If I spent all that energy just being happy with another opportunity to put on my running shoes, my entire run would likely be a better experience. But instead I continue to be an ungrateful little slug about it.
3pm came and I wasn’t quite ready yet. I anxiously tried to create another lame excuse as to why it wasn’t a good time. I was so close to bailing, but I saw my new beautiful butterfly wing Ink N Burn tights that my husband bought for me for Christmas. I should really test those out. It would be rude if I didn’t. I reluctantly pulled on the tights and started down the path of negative self talk. Those don’t look good on you. You need to lose 20 pounds. You NEED to do more than 2 miles…..the Sole Blockers started to take over and then I felt really bad. I looked in the mirror, closed my eyes, and took a deep breath. You are strong, your legs carry you far, you are good enough. I quieted the ugly Sole Blockers with everything I had. It was tiring.
Just keep moving toward the door. Don’t listen to anything or anyone. Just get out the door.
Surprisingly, I made it over the threshold and into the sunshine. Immediately I questioned my insanity and wondered why I was so unmotivated. The bright sky was amazing. Smiles! I’m smiling!
I set out with a plan to get 3 in, but wasn’t going to beat myself up if I did 2 and came home. My secret goal was 5, but I wasn’t prepared with water so I wasn’t sure how I was going to work that out. I got through my regular half mile to a mile warm up period where everything feels horrible and tight and I’m not sweaty enough yet so my pants sort of slip down, and my music isn’t just right… You know how the warm up goes… Almost half way through and my heels hurt and my calves were still tight. My hamstrings screamed at me as I ran up the tiniest of hills. I felt like I couldn’t get into a groove with my breathing, it was really hard work. I began to worry about the marathon and started to question my ability to go the distance when I could barely get to 3….damn Sole Blockers. I went to my “go to” strategy when I feel like I want to stop all the time: I changed my route to run on heavily trafficked roads. If I run on the sidewalk and I know that cars are passing me I don’t stop because people are watching. It’s vain, I know. But it works for me.
All in all, I made it through a 5K around town and I was pleasantly surprised with my stats. Mile 2 was a 9:23 pace which I was really excited about and wasn’t expecting. I have no idea where or how I got to an 8:13 min/mile pace and I’m sure it was for a maximum of a 10th of a mile, but that is just fine with me.
Today I woke up, once again, completely unmotivated and wondering why I’m struggling to keep my momentum going. The viscous cycle was starting over again and for no reason! I texted my fellow Mama K about my worries about the marathon and my body being able to handle the mileage. She responded so perfectly, as she always does:
“You will be great! It’s always harder alone. Remember those 7 miles last week were fine even with snow and slush? We will knock out these 8 this weekend and get your confidence back up.”
I was skeptical, but I accepted her answer. I don’t even remember anything about that 7 miles other than my feet hurting for the last 2 miles. Good grief! I’m being buried alive under my negativity. But it ends now…..
I opened up my Garmin app and looked at my stats again from yesterday.
I refreshed my memory of my job well done.
I RSVP’d to Mama C’s invitation to go for an easy swim (read: swim for 15 minutes then sit in the hot tub for 20).
I am blocking the noise in my head and pressing on, reminding myself that it’s the only way to get closer to the goal.
And now, I’m ready to stuff myself into my swimsuit and cap.
Keep moving forward,
– Mama K