Thursday, July 26, 2012

Simmer over Low Heat for 700 Miles

"The only way we can improve is to change the stresses on our body..."  

One of my favorite MTT Coaches, Coach Black, says this to me on a regular basis.  He's right.  You want to get faster? Stronger? Add Endurance?  Well, you need to train to get faster, or stronger, or to add endurance.  And if you're always training at the same level your body will adapt, resulting in no improvement.  Now, certainly, we wouldn't try to change everything at once...  it would add stress of another kind.

And of course, in these insightful coaching exchanges, it only takes a tiny leap to get from there to here...
 "The only way we can improve in life is to change...."

I have ~like practically everyone I know these days~ set down on the path for the marathon with Sports Backers Marathon Training Team again.

For me registering for the marathon is like going out with an old flame.  It’s familiar, and new, all at the same time.  The ~um~ soup is still hot, and because we’re starting again after a long break it could even be called fresh.  I'm more comfortable now, able to enjoy the months leading up to the race, because I don’t have all the nerves that go with doing it for the first time. ~awkward soup~

...I might be off topic...

The thing is, my relationship with Marathoning has changed in the last 2800 miles.

For my first marathon, I went into the training FULL STEAM on FIRE...The thing about heat at those temperatures is that you can't maintain it.  Marathoning is about a controlled burn, not a flash in the pan.  I fizzled toward the end of training.  

By my 3rd experience with the 700+ mile commitment that a marathon requires I was feeling like an old hand.  And yet, it was still a bit like the first one. Only with less sanity and WAY more hype...  "Yeah, I am running ahead of the mileage, but..." I could justify it...  I could justify anything.  I was an addict.

I was intense.  
I was on FIRE.  
I was going to be EPIC.  
I was... 
...sick on race day.  

It was an amazing lesson on how you cannot control the un-controlable factors.  It was also the day that I learned that Marathoners should probably stand in a circle before every long run and say the serenity prayer.

Lately I've taken a much calmer approach to marathon training.  I turned the heat down.  I've taken such a calm approach that I'm wondering if I've severely over corrected...

And then I think, why worry?

I'm moving forward, I'm pushing my body to places I never imagined it could go, and I'm definitely stronger.  I don't need to get faster.  I can already run fast.  I need to train myself to hold the pace for longer miles.

I just need to settle into a routine and stress a little less about the things I can't control.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

So Happy ToGether!

I've been under some new stress this year.  

Not all running related, but some of it is...  I have come to realize that I put huge amounts of pressure on myself to perform.  To be Galactically BadA**.  To Not Suck.  To not....  disappoint my coaches.  

Weird, right?  

Not sure what they would say about that.  Still, that pressure leads to fear and anxiety.  It's lead to my not enjoying my running as much.  It's not their fault, I don't blame the ones I love for my fear.  

And I do love my coaches.  

I love hearing what they think, gleaning their wisdom, and knowing that knowing them is making me a stronger runner one footstrike at a time.  I love that they'll hang back with me, they'll check in, they'll leave me in the dust.  All appropriate in the moment.

Last week, at the beach, I decided to it was time to let some of the fear go.  I don't run for my coaches.  I run for me.  I don't run for The Marathon.  I run for me.  

I don't run...

I run.

Yesterday MTTographer caught me on film.  It's probably my favorite running photo this year.
Not because I've had an offer from Victoria's Secret.
Well, it is only Sunday....  

I love the photo because my eyes look happy.  The joy that I find in running is right there, for anyone to see.

I love running.  Running doesn't care how fast or slow we go.  Running enjoys the moment.  Running likes to be savored.  Running appreciates that some days are about maximum effort, and some days are about recovery.  Running empowers me to be stronger than my weak mind.

We have several months to go before The Marathon ~said in the big movie announcer voice~ and I need to find a way to culture my relationship with running. To do that, I need to banish the fear.

I need to reclaim the faith.

I need to run more.