The Big Picture

Sometimes it’s hard for me to look at the big picture. Not just in running, but in every aspect of my life. I want to cross the finish line, before I do the race. I want the victory without putting in the time and the work. It doesn’t make sense. Why is it so hard to just slow down, sit back and enjoy the ride? Why does the fear of the unknown have to paralyze my thoughts and put me into a funk? Why do I take things so seriously? Like running. It’s just exercise. Right? Right???

Yesterday I ran 5 full, non-stop miles, my longest run in 2 months. It felt like I ran a half marathon. I was tired. I wasn’t properly fueled (1/2 a banana and 1/2 a 5 hour energy drink), dehydrated and most importantly, I wasn’t motivated. Mid-way I wanted to stop and walk. But I didn’t dare say that because I ran with my coach, who I will disclose is also my boyfriend.

During my (recovery) run this morning (which on my initial plan I wasn’t scheduled to do), I realized that the coach/boyfriend role could be problematic. You see, yesterday I struggled through that 5 miles. I didn’t want to disappoint my boyfriend. The whole time I tried to look at him as my coach, but… that wasn’t working so well. So when I finished the run, feeling overwhelmingly frustrated with my performance (which he said was good — I didn’t believe him), I got quiet and then emotional–in fact, I cried, just like I have after a few races. This is when my coach became my boyfriend and I cried on his shoulder. Would I do that if he was just some coach? I don’t know. I think boyfriend mode kicked in and he felt sorry for me. In an effort to help me feel better, he told me I could do a recovery run today instead of the original plan of no running and just weight training today. But only 3 miles he said. No more. So, I’m not sure if that was a good idea or not. I don’t know if that was my coach or boyfriend advising me. Note: I love that I have a boyfriend I can run with, so don’t get me wrong, it’s fantastic.

This morning’s run was a vision of “I’m gonna show you (who, I don’t really know, but most likely me)… I’m gonna run 5 miles again!!” of course, as soon as I started common sense kicked in and I listened to my tired legs and my coach and ran 1.8 miles, walked a quarter mile and ran another 1.5 miles. Now, about 10 hours later, I don’t even feel like I ran, which is good because I sure felt it this morning.

My coach also gave me some homework to do. He brought over a few items:

this is a new one for me
racing weight… need i say more?
i have yet to drink this…

Let me just say, when I told my coach I drank orange gatorade… well, you don’t really want to know the reaction, but it was very coach-like. You’d think I’d just rattled off a slurry of swear words. Now I’m willing to try something new, especially if it makes me a better runner, so I am game. I am. But I’m sorry… I still like my orange gatorade. I do. At least for now. I’ll let you know about this Heed stuff when I drink it.

Also, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is a countdown to a half marathon in the upper right corner of this blog. I wish it was a little more precise, because it says one month to go, and it’s really 6 weeks. It is hard to believe I will be able to run 13.1 miles in 6 more weeks, but I guess I will. My coach says I will. Just for kicks, I asked my Runner’s World Smart Coach (sorry boyfriend Coach) to spit out a training plan for me. Unfortunately, they can’t factor in that I haven’t been running for 6 weeks. That I’ve been injured. I just wanted to see what sort of mileage they would schedule me to run. I’m not trying to PR this next half (yeah, right) so I put in a finish time of just under 2 hours. That is not a PR. But it’s acceptable.

Here is what they gave me:

Let’s get back to the big picture now. It isn’t this upcoming race. And I don’t even think it’s the marathon in December, although that will be something I will train specifically for and yes, it was on my mind yesterday during that run. No, the big picture is this: Running injury free. Running for as long as I can. Running because I love running. Not for some race. Not for a relationship. Not for anyone.

I’m running for me. Because I love what running does for me. It makes me feel like a superhuman version of myself (at least it used to) and I like that. I want that. It is something special that is mine, and I don’t want to lose it. Ever. THAT is my big picture.


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