What's in my head

This is the home of your average girl in her early 30s making her way in the big city...Not really. I have thoughts. Now I have somewhere to put them.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Wall

Last night while attempting to complete an easy 7km run I hit the wall and it SUCKED. I have run before sans motivation or desire, I have run in less than ideal weather conditions, and I have run before when my body wasn't on board, but I have never experienced the mental state I did last night.

It appears with a month to go the training has become a mental thing. It makes sense, having tackled 16k running another 5.1 km to get to the half-marathon mark isn't about the physical act of running. Rationally speaking if one can physical cover 16k, well then what's an extra 5? But, the mental aspect of continuing to lace up my running shoes and put one foot in front of the other day after day is getting tough. Last night I actually wanted to sit down on the sidewalk and cry. Not for physical pain - though my knees hurt from the last session of the cursed hills the night before - but just cause. It's not that I couldn't do. I didn't want to do it.

I mean I really, really did not want to do it. And so I began to walk - at the pathetic 2k mark (and the 3k and the 4.5k and the 6k, etc. until I finally arrived home and torture was over.) I felt like I had a blister on my left foot and my earphones just weren't co-operating and I wanted to scream. At one point I felt tears welling in my eyes at the prospect of being so far from the comfort of my couch. And I haven't a clue why, other than to blame that mysterious wall.

Maybe this is why people train with groups or a friend. To have someone to tell them "you can do it" and to remind them of how far they'd come. I have people who encourage me and who tell me they're proud of me for what I'm doing and what I've accomplished, but the positive reinforcement seems to be few and far between. Or maybe it just felt that way last night. Maybe I really wasn't completely alone as I struggled to make it home last night. With four weeks and a day left to go I need to dig deep and find the mental strength to push aside the other voices and listen for the cheerleaders because I don't think I can do it alone.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

This is where things get tough

Last week was the worst week of training I've encountered thus far.

There were cramps and exhaustion and heat and humidity and it wasn't pretty. It began Sunday with the already daunting task of having to run 16km, but Mother Nature wasn't helping matters with a weather forecast of heat and humid with thunderstorms thrown in for good measure. I awoke earlier than the previous Sunday (I can not begin to express how much of a morning person I am NOT and how I can't believe that I rise on a weekend morning earlier than I do to go to work on weekdays. And I'm not getting up for something good - not food or a cute guy or an awesome vacation - its to run. To run obscene distances. In hotter and hotter weather) and headed out at 8:08 a.m. The humidity was hard to miss. A third of the way in I was covered in sweat and forcing myself to ration my water. At 8km I had to talk myself into keeping the course and not heading home. At 10k I knew I couldn't do it. The heat and humidity was too much. I was exhausted and dehydrated. Defeated, I headed home where I went up to my apartment, wiped away the sweat, grabbed the Gatorade and headed back out to do two more - one shy of what I was supposed to do.

If someone had told me five months ago that I would return home from a 13 km run, covered in sweat, my dri-wick clothing soaked and then head back out for more I would have told them they were CRAZY. Because that behaviour right there was beyond belief for me a few months ago.

I know people do amazing feats everyday. People run marathons, people swim across great lakes, people climb mountains. They push themselves in ways I can't even imagine. But I have never felt such exhaustion, such fatigue, such a powerful urge to quit as I did last Sunday. And despite running 15k of a 16k run I felt like I'd failed. For the first time since I began training I'd failed. And the crap runs continued All. Week. Long. If I was ever going to give up on this silly half-marathon training it would have been last week, but I didn't. I learned a few things and I came back and woke up earlier, ran further and enjoyed the accomplishment that much more.

This morning I left the house at 7:15 a.m. and ran for one hour, 53 and a half minutes. I covered 16km - my goal. It wasn't fast and I walked far more than I would have liked, but I did it. I pushed myself mentally and physically and I did it. I hope today's accomplishment sets the tone for a better week than last. A week that is not mired by exhaustion three kilometres into a 5k morning run or a feeling of nauseau, fainting and cramps all at the same time while doing hills. But even if it is, it's OK. I will try again. I will come back more determined the next day.

Six weeks to go!

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


I am beyond glad I blogged (albeit sporadically) about my foray into serious running. When I head out now for a 10k run, it's hard to imagine that I couldn't always do this. That I couldn't always run for an hour. That I couldn't always run four kilometres in less than 25 minutes. Reading about the burning and the gasping and the struggle it took to get to the point I am at today makes me feel proud for sticking with - and also maybe a little crazy for deciding to do it in the first place.

There have been many, many days where I didn't want to run, but I did. I ran in the rain, I ran in the dark and I ran after getting home late from work. And on Sunday - at 8:30 a.m. - I ran 14 kilometres. Let me repeat that: 14km!!!! That's like three times more than I had ever run at one time in my whole life before March. I ran for more than an hour and a half. (I shall not discuss the negative comment I got about it taking an hour and a half to run 14k - to him I say, bite me I RAN FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF).

As I look at the training schedule that remains (I'm about half way through), I get scared. If I follow it (as I so diligently have) it means I'll be gasping through 16km this Sunday and I have to conquer five hills on Wednesday (oh, how I hate thee hills training) and before the end of the month I'll be up to running 18 km in one session and 50 km in one week. Do you know how long it would have taken me to run 50 km a year ago? Like a month, if I was having a particularly active month. But while the schedule scares me, it also empowers me because I know I can accomplish it.

Because I've already come so far.