Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Being Honest With Myself

I can always tell how great a run is by how difficult it is to peel my sports bra off afterwards from my slimy body. Today I needed the jaws of life to get out of that stubborn sucker.

4 weeks since my last tempo run. Dang that is an eternity. There was the 5k prep week with some mile repeats, then the week of the 5k where I decided to forgo a speed session in addition to my first ever sub 20 5k, then there was a week of blazing hot temps where I wasn't brave enough to attempt speed that was followed by a second week of scorching temps that just left me feeling blah and lazy.

So to sum it up I needed to fly like the wind today. Speed work feeds my soul, and I haven't been doing nearly enough of it lately. Actually I haven't really been doing ANY lately. Life happens and all of my well meaning plans go straight out the window, but lately it seems like mine have been plummeting off of a cliff and bursting into flames at first impact with land. Sometimes life just goes that way. But today's 6 mile tempo in 40:28 was just what the doctor ordered. It was challenging and hot out, but just what my spirit needed to bring me back to the reality of working hard for something my heart desires.

I forgot how taxing marathon training is on my body, the time commitment and the mental focus it takes to get through 18 weeks of challenging workouts. When you throw crazy July temps to the mix on top of keeping rather busy the past few weeks with work, in the end you get one exhausted lady that is trying her best to not skip a beat but is so off rhythm. My husband is a fairly observant man that doesn't acknowledge my craziness too often, which is a blessing because he can keep me in check and not let me indulge and linger on that what should be let go. It isn't often that he offers me advice on how to best move forward with my stressors because he knows that I don't like to bring my crapola into our marriage and when I need his opinion I will ask. But the other day I must have been showing my cards a bit too obviously and the wear and tear of the busy summer I've been having was clearly visible.

He knows my goals, my heart, and how important October is for me. He sees my drive and my relentless running spirit that sometimes beats me like a dead horse to keep going and push harder when there is nothing left to give. But he also knows I'm human, that there are limits to what I can take and he sees me approaching that line far before I am able to notice it myself. In almost four years of marriage, he has begun to develop this impartial wisdom that peaks through at moments where I feel like it is me vs. the world and the world is winning. The exuding subtlety behind the simplicity of his thoughts that "if you're tired, take it easy on the running front. 70 miles is a lot of running in one week. You don't want to get to the line in October exhausted" passed his lips at the right venerable moment for me and I actually heard the words he was saying. While I know this, sometimes it takes an intervention of words from someone else for me to actually understand things.

It is difficult to do it all in life and we all want to be the best at everything we do even though we are aware of the impossibility of this feat. As for me, I'm no different. I want to be a great wife, daughter, sister, and friend; I want to ride the running wave while its at it's high and be the best I can be; I want to be successful in my career; I want to be the best me that I can be; I want to make the most of this short life I have. The reality for me right now is that I am failing miserably at all of these things right now because I just can't do it all. Instead of saying yes to the things I know I can handle and no to those that I can't, I just say yes to everything. It's like I think that I don't need sleep or quiet time to reflect on my life. But I'm wrong, and I hate saying that.

Life is hard and complicated, it is filled with heartache and joy, and we have the choice to either sink or swim. I don't want to sink nor do I want to even float through time, I want to swim against the current and overcome the exhaustion of giving it all that I've got in me to push past the pain. I know that I can't have it all and that sometimes my desires are selfish and impure and do not match up with God's plan, but I'm not yet ready to call it quits on my dreams. I am well aware that there is not a worthy accomplishment in life that will ever be an easy feat, so I'm going to accept this challenging time for what it is and continue pressing forward.

Today I am reminding myself that it is not about the destination but more so about the journey we experience to get to our destination. I will rejoice and embrace times of trial as much as I do times of joy. If that means that I need to make a few modifications along the way, then so be it.

How do you handle it all when your training is at it's peak? Do you ever feel over committed?


  1. Holy smoking tempo run!!! Sheesh! Can't wait to see you at your peak peak! Good for you for taking advantage of this time in your life to see what you can do! Once kids come, it gets a little crazy but still doable! I'm so inspired by you girl! You're the whole package...speed, beauty, brains, spirituality....lucky lucky guy your husband is!!

  2. You have an amazing spirit! It sounds like you are most certainly swimming against the current. And you will make it to your destination and feel proud, I just know it.

    I have felt overcommitted in the past but I haven't allowed myself to get to that point recently. It feels nice. My focus has shifted off of running a bit, which feels kind of nice, but then a part of me wishes I was pushing harder and trying to reach a goal because that is a great feeling as well.

    You are going to kick butt on October 9th and I can't wait to read all about it. You're such an incredible athlete.

  3. i guess i just REALLY hate the feeling of having no time to myself, so i don't get overwhelmed too often. sometimes when i feel pushed to my limit, i have complete rest day, veg out, sleep a lot, and enjoy quality time with the hubs, then the next day i'm more ready to face the world!

  4. You are such a stud!

    I think when you have kids and/or work and desire a part of life outside of them (e.g. running, more specifically marathon training), you're just overcommitted period. No way around it. You just have to let go of the guilt and do your best. You can't be everything to everyone all the time, and perfection is an illusion.

    I get up early and get it done. But then again, I am not doing 70 mile weeks. That must be incredibly intense.

    Keep on keepin' on. I think you're doing great.

  5. I find peak training coincides with peak social neglect. I try to embrace being selfish during this time and make up for it on recovery / reduced volume weeks. I have one calendar for keeping track of both social commitments and training to help mitigate conflicts. Thanks for commenting on the Urbanathlon.

  6. Great post! I just had to make a few adjustments to my schedule to go after what I want. It's a tough balance and takes constant care and adjusting. Knowing where your priorities are at is KEY!

  7. I think I would pay for a tempo like that! You awesome. It is so hrd sometimes to balance it all and I am only running 30+ miles a week, but my husband also resents my running so I try to do it around his schedule as much as possible. You are so lucky your man is supportive!

  8. such a great post. so insightful! hope you find the balance between the goals, life, and the drive.

  9. it sounds like you and your husband mesh well together! it's great to have someone who knows you better than you know yourself at times!

    i don't do too good with the balance.. during marathon training, i found myself being very stubborn about my runs, spouting off my schedule when anyone wanted to make plans so they knew they had to work around it - can you say selfish? this summer i have been very go with the flow and trying to be more balanced and not take relationships for granted! we had guests this weekend and i didn't run once. i was proud of myself haha

  10. It is wonderful to have a great support system in your husband. Having people who are on your "team" will enable you to reach your goals (and reign you in if it's too much) balance is tough to achieve when so many things are going on. Sometimes you just need to step back and smell the flowers or in my case, hug cb and take a rest day and figure out how to balance everything again. It's certainly tough during marathon season.

  11. you are so right it is way more about the journey...because it is in the journey that we learn the most about ourselves..way more than at the final destination!
    i think you are absolutely AMAZING and gorgeous and you can do ANYTHING! i truly believe thatt!

  12. Geez, I just can't wait to see how all your hard work, dedication and talent pay off for your marathon. Well stated. Marathon training takes complete and utter focus, a balancing act of training and life.

    Love the picture of you and your husband and its appears he is the perfect balance for you.

    You still continue to amaze me!

  13. I really needed to read this post. My husband and I had a talk yesterday, and he thinks I haven't really been in to things lately. Like, mentally around. And he is probably right. I felt pretty down in May and June (after my grandpa passed) and now all I think about is training. My training is much different than yours, but I still want to be a good wife, friend and family member. It's hard to remember that when all I think about is how many miles I want to get in. Sometimes I just have to push running out of my head!

    When did you get married? We are approaching our 4 year anniversary on Sept 1 :)

  14. Yes, ENJOY the journey! I know you are going to kill this race so just take it one day at a time and TRY not to STRESS. I know it is easier said than done but you have a great support system that will help you realize who and where you need to be!

    I am totally down for eating all kinds of Chicago food with you! I've never tried a deep dish pizza! As gross as they look, I think it is an essential part of my trip!!! I'm on a hunt to find the best reviews so I don't waste my calories on something gross!

  15. I love it- speed work feeds my soul! Will you please call me if you ever come to NY/NJ so we can run together?? k thanksss