Monday, January 5, 2015

Dedicated Running

The most dedicated runners make it happen no matter what. It's not just an interest, it's a commitment. Schedules, temperatures, sickness, or exhaustion don't stop one on the path of running towards a goal.
   I have read countless running books, blogs and stories. I enjoy reading about other runners' adventures and their training plans and journeys. I look at photos of these most dedicated runners and know that rain, shine, cold, sick, snow, family troubles or desire to sleep...they conquer those battles and get out the door and run.
 Now, I am writing my own story. (To a certain degree, I suppose. I'll never be in the famous category, so take or leave what you read here.)
  In a struggle over when to run this weekend due to family life and schedules, and quite honestly, a bit of  a desire for an extra hour of sleep, I found myself saying  "Well, the most dedicated runners do whatever it takes." Then I thought to myself, "Man, I want to be that."  Usually, the mind is the worst enemy, but I can choose it to become my best asset in running/exercise/goals.

And so  I began to think about my running plan.  I am excited/nervous about this journey of attempting a 2:15 half marathon. And only one week into this plan, I have already found myself having to regear what was potentially planned for a day's run. (And reminding myself that I'm only one week into it.) I'm not supposed to be achieving my goal yet. This is a journey. (Sometimes that's the thing with my being ambitious- I have to remind myself goals take time!) Yesterday was my scheduled long run. The alarm went off at 5 on Sunday morning, and I groaned inwardly, as the rest of the house was sound asleep, and in all honesty, I wanted to be as well. But I got up. And  As I tip -toed to the kitchen to get my coffee, the sound of steady rain greeted me. "It's going to be a wet run," I thought to myself.
 I never  wear a hat when I run. I don't like them. But, I thought to myself, "I am all about stepping out of what I do and accepting different and doing things in new ways if I need to." So I dug out an old running hat (Thank you, Air Force Marathon ;) ) and set out for 6 the rain.
 "Good thing it's not a cold rain," I thought to myself.
 (Side note: you may notice I had a lot of thoughts to myself in this process. That's what happens when doing these alone, house asleep, no friends willing to battle the elements with me, and stepping out into the dark morning runs. I have to talk to myself to keep the positive juices flowing! I promise I am not crazy!) 
   Anyway, the run ended up being a beautiful one. While dark and wet, I felt great. The wind whipped all over my face, but at least it wasn't cold. I gave up avoiding puddles and began to just laugh as I splashed through them, feet flying. My time was slower than I would have liked, but remember, this process of achieving a better time takes time.  It's a process. I was quite happy to have the wind at my back for the returning 3 miles. I'd like to say that having a negative split in my long run was a thoughtful process, but I'll have to get the tail-wind a lot of the credit this go around. Regardless of it's reasons, I was happy to have that negative split.
  I was happy I got up before anyone else and stepped out the door.  I am truly enjoying this training process and going about it differently than I ever have previously. It's truly a commitment v. an interest.
   The house was still quiet when I returned, so I brewed another cup of coffee for myself while I dried out and got the cinnamon rolls going. (For myself, part of this training is losing a bit of weight. Not because I feel that is a need, but more so I know that for every pound shed, I also shed a few seconds off my time. So I begrudgingly made an egg and toast for myself.)
  We enjoyed breakfast together, and I felt really good for being determined and getting up and doing my long run.
  My advice today? Don't let the elements tell you you can't. Don't let lack of others joining your journey discourage your own path. GO FOR IT!  Get out there.  You are the captain of your ship. Whatever your fitness goal is.... when your mind is in it, you can do it. The process is a journey. A marathon, if you will, not a sprint.  
One day at a time.

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