-I don't think I am going this morning, I am too stressed out.
-Laying in bed will make the stress go away?
-Just thinking about all I have to do at work makes my head spin, you don't understand!
-No, I don't, but I had other stresses in life, and what I learned is that they don't disappear because I want them to, and not running is not making them easier either. And if I can't put an effort into my workout, then I just shuffle, and it's still better than doing nothing at all and getting stressed about that on top of everything else. But nobody besides you can make that choice. I know I can't.
-Give me 2 minutes.
An hour and half later, we both had sweated buckets on the treadmills (and Larry managed to break his, luckily after he was done, as the machine refused to slow down or even stop at all).
-Thanks for motivational speech, hun. I need a 10 hr nap now:)
Life is full of setbacks. Success is determined by how you handle them.
The recovery from Cedro Peak race has been miraculous. There could be a few things working for it. First, the marathon and the 50k races along with a 27M Georgetown run had brought my endurance back to base. A few somewhat up-tempo runs had given me a base in lactic threshold. A more serious weight training prepared my legs for the task of uphill and downhill. And the fact that Cedro Peak was held in the mountains had accounted for a great exchange of working muscles while in the run - I always said I recover from some serious elevation change far better then from a flat pounding at the same speed. The soreness had only bugged us while on the drive on Sunday, the day after the race itself, and even that one would go away once we stop (every 4 hrs) to fill up the gas tank and get some food. Now, on the food department we could certainly do better. Ever time before the race I promise to plan ahead and make smarter choices, and every time, life gets so busy that even packing for a race itself happens by throwing things into a bag without an order, yet along prepping food. Then as we are back, it's straight to work and catching up on household chores and family tasks and kids, and I only do thoughtful shopping on the weekend, so the week is left to picking up crap from the fridge and throwing it on the plate (at least I am not going out). And with appetite being super-ravenous in 2 days after the effort of the long race, and the brain being foggy, well, you feel you could certainly benefit from a better idea than grabbing a bunch of turkey cuts and stuffing it into your mouth... Next time. May be.
|Cedro Peak, photo courtesy race photographer|
Now, that we are so pleased with the result of the first race and its outcome and how we felt during and after, it's training full speed. The positive aura gave us enough incentive to up the ante and begin to work in earnest. The speed intervals and hill repeats came back, the cutdown tempo runs, the serious plyometrics...And, again and again, every year I roll from the period of establishing my base into the period of cycles of focused training, I remind myself how much I love it. Everything about it. The dark morning with alarm going off and the first thought how much I hate it. The fact that once awaken, I can't go back to sleep anyway, so might as well get up. The first 30 minutes that I need to shake off and get my systems moving (yes, that cuts down on sleep, but without this half hour I'd be looking for a bathroom somewhere on the road rather soon). And the first step out into the still black air, turning iPod higher to shock the brain out of hibernation. Time to make this hour count. I don't have many extra hours a day to go out and explore runs for pleasure. There are a handful of outings I do just that, but because I want to perform, I need some effort in my runs and other workouts. And, frankly, I wouldn't want it any other way. I love it. Working out is one of very few things in life that gives you direct benefit of what you put in - you get out. There is no better feeling that finishing up a hard session, pouring buckets of sweat and panting, wiping your brow and thinking: "Man, I rock!". I don't identify myself as a runner only, it is not where I stand for what's important. But it is what gives me strength and self-confidence and power to go on and do things in other aspects of my life. What holds me together. What gives me peace.
I sometimes laugh and joke that Larry gets my motivation for free when some others pay for it. May be more like nagging:) Not that he needs it. Not many people work as hard as he does in training. He is a perfectionist and excels in whatever he starts. More often I think that he is one poor soul because living with me is no sugar. I use no excuses. I give no excuses to myself, and very rarely do I offer one for another human (rather keep my mouth shut if not asked). I simply don't allow them in my life. Because once I do, I can find them in every corner, and it's all downhill from there. Now, it doesn't mean I just go as a freight train without stopping and crash things and people on the way. I choose. I have my easy things I simply enjoy. I hope to say I can determine where I need to push and where to let go. I am only human myself, and I keep making mistakes. I don't apologize. I admit I screwed up, accept the outcome, and plan to do better next time.
Last night I had a run with a new coaching client. I don't have many of those, nor do I seek them. I can count folks I am helping out on my fingers, without reserving to toes. And I like it this way. It allows me to be personal. It also allows me to have a full time job, a couple of massages here and there to give, some yoga to take, dinner every night, time with those I love the most, and my own training. Actually, because of my job I can allow myself to charge as little as I do. Because it reflects my personal opinion on coaching and training. In this day and age, anybody who wants to can dig out plans off internet, books and so on. Put some time into it, understand basic ideas, and design your own training. Yes, coaches take this time out of equation and make it for you. They throw a base, adapt to how you respond, and change and tweak, so all you have to do is run (or whatever is that you do). But for the most part, a good coach is the one who can motivate and make you accountable. The one you trust a lot to, and one you want to make sure you live up to expectations, so to speak. The one, once you pay up, you think: "Oh, screw it, now I might as well go and do things". Not everybody needs a motivational speaker. And far from everyone needs to feel good and improve. Do it for social aspects, for health benefits, for soul searching, for site-seeing...whatever raffles your feathers. But like I pay for the gym to make sure I get full advantage of my own weight training (and never do anything at home even though own dumbbells and ball and resistance bands), I prefer having a plan and be accountable for it. It works for me. As good as plenty of vacations outdoors and trail stomping at slogging rate.
I am looking more optimistic into the year to come. While my next set of races are not going to be placing high, it doesn't mean I won't give them an attention and an effort they deserve. Race is something you come to and do your best for a given day, whether it's an "A", "B" or "C" goal doesn't matter. Smart doesn't mean "playing in the woods". Smart means controlled and focused. And to get there, you need 3 "D": determination, dedication and discipline.
Now, on a lighter note, we do know how to relax! Last Saturday we held a party at our house, and as I responded to a question of a friend who couldn't attend on how it went "I had to kick them out at 11:30pm, so I'd guess it went well and they liked it!". (The only reason I did kick them out was that I had to get up for a run next morning!). Chatting for over 6 hrs tells you how precious friends are and how much we need this time together. Now, close your eyes and think who would you love to spend time with, and just do it. It doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, it just have to be heartfelt. All that counts. When relaxing with friends and family - and when training your ass off:)