Before you think someone else has taken over my body or brainwashed my thoughts keep reading.
Over the last month and a half I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned what I need, I’ve learned what I miss, I’ve learned what I want and I’ve learned what I want to change.
Marathons are hard. What I really mean to say is that I’ve been marathon training since January with just a couple breaks and it has wore me out. I have become mentally and physically exhausted from the thing I love most, the marathon distance. Last November I knew I wanted to run the Chicago Marathon in 2015, so this January I decided to run the Colfax Marathon in May as a “warm up” for Chicago. I wanted to run Chicago knowing I had already run a marathon so I could enjoy the experience without being a total wreck. The mental aspect of racing always gets me.
Well, I trained and ran Colfax in May. It was a painful experience, but I have never felt myself fight for anything harder. I learned so much about myself and made progress. Then I ran Chicago in October and all my dreams came true but not in the way you would think. The Chicago marathon changed my world in so many ways. Read all about it here.
Now here I am training for the Disneyworld Marathon on January 10th. I am a complete and utter mess. I don’t feel ready at all. People say that and don’t mean it, but trust me when I say I’m not ready. My training hasn’t been how I’ve wanted it. I’ve been fighting injury, complete fatigue and lack of drive. I felt pretty good going into the Hill Country Trail 15k and had an awesome race, but since then it’s been a struggle. Holiday stuff, volunteer obligations, health scares and everything else have gotten in the way. I’ve really had to take a step back and look at everything differently.
Coming off the high from Chicago I kept telling myself I need a spring marathon so I could have more confidence going into next fall’s race season, but lately I have been feeling the exact opposite. I think I need to slow down to speed up and get ahead. I think I need to give myself more of a break. I think I need to stick to half marathons for a while and not run another marathon until summer or Chicago 2016. It might seem crazy to you that I am already thinking that far ahead, but I have to. My mind just works that way. I am a planner to the very essence of the term, plus my dreams are real big. I am also the type of person that wants and needs goals to thrive. I crave the routine and the training plans because they make me better and make me stronger. I love making plans because when things get crazy they keep me sane.
Lately I’ve realized that it’s okay to dial it back a little in order to still work towards my goals. Taking a little time to recharge will give me the focus to push differently for my dreams and realign my passion for the sport. Recently, I’ve felt the pressure. The pressure of not feeling ready for the Disneyworld marathon in less than 30 days, the pressure I’ve been putting on myself to perform in training sessions, the pressure of my body to stay healthy, the mental pressure of my real job and the pressure to give ya’ll the best content possible has been exhausting. I also feel like I’ve been missing out on the small things, because I’ve been so overwhelmed and I hate that.
In order for me to do more of those things well I have to cut back the amount of time I’m training every week. The half marathon is a comfortable distance for me and frankly I would like to be much better at it, so for now I will readjust my sails and run wild. Half marathons don’t require as much training time because the long runs, well, aren’t as long so that will give me more time to focus on other things while I become a stronger runner.
I know I won’t be able to make my dreams happen without the moments that push me to do better and force me to go farther than I ever thought I could. When I think about the progress I have seen this year I never thought I would be here, never in my wildest dreams. This year has been the year of the marathon and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me going into 2016. My race calendar is already starting to shape up and it’s exciting! There are so many amazing things on the horizon I could squeal just thinking about them!
This year has been a whirlwind and I wouldn’t change a thing. Even with all the pain and tears I can’t imagine not running. I can’t fathom not doing it. I can’t begin to imagine what I would be like if I wasn’t a runner. I am so much more than a runner, but I am the best version of myself when I run. My love for the sport just grows deeper and takes me on all kinds of journeys. In a world full of complications, the sport of running is simple. The training and mental aspects can get quite complicated, but the actual act of running is effortless and natural. In a world full of crazy I’m thankful to have the marathon crazies.
Have you had to take steps back to get ahead?
Any advice for me going into 2016?