Friday, August 29, 2014

Rebuilding the long run

Make no mistake, the return to longer distance running has been a little bumpy.

Sunday I did my first 10-mile run in ages and it was tough! In fact, it was only my third run of 10 miles or more over the last year. Nearly all my runs have been under 6 miles thanks to my then physical limiter. Running has been very stunted since that 3:33:53 Boston Marathon PR in 2013. That's a long time.

The speed returned fairly well to 5Ks and short distances but I can see now it's going to take some time to get some quality longer distance running going. But, there are only two months left in my race season.

I'm planning to run the Hokie Half Marathon on October 12. I'm excited for that because I've only ever run two half-marathons and they were both when I first started running in 2008. After that, I'll race the PPD Beach2Battleship Half Iron distance triathlon October 25 which is a half-marathon that includes a 1.2 mile swim and 56 mile bike warmup :-). 

Logically, I understand why I have work to do. Logically, I know there are consequences when you baby the run for a year and have 8+ weeks off.  Logically, I get that if you have avoided hills for ages (trigger for my condition), hills will be tough. Still, the other day I found my brain bouncing between from being grateful that I can even run to feeling frustrated it's not the speed or ease or endurance that I want to getting upset with myself for not feeling grateful. That was a productive cycle of thought, huh?
 It's hard. It's humbling.

In the moment, on the road, I think I should be able to simply "will" myself to go faster, to work harder, to get more out of myself, to run as I have before. When I can't, and when I don't meet my own expectations, it can be upsetting. Frustration wells up inside of me.

Tuesday I had a rare edge-of-tears call with Coach Jim. (I know that seems ridiculous...and I can't explain...but one can't push physical limits without tapping into emotional reserves.) After we spoke, I took a deep breath. I adjusted my expectations. I have to accept the challenge as it comes. I can't dictate how it unfolds, but I can control my own level of patience with the process and with myself.

We don't do the sport for some predictable linear outcome. The sport is full of surprises, and it ultimately rewards perseverance. We don't know when or in what form, but that is part of the fun I suppose.

I'm sharing this simply to say NO ONE is exempt from the ups and downs, the setbacks, the successes, the accomplishments AND the frustrations. I'm not, and you are not.

So I've put on my shoes and I'm headed out the door for another long-ish run on this beautiful Friday morning. I'm going out with a heart full of appreciation that I am able to do this. I will see what I can do, not what I can't.

Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!