Thursday, September 24, 2015

Following the leader

On Tuesday when I got back to the house after my run, my mom made a comment about how long I was gone.  I had run 4.72 miles.  I laughed and told her I was gone just about the time that I had expected to be gone.  She responded, 'I guess this was one of your long runs.'   I laughed....4.72 miles is considered my average weekly run now (according to the master schedule...right now I'm scheduled 4.5 miles it will go to 5 miles in two weeks) and that is considered a short run.  My weekend runs are the long ones.  I giggled and moved on.

Today, Thursday I was out there pounding the pavement again. (Ok, I was out there on Wednesday too walking a LOT....cross train light workout day).  My Thursday runs are typically much more difficult for me.   I think it's because it is the tail end of a 4 day stretch of exercise and my body is just READY for a day or rest.   I don't know but Thursdays kill me.  Most of the run this morning was done with some words pounding in my head. Seems like this happens a lot.   Today was pretty much one phrase over and over.  "What the freak are you doing, thinking you can run a half marathon.  This is insane!"  I heard the voices but pushed through them and completed 4.91 miles.  (slow laborious miles)

So even though I pushed through it I am wondering, "What in the hell am I doing???"

There are and always have been concerns about doing a longer distance run.  The biggest?  My knees.  I have arthritis....can my knees withstand the long hours of 'abuse'.   My feet are not much better.   So far my feet and knees  have held up to an hour or running....kinda.  (they hurt).  But will they manage two hours.....or three hours?  How much can they take? 

Today however, I'm poindering my decision.   Is this half marathon even what I want?   What's happening?  Do I even want this.

Two possibilities pop into my mind.

The first possibility is that I was in a way railroaded into doing a half marathon.  My running partner was gung ho to do the half marathon.  I fell into line with that thought process.  But was it because I had always wanted this.....or was it because like most things in my life for the last few years, I wasn't thinking for myself and allowed others to make the decisions and assumptions and whatever and I just went along simply because it was easier to agree than to actually think and make my own decisions.    And yes, I allowed friendships (and my marriage)  to operate that way, I'm sad to say.  I was desperate for friendship.  I started disallowing that behavior a few years ago...and slowly but surely started standing up for myself and trusting my thoughts.  And here I am....wondering if a half marathon REALLY is my goal or if it is just a remainder of a 'follow the leader' idea that I latched onto in my darker days.

The second possibility is that I really do want this.  I really do want to push my body further than it has ever been pushed.  I want to revel in the finishers medal around my neck.  I want to feel the ache in my body and know I accomplished something that so many people can't even fathom.      If this is the case, my questions about my sanity could just be a cry of fear.   Fear that I continue on and fail.  Fear of doing this all alone. Because yes, I am training by my lonesome.   I will be running my race by my lonesome.  This is all me.  

I'm honestly not sure right now which option is the true one about why I am doing this half marathon.  My mind is reeling with the possibilities.  All I will say about it right now?   Until I know why I am pushing myself, I will continue to train.  This weekend I will be attempting one of my longest runs ever.....7-8 miles.  I'm scheduled for 7....I would like to push for 8.    If I can make it 8 miles, I will know that I can run two-thirds of a half marathon.  At my current (slow) pace I will be out there for a while slogging through my miles.   But I will do it...until my body flat out tells me I can't do it....or until I know for sure that this idea is NOT one that I ever really wanted.  I will continue to obsess and dream about different routes and roads that I can link up to make the mileage that I need yet be somewhat interesting (same roads running the opposite way sometimes shakes things up...different roads are a huge treat).  I will continue to stare at my training schedule that hangs on my wall at work.  I will push on until I can figure out what's happening in my mind and then make my decisions.  


Lynn said...

Do you have any trails that you could do some of your running on? It might help your knees to run on a softer surface. I almost always run on trails exclusively now.

MandaPanda said...

It may be best not to make any decisions about it during, or right after, a long run. LOL.

I think it's important to know why you're doing the things you're doing. At the very least, you're doing a great job!

Lori said...

I think you want it. If you had been railroaded in to the decision, you would have seized upon the pneumonia as a reason to stop training.

Darcy Winters said...

Interesting dilemma. Will she be there? You may also want to do it just to show her you could. No right or wrong answers - maybe one of your music-less runs can provide insight for you.

Anonymous said...

I think you want it, but it doesn't necessarily have to be now if you don't feel ready. One thing that always trips me up is when I make "artificial deadlines" for myself. For instance, I had a goal to walk four miles in under an hour. I wanted to achieve that by January 2015 (I made the goal a year ago). In January 2015 I just wasn't ready – it took me another two and a half months. I said to myself, "so what? I got there in the end!" Same with my weight – it always tripped me up if I said I wanted to lost X pounds by X date. If I didn't make the goal, I felt like a failure (even if I had, indeed, lost weight). When it comes to training, I think there's a fine line between challenging/pushing ourselves and going too fast. Lately I've been trying to turn my walk into a run. The program I was using felt too "fast" for me, so I scaled it back. Some people I know have been encouraging me to keep with that particular program, but I figure if I'm improving, does it matter that I'm only increasing my running time by 30 seconds instead of one or two minutes? The goal is to keep moving forward, and I'm doing that.

If you feel up to trying this half, great! If you want to wait to do one in the spring, training all the while, I don't see anything wrong with that. But YOU should choose the timetable that's right for you, not anyone else.

Lori said...

I hate when life shows us those uncertainties. I say go with your heart. Listen to it. If you are honest then your heart will tell you what to do!

Cathy said...

I'm late to comment, so I'm sorry for that. But I know exactly how you feel when you're out there slugging through some hellish distance, my brain says the same thing. "What the hell am I doing?!"

One thing that you have going for you, that you are doing right (I think), is that you are pushing yourself all week, not just on the long runs. I think that is going to be my biggest problem, I didn't push myself in the middle of the week. I've heard that the mid-week runs are supposed to simulate that tired feeling by the end of them so that you are used to pushing yourself when you are tired at the end of your half (or my case, full). I'm going to have problems, I know I will. You, on the other hand, will do great!! :-)