Thursday, August 11, 2016

My long runs are always a metaphor for life

My long runs are always a metaphor for my life. Always.

I was interviewed last week by a journalist from Prevention Magazine on my weight loss journey and I told her running changed my life and she asked me how. I wish I had shared some of this with her.

Last week I had wanted to hit 10 miles on my long run but it just didn't happen. It was my own fault. I did everything I knew I shouldn't. 

I was unprepared in every way possible.

Nutritionally I had eaten crappy & drank too much.

I stayed up too late the night before.

My mind was consumed with things I had absolutely no control over.

I didn't mentally plan my route out the night before.

Worst of all?

I woke up early that morning and I knew I needed to get moving right away to beat the heat. But instead of prioritizing myself, I didn't maintain my boundaries with someone and I started hours later than I should have. It was 11:30, the hottest time of day, almost 90 degrees, and major humidity. And I thought I'd do my long run.

Can you say self sabotage?

The only good part of the run was around  mile 3 or 4. I was about to pass out from the heat when I thought of some of my friends in my running group & their #freethebellybutton campaign. 

So.

Completely drenched in sweat, I decided to peel off my shirt & run in my running top. I think my body temperature immediately cooled down like 10 degrees. Running in my running top was a very big deal for me. I live in a small town & I was sure someone might see me. 

What will people think?
I'm not really fit enough to run like this.
My six pack isn't exactly a six pack...

Then I got over myself. 

The truth is no one really cared except me. And if they did, it was for the 2 seconds I passed by. I couldn't help but wonder how much energy I waste on caring what other people think. 

I think I'll stop doing that.

So around mile 5 or 6 I knew I wasn't going to hit 10. At that point I had beat myself up enough. It wasn't happening. I decided to accept it finally & set a new goal. If I could make it to 7 miles today, (that was how far I had ran the week before on my long run) then I wouldn't be gaining anything, but I also wouldn't be losing anything.

I couldn't help thinking, sometimes you tread water, and sometimes you swim. This run was all about treading water and I felt immensely better when I finally made peace with that.

This past week I've thought about all the things I did wrong prior to my long run. I totally knew better than every single one. I hadn't set myself up for success at all. 

The marathon 2 years ago taught me how to set a big goal and name my dream. More importantly, it taught me how to achieve that goal, achieve that dream.

Marathon 2014

All the real power in achieving a goal or a dream comes from the small steps we take leading up to it. It lies in the countless seemingly small decisions we make that no one really sees as we head toward it. 

True for running marathons. True for life.

I've always believed you have be able to visualize yourself in what you say you want in order to actually get there.

That's still true.

But you also have to swim. Tread water. And swim again. A little further. And a little further.

Every single day.

I jumped off the cliff into the water a long time ago after my mom died, to try make some sense of my life, grow my confidence & finally define my own happiness. 

Oregon Coast Trip June 2016
And while the jumping was a first step, I've realized the real hard part has come after the big jump. The hard part comes when you're in the water swimming, day after day, with no land in sight. You can't go back to where you were and you haven't yet hit where you want to be on the other side. 

Maybe that's what faith is all about?

Trusting that you'll make it to the other side when you can't see any land.

Swimming. Treading water. Swimming again. All the while keeping your head above water & never giving up.

I'm happy to say that while I still don't see land quite yet, I did see 10 miles on my long run today.


Swim. Tread water. Swim again.

My long runs are always a metaphor for my life. Always.