Saturday, November 9, 2013

Ready to run

In April, I ran the Rock ‘n Roll Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville. I didn’t write about it / mention it really at all because a) my blogging was sub-par at the time and b) I really didn’t want to re-live it long enough to recap it.

To sum that race up, I probably only need to tell you one detail: it poured rain. The. Entire. Time. When it wasn’t pouring, it was windy. There were places where there was probably a good inch of water just covering the whole road. I ran through several multi-inch-deep puddles, completely drowning my shoes (which were already soaked). Everything was wet. I was wearing several layers (none waterproof, because I completely failed to plan that way) and a hat, and yet I was soaked to the skin and I had water (not sweat) running down my face the entire time. I rubbed a giant, bleeding blister on the bottom of my foot from my shoes and socks rubbing together (which has never happened before or since). Most of the "great cheering crowds" that RnR promises never showed up (and I don't blame them for a second). It was freezing, once you were totally soaked. My teeth chattered together so hard, and I could hardly hold my phone or water when it was over. It was literally the most miserable I have ever been, and I cried when I finished. I managed to tack less than 5 minutes onto my previous half-marathon finishing time, despite the conditions, but it didn’t matter – I hated the race, and I felt completely defeated when it was over. I wanted to crawl in bed for three days and I wanted to never run again (spoiler alert, I did – in a 5k a week later, no less, but not all that happily).

Anyone who runs will tell you that running is part physical endurance, (bigger) part mental endurance. Physically, this race was rough, but mentally, it was worse. I got in my own head early on about the terrible weather conditions, how I wasn’t having fun, and how I just wanted it to be over. That made the race feel about a million miles long, instead of just thirteen. I wore myself down further with every tenth of a mile, and by the time I was done, I had pretty much convinced myself that I didn’t want to do another one ever again.

Like I said before, I ran a 5k the weekend after Nashville, and I felt alright, but then I pretty much quit. I ran a little here and there throughout the summer, but we were pretty busy buying a house and moving, so I let myself give excuses and I didn’t lace up. I saw friends running, and I thought about a few races, and I even went so far as to go to the sign-up pages for a few – but I always talked myself out of it. I didn’t have time, I didn’t want to spend the money, and oh – remember how awful Nashville was? Bleh.

My friend Lauren started talking about how she wanted to run the OBX Half on her birthday weekend (Veteran's Day weekend) months ago - and I totally refused. I said I'd go to the beach, but I couldn't imagine running the race. I couldn't talk myself into it. I just kept thinking about Nashville, and the weeks quickly went by.

Mid-September, I finally did it - on a whim one afternoon at work, I signed up. I had five minutes mid-afternoon and before I could talk myself out of it, I clicked "send" on the registration form, and the money was paid. No getting out of it now. On November 10, I'd be running my next half-marathon.

I will be honest (still), I haven't trained for this race. I let the days and then weeks go by, thinking I still had plenty of time. I had a hard time lacing up my shoes and a harder time getting going - I ran only a few miles at a time. As of three weeks ago, the most I'd ran since April was six miles. Less than half a half marathon. Yikes.

Last Friday, I finally committed myself. I decided that I had to run ten miles, to prove that I could and to "train" - if I could run 10 alone, I can run 13 in a race. So I got up Saturday morning, and I got all my shit together, and I took myself to a nearby trail that runs through the battlefields. It wa a crisp, sunny morning. There were lots of people out with me - running, walking, touring. Enjoying the day. I set out dictating two-mile increments for myself. Two miles out. Turn around. Two miles in. Water. Two miles the other way. Take pictures. Two miles in. Drink water. One mile left. One mile right. Ten done.

I didn't like it. It hurt. I was exhausted. My knees ached. I had a blister. But I did it. For the first time since April, I talked my way through every bad angle my brain wanted to set up. I did exactly what I set out to do. The day was beautiful. The sun was shining. The views through the battlefields were picturesque. I did it.

And so here I am. Six months, six long hard months, I am here. I am ready. Ready to run. Race day is staring me in the face once again. My goal for this race is to enjoy it - to feel good, to have fun, to find joy. It's not a time goal, it's a life goal - I want a good race. I want the memory of Nashville to not be the last thing I have. I want to set that aside, and enjoy the run, and the race. OBX, you've become a special place to me, over many family vacations and happy times with friends. You are a place I am comfortable. A place where I've run before. A place I recognize and love. A place where a race can be good for me. OBX, I believe in you. I believe in me.


Lisa said...

Good luck with training! I try to make myself run, and my biggest enemy is me not wanting to run. And I love the new design!

Tammy Jo said...

Such a good post. I couldn't agree more running is much more a mental game than anything else for me. If I can make it to mile 2 I know I will not die but sometimes that mile 2 seems like 8 miles away! Good luck on the run and the training can't wait to hear all about it :)

Maureen Halsema said...

Welcome back, Lindsay. :)

Lindsay said...

Thanks ;) <3

Stephanie @ My Freckled Life said...

I'm so happy that you were able to overcome that horrible sounding race! Running is seriously so mental, and a bad race can absolutely leave a horrible taste in your mouth that just doesnt go away! I've been a bit like that since my last half when I had some knee problems - every time I think of signing up for a race, I start to doubt whether I can do it or not! But maybe I just need to take a page out of your book and just suck it up and do it! I'm so happy that you were able to jump over that mental hurdle and push through!

Lindsay said...

The longer you put it off, the harder it will be to come back... that's why I decided to just go for it this time. I was afraid that, if I didn't, I never would! Turns out, this wasn't my best race, but it certainly wasn't my worst, and it has completely eased my mind regarding the Nashville catastrophe. In my head, my most recent race is officially now a decent one, and I can move on to the next. Onward & upward! :)