Thursday, January 30, 2014

reflection

Only 11 months to go on this crazy running journey of mine. Every time I upload a workout and slap another 'X' on my calendar, I grow more impressed with my progress. Ah, but what would moments of triumph be without the occasional hiccup?

I found myself in a fit of frustration this week. I've been waging war within for the last 4 or 5 days for reasons unrelated to running, battling the demons that lurk within that occasionally rise to the surface and rattle my sanity.

Real talk? I'm incredibly self-conscious and, as of late, these feelings of insecurity have occupied my time and energy more than should be allowed. Realizing that self-doubt seems to peak at the same time every month, I have it designated on my calendar as my week of self-loathing in an attempt to mentally prepare myself (and to make sure I'm stocked on chips and sweets). But it still doesn't make the demons go away.

Having been out of the running game for so long, I've gotten lazy and sedentary. I've always struggled with body image even when I was in tip-top shape, so you can imagine my disdain when I catch myself in a mirror now when I haven't been logging 60 miles a week. It's sad that I put so much pressure on myself to look, act and be a particular way...but I'd be lying if I said I was completely content with that reflection staring hopelessly back at me.

Wishing I was smarter, prettier, wittier, and any other kind of 'er' has plagued me this week. Running has always been my release, a way to run off all that anger and frustration that I keep bottled up (mostly). So I'd go for a run, a fast run, all out sometimes, in an effort to tire out the demons and run away from all that troubles me. Worst part about being out of shape? The speed wasn't there and all the fast-twitch fibers in my being couldn't make it so.


I wanted so desperately to feel weightless, the wind in my face and the demons at my back, but I couldn't get my legs to go. I wanted the speed, I NEEDED it, but it never came no matter how much I willed it.

I tried to convince myself that since I'm training for an ultra marathon the speed was not only unnecessary, but ill-advised given the risk for injury. But truth is, it tears me up inside and almost confirms all those feelings of self-doubt that I was unable to run away from.

Admittedly, tomorrow is a new day and next week will surely be a better one, but I put this admission of personal struggle out into the universe as a testament to the fact that nothing is, or ever will be, perfect. I had to force myself to look at the bigger picture, at everything I've done right so far, to help me cope with things that threaten to derail me.


Many of the obstacles we face are ones we place in front of ourselves. Acknowledging this reality is the first step you can take in overcoming them. I've run 30 days consecutively and logged over 100 miles since the new year, so I consider this month a win. My demons can suck it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

resilience

This month seems to be flying by, my first 18 days are behind me and I look forward to the days ahead with giddy anticipation. Yet not everything has been sunshine and rainbows. I feel the threat of a dark cloud lingering... Not just because I live in a notoriously cloudy region, but rather the coming of events that will surely test my resolve as I pursue my goals. At a grand total of 25 miles a week and my excitement for each run growing exponentially, this is about the time when the running gods attempt to challenge my commitment by threatening to crush my hopes and dreams.

Okay,  maybe a tad over dramatic... This week I felt an all-to-familiar ache in my foot, a warning from my third metatarsal that a stress fracture is on the horizon. Sure. Why not. The great thing about warnings? They're easy to ignore.

However, being that my intentions are to complete 50 miles of hell in less than 3 months I thought it wise to listen to my pain. So I reluctantly jogged a pitiful mile each day until the aching stopped, which took about 3 days...for now. I suspect I will hear more from my foot soon, so my training will fluctuate greatly over the next few weeks. Every time the universe decides to dump toxic rain all over my running parade, I can't help but sink into a depression fueled by woes, junk food and an endless stream of  "why me" echos. So naturally my mindset began to head south at the thought of yet another injury getting in the way of my goals. 

I have to self-correct this behavior immediately before the inevitable snowball effect. So rather than start sending out invitations to my pity party, I elected to take a more proactive approach to my injury magnetism: I got myself a stability ball, a stability platform, and some rocks (for foot strengthening, not throwing). I will do everything in my power to prepare my body and mind for success, which is going to mean going above and beyond for someone as injury prone as myself.

I am inspired, both by a weekend of watching my track heroes debut at one of the first indoor meets of the season and by this...

These are blossoms... in January. Just as these small flowers fight to stay alive against the winter's chill, I fight to keep my dreams alive in the face of whatever adversity comes my way. Yes, I would love to make my goal of running all 365 days in 2014, but the reality is that this is only a small piece of what I'm trying to accomplish. I have a passion for this sport that motivates and drives me. I dream of national competitions. I dream to inspire others. I dream of realizing my full potential. I dream of greatness. This is what I aspire to, a feeling of accomplishment and self-fulfillment that transcends a resolution. Like the blossoms, I will remain resilient to the obstacles that will surely find me. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

seattle freeze

So I've officially been streaking for 11 days. Only 354 days remaining...no big deal.

It's still too early to experience any life changing epiphanies, spiritual awakenings, or self actualization...but my first few weeks on this journey has been pretty exceptional nonetheless. Spectacular views coupled with good company has made the first 11 days of 2014 pretty memorable.

Moving to a new place is difficult, but the toughest part of my transition has been leaving friends and family behind. The experience has afforded me a great deal of perspective on what it means to be independent. I suffered my first moment of weakness this week, the first time in 3 months that I was wishing I was back home, nestled safely in my comfort zone.

I bought a small bookcase for my house that is in desperate need of furniture, and the gentleman that sold it to me graciously helped me load it into my car. I got home and couldn't get the blasted POS out of my car by myself. After trying for an hour to pry the wretched thing out in the rain, I broke down. I would have driven all the way home to California if I could have, but the stupid dresser pushed my driver seat clear up to the steering wheel basically locking me out. Ready for my grand epiphany? As much as I want to believe that I can do everything on my own, it was made painfully obvious to me that I can't. The furniture/car conundrum proved the most appropriate metaphor for my life... If I have any hope of accomplishing my 365 goal this year (or moving any more furniture) I need to find myself a support system.

So this week has been all about beating the "Seattle freeze" and making the effort to reach out to others. *Bonus* I got to see some cool stuff along the way.

Greenlake in the evening
On the first Sunday of every month, the Oiselle team meets up for a long run. It was incredible to see all the birds that flocked to U Village that morning! Of course, what was supposed to be a 4 mile easy run for me quickly turned into a 6 miler that nearly killed me. Yet it was well worth it, we were graced with such a gorgeous sunrise over the mountains and I got to grab coffee with some pretty fierce runners.

University Village on an early Sunday morning
Greenlake on a rainy afternoon
Discovery Park
To keep it short and sweet, so far so good. I find that running everyday is becoming routine. I'm excited to have found a new running partner and look forward to meeting more awesome people in Seattle's running community.

AR 50 is only a few months away and the nerves are already setting in. I'm a little worried about the 30-mile long runs that await me in the future. Here's to running happy and staying healthy! #streak365