Torture Report: Little by Little

(L)  I have returned to Colorado and the life of training.  I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be until I moved my oldest out of her apartment…on the third floor.  Three days later my legs are still tired and sore.  It’s embarrassing to even admit knowing I have 14 weeks to get it together.  I need to start where I am and if I could run a half marathon a month ago I am not as bad off as I think I am.  Right?


So, little by little I have begun to train again. Besides a day of stairs I have done a little yoga, some weights and one 3-mile run/walk. Give me a few weeks and I will be fully back in the game.  Besides G, who continually puts me to shame with her daily dose of double digits, I now have my middle daughter upping the ante. She called me yesterday to tell me she is up to 5 miles. Talk about feeling the pressure everywhere I turn.  Oh and to add insult to injury, G sent me a note with a different training plan.  The note reads:

“I had this in my files.  I’ve used it several times.  It’s a much softer start and you can easily cut weeks out since we don’t actually have 26 weeks.  Take a look, you’ll see that it will ease you into the training.”

Now don’t get me wrong. I need easy, I need to cut to the quick of training and I need help, but my self-esteem is taking a beating.  I know, I have nobody to blame but myself so I’m really not complaining.  I’m just saying I have received the message loud and clear, I’m home and I am training.

So, with my calendar, my training plan and my new shoes I am off and running.  See you next week torture report!

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(G): While I am inspired by others’ success, more often I am, strangely, inspired by their struggles, even utter failures. It takes courage to pull yourself out of defeat and start again. It takes guts to risk failing once. It takes courage, guts and grit to risk failing — again.
I came upon the weekly podcast Running on Om with Julia Hanlon and her interview with Sally McRae (You may have heard me blathering about her).
She interviews runners, yogis and the like who move in the mind body connection.
What I love most about these interviews, so far, is that it’s really more of a stream of consciousness from the athletes. They are so open. They share their stories so fully. They also share their failures just as willingly– maybe even more so.

Listening to Magda Boulet, who is the 2015 Western States Endurance Run 100-mile women’s winner, talk about missteps and pre-race “butterflies” in her stomach is refreshing. Being validated in a strange way when accomplished ultrarunner Devon Yanko vulnerably reveals the mental monsters that can chase her for miles.

As she declared sometimes it’s “choosing not to quit!”
And being taken on a journey as I raptly attend to Sally McRae describe herself as someone who is always doing more. Even as a teenager, coming home from soccer practice and continuing her efforts for a few more hours. The drive to go further, the drive to be better are who she is.

That amazes me because I don’t really have that drive innately. I can work hard but I can also blow off a workout and watch TV and eat too much pizza.

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For the next few months, I am working to try on a different style of me. I have four races in 96 days. I didn’t plan it that way on purpose but that’s how the calendar worked out. I am committing to training hard; hard in a way I’ve not trained before. I am not simply putting in the time. I am not holding back to ensure I can finish the day’s miles. I am logging hard, purposeful, on-task workouts. And equally as important I am committed to rest and recovery.
I can only train so hard for so long, at my best, if I don’t rest and recover.
This week, I pushed on and almost every day I wasn’t sure I could. I continue to have audible conversations with myself when it gets tough, when I want to quit, when I am not sure I can do it. I talk to myself. I talk out loud for anyone to hear. I really don’t care.
And what’s interesting is that the voice and words I use out loud are much nicer than what I can only hear in my mind. Maybe I should talk to myself, out loud, more often.

I hear myself saying “C’mon. You can do this!”
“Stay focused.”
That’s new for me, too.

Every workout I’ve added something to make it a bit harder, either mentally or physically. Sometimes both.
On the weekends, I’ve intentionally gone out in the heat of the day to train. Not because I enjoy the heat but because my upcoming races will linger into the afternoon hours and I want to be ready. I’ve done some things in the last few weeks that pushed me just outside the fringes of my comfort zone. I’m learning to embrace the heat and the humidity– my longtime nemeses.
It’s why on Sunday when my husband suggested we run hard the last half mile I said, yes. Normally, I’d balk, resist or watch him run hard while the distance between us grew larger. But this week, I took the challenge, ran as hard as I could (still trailing John despite my best efforts) and when I climbed in the car my tank was empty.
While my events are shorter by comparison and my caliber of skill and talent pale dramatically, I am inspired to hear how the great stumble and get back up because it’s still hard from where they are. Maybe harder because they have an audience.
I am comforted that they, too, find themselves with miles ahead and a head full of doubt. I love to be reminded that adversity and struggle are what make us better in sport and in life.
For the next 96 days, I intend to push, strive and be open to what happens. Every day won’t be great but my intention is not to quit on myself. I will choose not to quit.
And then I will take a nap because every warrior, even an amateur like me, needs a rest.

Sunshine & Sarcasm,

Lowi & G


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