“Yeah, well it doesn’t like you very much either!” shouts Spike from the living room.
Of course he’s just trying to lighten my mood, but as I leaned against the shower wall, the water washing away the salty remnants of my first hill workout in three weeks, I thought he might just be on to something.
With all the pain and frustration I’ve been dealing with and trained thru over the last 7 weeks, its no wonder I have such a rotten disposition when it comes to marathon training these days. Gone are the joyous, pain-free runs of training past, in their place struggling death marches laced with expletives and bargaining with myself and legs to even finish a workout have become the norm. How can one expect success with those kind of odds stacked up against you?
I found myself commiserating with Jill as she confessed to beating herself up, putting herself down and placing unnecessary pressure on herself. By the end of the post I was convinced she had been hiding in the bushes during my hill workout this morning; listening to me degrade myself during my mile warm up as I trudged along a full minute slower than normal, wincing in pain… convinced that she had looked on as I stood at the invisible edge at the top of the
mountain hill, berating myself before I’d even begun for being so scared to put one foot in front of the other and start my first repeat…
Worse yet, I felt like she had overheard me last night as I talked myself out of running, then proceeded to feel guilty the rest of the evening for both skipping the workout and for eating the candy out of the conveniently located candy bowl beside me.
“What are you so scared of? What happened to “Hills are for Hero’s” huh?”
… and so on. I ask, how can one expect success with that kind of baditude?
Jill’s post reminded me of something very important; this isn’t my first tango with Negative Nancy.
Rereading that post just shy of a year later I found myself feeling a sense of Déjà vu. While the sentiment is the same, the self doubt is significantly worse. Negative Nancy tells me I should be kicking @ss and taking names like I did during the Gasparilla training cycle, not p*ssy footing around scared of running a few hill repeats or experiencing pain worse then that of my first go round at marathon training! This is my third training cycle for crying out loud!
But then I remind myself that I basically walked from the Chicago Marathon Finish Line right into Gasparilla training. I had an amazing base and was still riding the high of fresh victory. I hadn't had lingering injuries, a meager base nor was I struggling through huge life changes. Sure I had a few rough patches, but I fought through each with unrelenting ferocity. This go ‘round however, I've felt like I've been fighting a losing battle right from the start.
And that’s when it hit me; I've been stuck in a downward spiral of self-destruction for months.
WARNING: If I haven’t been brutally honest enough for you up to this point, brace yourselves.
All this inner revelation lead me to investigate the origins of not only this training cycle but also my negative disposition. All signs pointed to the events leading up to and directly following my eventual exodus from the
The stress of it all gnawed away at me like a parasite; dealing with an uncomfortable living situation for two months prior, leaving behind all I knew and loved, finding a new job in a horrible economy, beginning a new chapter of an exclusive long distance relationship, a nagging Lankle pain that persisted into a real injury.
Then I actually moved. Without a job lined up.
Now granted I secured a job remarkably fast by all standards, but that month of unemployment took its toll on my savings, spirit and mental health. As if moving cross country and starting your life over isn’t hard enough, add to that being unemployed and injured. With each passing day my savings dwindled and so did my confidence. I cried often. I felt useless. I missed my friends. My running became almost non-existent due to an unexplainable injury. I started a marathon training cycle with aspirations for a BQ attempt on a flimsy base. In short, I was teetering dangerously close to my breaking point but hiding it all behind a smile. Fake it til you make it right?
It was when I felt my lowest that the phone finally rang and I landed the gig I had rigorously interviewed for. Immediately upon start I threw myself into the work to regain a sense of purpose, letting the excitement mask my pain without ever dealing with any of the other issues I’d been having. It was then that the injury took on a life of its own (D@mn Leg Gremlins!!!), stealing the spotlight and with it the short lived facade that everything was OK.
(It can not go unmentioned that I was blessed to have the love and support of Spike through all of this. He went out of his way to help me with everything; he joked with me when he saw I was down, turned a blind eye to the tears he knew I didn't want him to see and held me during the ones I did, he kept me busy when he was home to take my mind off the disappointments and the void in my heart, he gave me pep talks before and after interviews and even put me in my place when my pride got the best of me when I refused to ask for help. Had I of dealt with any of this in a healthy manner, rather than by ignoring it, I would have also had the support of my friends, but I chose to mostly shield them from these feelings because I didn't want to trouble them. They were worried enough about me and having a a hard enough time letting me go as it was, why add to that?)
Then today I got the reality check I needed to FINALLY trace my inner demons back to their roots and address them. I realized I must accept that I am not, nor will I ever be perfect. Not in life or on the training plan. I am after all, only human. While I realize admitting all of this won't magically heal me, I do think that sometimes you need to look inside yourself to determine why the outside hurts and this post is my first step towards a baditude adjustment. Moving forward, I will continue to be realistic about my short term running goals and focus on getting healthy. Big thanks to Jill for the compelling post and to ya'll for listening. Even bigger thanks to Spike for... well everything.
Tomorrow is an exciting day friends, tomorrow I start anew. No more hiding my fears, beating myself up or wallowing in self doubt. I will face each day head on knowing that I WILL get through this injury and toe a Starting Line; whether it be October 17th or otherwise.