Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ten Miles of Clarity

I have been fighting the burnout for awhile now and came to the realization that something has to give. I went down the list of items that are causing me stress and the only one I can reasonably eliminate was the half-marathon training. I haven't been able to put in the miles and the speedwork I need to to be able to have a successful race in Eugene. I have been pretty stressed by this and a few people suggested that "hey, you don't have to do this race." This solution did not sit well with me. I contemplated just embracing the suck and doing the race but allowing myself to tank it. This also didn't feel quite right.

So last night, I went out on a 9-miler that I decided to turn into a 10-miler at the last minute. At my speed that is about two hours of running and two hours of plodding along gives you a lot of time to think. Between listening to verses of "The Humpty Dance" and the soaring strains of the "Rocky" theme I came to a realization. I love running. It makes me feel good. It is part of who I am now. It energizes me and gives me an immediate feeling of accomplishment. But I don't have to beat myself up and grind myself into the ground to do this or any race. I made a deal with myself that I will give the training everything I have to give but be OK with the fact that everything I have to give isn't very much right now.

It is amazing to me how such a little mental shift can make such a big difference. I felt immediately lighter. If I have the time and the energy to do a full week's workout, great. If I can't manage to fit it all in that is OK too. I will do what I am able to do, hold off on worrying about PRs for the time being and just enjoy the excitement of race day. Once school is done I can re-focus my energy and see what I am capable of then.

And it was really only nine miles of clarity and one of "Ouch, ouch, ouch. I hurt. Ow. Longest mile ever. Hmmm...that's a different pain. Am I there yet?"

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