DAY | PLAN | ACTUAL
MON | REST | REST
TUE | 3M/STRENGTH | 3.1M (8:49/MI)/STRENGTH
WED | 6M | 6.3M (10:16/MI)
THU | 3M/STRENGTH | 3.1M HILL INT (9:43/MI)/STRENGTH
FRI | REST | REST
SAT | YOGA | BIKRAM90
SUN | 12M | 12.2 (10:32/MI)
TOTAL |24 MILES | 24.7 MILES
I have a friend who’s about 6 months in to trying to get sober. About 4 months ago, she was having a really hard time, and I was talking to her after a meeting, trying to bolster her a bit. The thing about recovery that can really suck is that everything feels new. When you medicate yourself with drugs or alcohol or food–or whatever other drug of choice, you take the real feeling away from everything. When you take the drug away, you’re flooded with a million emotions and sensations and it can get really overwhelming. In the beginning, a lot of us aren’t sure we can handle it. We think, “Well now I understand why I drank, I’m not cut out for real life–I’m not cut out for anything!”
What I told my friend that day was simple: baby steps. I told her she could move slowly, that she didn’t have to try to conquer the world–or all of her fears at one time time. I also told her that when she does accomplish something or push through an obstacle, she should acknowledge it and celebrate it. I believe I said to her, “Even if all that celebration is is patting yourself on the chest and yelling, “I’m a fucking beast!”, it’s worth doing. I don’t know that my advice was worth anything but I was happy that my instruction made her laugh and smile, and even repeat the mantra to herself…I’m a fucking beast!
I don’t know what it is about the word “beast”, I just love it. I use it when I feel powerful, and that’s how I felt this week in training. After feeling just the opposite, at least mentally, in Week 6, it was an extremely welcome showing of resilience and strength. I was really happy with my pace and overall energy in three out of my four runs for the week. I shaved 4 seconds per mile off of my 5k speed interval workout. That may not seem like a lot, but little bits of progress is almost always how I roll so it felt right in keeping with my efforts. Also, besides some underarm chafing that was painfully discovered as hot shower water hit my skin after my run, Sunday’s 12 miler was glorious. (I’m all about the #sportsbrasquad but I’m gonna have to step up my #glide game in that area!)
Running is truly magnificent. Whether you’re training for a marathon or on your first leg of a couch to 5k app, the sport offers so much space for growth and confidence building. We can get better. We can get stronger. Running makes this clear, while improvement can be much harder to see in other disciplines. When I first looked at my training plan, I felt a bit anxious about the midweek runs getting longer. Added mileage on the weekends is not too much of a problem, but the weekdays carry a much heavier load with work and so much else on my to-do list, and on my mind. When I’m not training, weekday runs are usually 3 miles–5 at the most if I’m working out some sort of frustration. To feel as light and as strong as I did on my 6 mile run on Wednesday was so heartening. It told me that my conditioning was really improving, that my body was acclimating to everything I’ve been asking it to do. That is such a reassuring feeling.
One might think that the slog of a hill-interval run I had on Thursday would send my confidence packing but really, just the opposite happened. A blogger friend of mine commented the other day that we learn a lot more about ourselves in the tough weeks than when things are going “swimmingly”. My great run on Wednesday came after a really mentally taxing Tuesday, so when Thursday was a struggle, I was able to look past it quickly and feel confident that more great runs were in my future. My hubs is kind of the best at picking me up after tough runs. He always tells me, “If you get the mileage in, it’s a win.” While I’m not usually that easy on myself, I take comfort in this idea when it suits me–i.e. after tough runs!
I love that marathon training is constantly about surprising myself. I’m capable of so much more than I think I am and this challenge brings that to light almost every day. Sure, plenty of the runs are hard–but something being hard is no longer linked to not being able to do it. Even more, the hard makes me want to do it. My thinking has inherently changed, and undoubtedly, I have running to thank for that.
Who’s been in beast mode this week? Anybody feeling especially badass after something they conquered? I wanna know all about it!
header image: lisa h.