Week #7: “I’m a Beast”

WED | 6M | 6.3M (10:16/MI)
SUN | 12M | 12.2 (10:32/MI)

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.

37 thoughts on “Week #7: “I’m a Beast”

  1. Pingback: Week #8: “So it turns out this isn’t easy” – cat h. bradley

  2. It’s an immutable law of the universe that chafe can only be discovered AFTER you get in the shower. I feel your pain!! Looks like you had another excellent training week. The only thing I conquered this week was the desire to go out and run – wasn’t easy but in the end I managed to convince body and mind that a proper week of rest was necessary (and I don’t think the kids minded daddy being around the WHOLE weekend for once!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Rest sounds amazing Nik.
      My mom used to write my Dad’s schedule on the calendar when we were growing up. She’d write the time that he worked if he was working and then a slash when he was off. When we saw two slashes on the weekend we were always thrilled–I am sure your kids eat up every minute they get to spend with you!
      Funny, my dad was a runner as well. He used to take us to the track on the weekends and we’d have to run a few miles before we could bs around and play. He would run miles and miles around the track. At the end we would do races as well and race each other. It was pretty great.
      Hope you are getting in some chafe-free running this week :).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fabulous post…yes we can surely get stronger and learn a lot along the way. Getting stronger is a fab byproduct of running..stronger mentally and emotionally. Cheers Beast!!!!


  4. Congrats on a great week Cat!! You are beasting it out!! I too feel like those mid-week longish runs are something to celebrate with everything else adulting we have going on!! I was excited that I nailed my 8 miler this week, now let’s hope I can hit 18 tomorrow!!!

    On the chaffing side…I decided I’m throwing out a pair of shorts that I thought I could save til winter, but they have chaffed my lower back twice (pretty much the top of my butt check!)!!! I also gained a few new areas to lube with that 8 miler!! Pretty sure I will be dipping myself in BodyShield for the duration of training!!


  5. Great job, lady! It’s hard work and onyl 1% of all people on this planet of the right amount of dedication, determination, and craziness to to go for it! I’m at a point now in my training where most of my long runs are going to be between 15-20 miles and my mindset is the first few weeks, get the mileage in and get my legs used to it, then the last weeks, I’ll work on cleaning it all up. Beastmode!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Girl, YOU are definitely a beast! You have been tearing it up lately, so proud of you! Every post i see of yours it’s so clear that all the hard work and eating/running discipline is paying off! You are one of my inspirations for sure–you and Maris ;). x

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I absolutely LOVE this post! Everything you said is so true! Way to be in beast mode this week! I feel like this week has been especially great for me too in the running/marathon training department. Running is so much like life, where you have ups and downs! And as long as you put in the hard work and train for a race or marathon you just have to trust in the process and know that you can do it because you trained. Do you keep a training log (outside of the blog)? I find that it helps to look back and see how certain runs went and how I was feeling. My husband is really good at keeping running logs. He has them dating back to like 2011. It’s so much fun looking at them and seeing how he’s improved and what kind of training works. Anyway, keep up the great work and training!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Mary! Yeah I can totally see how the training log would be helpful. I am not really doing more than the blog and then my log on the fridge–but no feelings are going up there, just numbers. That is so awesome that your hubs has them from back so far, I imagine it is so informative to his training now. Also interesting to see how things change as we age. You’re so lucky your hubs is a runner as well (mine is too!), I love being able to talk marathon training to death at home :).
      So glad you are having a strong week as well! Enjoy the weekend and any runs you have planned! x

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hanna

    Haha I got underarm chafing this week too! Summer training is the worst. I’ve had more chafing in these past couple months than in the rest of my 4 years of running combined.

    “Beast” makes me think of our cats, because I like to tease them and call them little beasts.

    It’s so nice to get to that point in training when you are seeing real noticeable progress. Nice job!


    1. Thanks Hanna! I love summer training–I’m a weirdo who loves the heat. But you are right, definitely the worst for chafing! The under the arm is SO painful!

      It’s def nice to have reached this point in training. Of course this week that i am in right now has felt a lot tougher–but getting used to the fact that that is just the way it goes!! Hope your training is going well. I will hop on over to your blog soon to see! x


      1. Hanna

        Honestly, my training cycle has literally been: good week, bad week, good week, bad week, repeat repeat repeat. I’ve gotten so used to it that the bad weeks don’t bother me because I know the next one will be good!


  8. qplourde

    Yeah! For me, I haven’t noticed my speed improving too much on some of my runs, but I notice that my breathing is so much better and I just feel stronger when I run. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Q! You know i think the breathing getting better is so key–maybe even more than speed! Such an indicator that your fitness level is improving, I love that! Mine has gotten a lot better as well, as long as I remember to take it slow, especially on the early parts of runs. Glad to hear your training is going well! x

      Liked by 1 person

  9. i’m seeing parallels in recovery and running, discipline being foremost, but also having a realistic perspective. a bad day can be followed by a good day, and you learn that yes, there will be bad days, but overall, you’re making progress. patience, strength, and discipline.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah man Joseph–you are so right on! The amount of parallels i draw everyday between recovery, running, and writing, seems unending. I think you are right -discipline is really at the forefront of all of those. But also that bad day can be followed by a good day theme is SO imperative to me keeping going and staying the course with all three of these. Love your insights, always. Thanks Joseph!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. 4 seconds per mile off your pace is great! When I first started running long distance, I didn’t see one or two seconds off per mile as a huge deal, but it is. Congrats!
    ‘Swimmingly’…. I have never heard that one before!
    Great work! Be a Beast! Happy Friday!


    1. Thanks Amanda! Yeah it doesn’t seem like much when I write it or say it out loud, but it feels like big progress when I’m running it. I can feel all it takes to get just that little bit faster.
      Isn’t swimmingly as great word? 🙂 I have heard it before but I got it from Ali (I think you read his blog too?!). He’s from the UK, they have all the good words!
      Happy Friday hon, enjoy the weekend! x

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Haha definitely not in beast mode, but I feel much the same as you described in a lot of the rest of this post! The confidence gleaned from mid-week runs lengthening and feeling good! I felt the same way after a 6-miler this week! And the same about hill workouts. It’s not like I look great doing the hill, but from the top I definitely feel like a badass and the rest of the downhill or cool-down feels like cake and I totally channel my inner beast! Keep at it! Love reading your stuff 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Ash! I just laughed out loud reading your comment “It’s not like I look great doing the hill.” It made me think of this HUGE hill near my house that i often use to end my runs on Wednesdays. It’s not even a hill it’s literally like a straight up incline–I won’t encounter anything close to it during the marathon–but it’s also pretty long and such a significant challenge, I love adding it in and being able to watch my progress on it as the weeks go by. Your comment made me laugh because I am POSITIVE I look CRAZY going up that hill. It’s the end of my run so I am pushing as hard as I can, and I pump my arms like crazy, and I even yell sometimes–like for real, that hill is when the BEAST really comes out! The people on their way to work walking down the hill must get quite a kick out of me!
      Glad your training is going well–thanks again for sharing! x


  12. love the beast! The big cats are my favorites. As you hubby says, many times it is about showing up and putting in the miles. I’ve come to appreciate the value of it. Brilliant beast workouts are fun, and yet I’m becoming more impressed when I am willing to show up on the hard days, when nothing is smooth or easy. That said, I also at this point in my life have recognized that there are indeed days when not training is the healthier choice. Figure skating really taught me that. Don’t practice spins if you’re already dizzy, it won’t end well. Pussycat day.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love the big cats too. Getting one tattooed on my arm soon actually!
      I am fascinated that you are/were a figure skater. I am sure that is a unique discipline that offers all sorts of lessons. “Don’t practice spins if you’re already dizzy.” I think that’s advice that’s helpful off the ice as well! x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. took up figure skating at 46. Not jumping too much any more, but I still like to spin and do footwork. now the challenge is balancing skating with triathlon training, blogging and the rest of my life! Wow on the tattoo–you are braver than I. I avoid all non-essential needles as much as I can. Of course, a tat could be in the essential category.

        Liked by 1 person

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