Yes, I am human too.
I have always been pretty good at hiding the tough stuff deep inside of me and building up a strong emotional front even when things are really hard. I’m pretty good at being the cheerleader when on the inside all I’d rather do is sit on the sidelines. I have always been the “mother hen” (ironic) taking care of other people. However, this year I have had to let go of that in order to lean on others for emotional support so that I can heal.
My Boston Marathon training is going incredibly well. I am feeling so strong and am recovering well after my workouts as the mileage continues to increase. I am excited to see what my body can do come race day.
This week however I am struggling with my emotional strength and trying not to let it affect my mental toughness. I am always a competitor even when I am training. I am a perfectionist and want to complete every training run matching the desired splits of my training plan. This perfectionism and competitive drive however can sometimes get in the way of emotional well being. I need to allow myself room to continue to feel the emotions that are still swirling around about the Boston Marathon last year.
On Saturday my friend Bridget and I went out for a 2 Hour training run which required dropping the pace for the last half hour. The temperature at the start of the run was -4 and my legs felt tired from carrying my daughter up the J Bar at Burke Mountain at her weekly skiing lessons (It was essentially like doing a squat or wall sit all the way up the ski hill!). Bridget felt tired too and the temperature did not entice us out the door. We began the run and were immediately met by an enormous hill with a cold wind blowing in our faces. My feet felt like frozen blocks of ice which required a stop to put some toe warmers into my shoes (I never do that so this tells you how cold it was).
We ran and talked and laughed as the hills greeted us one cold hill after another. I was feeling down but incredibly thankful for my running partner. I was thankful for our friendship. Bridget makes me laugh uncontrollably even as we are running. Our laughter was contagious and lifted us along. We commiserated with each other for how slow and miserable the run felt yet we slogged on together. I was thankful for the bluebird sky and untouched fields blanketed with sparkling snow.
Realizing that we only had half an hour left in the run Bridget took on the role of coach and instructed that we would now be picking up the pace. I grumbled and told her I wasn’t excited at all but she said that we would do it and complete it together. We picked up the pace, and our conversation became focused silence. I focused on moving forward and quickened my pace to match Bridget’s. I focused less on my negative energy and listened to the sounds of her energy and pushed through my negativity. She “lied” to me several times in that last half hour . . ., ” only one more hill she’d say,” and we laughed know this was not true but with the mood lightened we picked it up and pushed to the top of the last hill and let go on the downhill.
Finishing this training run was important because it was a tough one. Not all of your runs will be easy. Sometimes that will hurt physically and sometimes you will struggle with mental toughness. This run reminded me how to work through a hard run. Bridget gave me the support that I needed to be stronger and we were able to push each other. Bridget won’t be running with me on race day at the Boston Marathon but she will be with me in spirit and I will think of all of our running together especially when the running becomes hard. Running may not be a team sport but it does take other people to help you to become faster and stronger.
It is okay to have a tough run.
I am thankful for my “team” that stands behind me as I move forward towards Boston in April.
Thank you for being there and lets get out there and be strong together! Run fast, run far, and run strong.