Sunday, February 6, 2011

4 Stages of a Run

Stage 1: Excitement. I lay in bed and think about how much I love running and how I want to run forever. I have to give myself a pep talk to not go too far too fast so I don't get injured like last year. I envision myself running an ultra-marathon on a whim. I feel that delusional good. This stage continues as I put on my favorite running capris (don't I look cute!) and get everything lined up: ipod, gels, water bottle (too cute today for a dorky hydration belt), house key. Even as I stretch, I am already congratulating myself on a run well done. And I haven't even set foot out the door yet.

Stage 2: Reality. About half a mile in my body overpowers all those silly little thoughts I had before I walked out the door. Usually my calves talk first, and then the feet and back chime in. Today the stomach even had something to say.

Calves: Whoa Whoa Whoa. What happened to Sunday Funday? I'm not trying to be all uptight, but this is not what I signed up for on the weekends.
Back: Yeah, I was much happier in bed. All this pavement pounding is making me irritable. Knot what I want on my day off.
Calves: Why does she always do this?
Back: I hate her.
Calves: I hate her too.
Stomach: She makes me sick. So selfish. Where are my bacon and hash browns? I am about to throw this toast right back at her and send her back home.

As they go on like this, I am trying to turn the iPod up to drown out/motivate myself to just stick through it. But they just won't shut up. This is where I get the usually reminder: RUNNING IS HARD.

Stage 3: Battle. The mind is sick of the body whining and complaining. I mean, we just ran a marathon in October for heaven's sake, just suck it up and do the 7 miles! You did 9 last weekend, what's the big deal? This is where we pull out the big guns: mental images of my head of the body of a kenyan running really really fast, the Kool-Aid man bursting through the wall shouting "Oh Yeah", qualifying for the Boston Marathon, running the Boston Marathon, me at my physical worst, me at my physical best last August, the girls with tight abs in Runner's World magazine, my head on Heidi Klum's body as I relax on the beach in Tahiti. This is some powerful stuff. One more block... one more step... don't be a quitter... you can't go to Boston/wear a bikini unless you put the sweat equity in now.
Every time I run, I fight this battle between miles .5 and 2.99. I takes me 3 miles to convince my body that it is a runner's body now and there is no going back. I have been running since 2007. I am a marathon finisher. Why do I still have to convince my body it is a runner's body every time I run?

Stage 4: Victory. Somewhere shortly after mile 3, my body usually gives in. My pace picks up, there's more bounce in my step. When I look at my shadow on the road a see a lean runner, not an awkward chubby girl with too much gear on. Now we have the endorphins, I can convince myself to do one more mile instead of one more block. This is what I run for. The feeling that I am unstoppable. That I won't have to put my face on a Kenyan or Heidi Klum. I am going to have great splits and a rockin bikini body. I can do it. Oddly enough, an inspirational song will usually come on my iPod right when I need it so my mind gets the upper-hand and wins the battle. Today's song was "How you ever gonna know" by Garth Brooks. This is what stoked the coals this morning:

Anything in life worth havin' 
Lord, it has its sacrifice 
But the gift that you're receiving 
Is worth more than a price

Someone I know quotes someone who is probably famous in saying "nothing in life worth doing is easy". Aristotle said, " Excellence is not an act, it is a habit" and the list can go on. You have to fill you mind with this stuff so you have a fully loaded arsenal against those lazy calves, back and stomach. If they keep acting up, I might just punish then with some core training. I bet that will shut them up ;)

I am no longer a beginner runner. I am so far from being elite or even a good runner. I just run. At times, not very well. I have big dreams. I want to be fast. I want to run far. Some days I am not sure how to get there. but then I remember how crazy it is that I was able to get myself this far. For all those bloggers out there who just run, thanks for inspiring me to stay in the game. 2011 is going to be a great year for running!

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