17 Miles of Self Doubt

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will” ~Karim Seddiki

Thanks to everyone who commented on my “The Day My 8-Year-Old Went Psycho” post from last week. The saga isn’t over quite yet, and there’s enough for a Part II, so stay tuned. Is it horrible that those of you who shared stories of your kids freaking out for no apparent reason made me feel better? Well, they did, so THANKS!

On Saturday, I had an 8 mile run. Because it was nice and cool outside, I felt good and ended up going 8:30ish overall pace. I was pretty happy with that, but was anxious about Sunday’s 17 miler on the schedule. I did find it interesting that my body is definitely adapting to the endurance. Just a month ago, 8 miles would make me tired – doable for sure – but wouldn’t be on the fun side of running. Now, 8 miles is almost a walk in the park, a part of the routine, and actually FUN. I ran around my neighborhood, which can get really boring, but it was enjoyable and I felt good when I was done. Hallelujah on that one!

On Sunday, I got up early, ate a peanut butter sandwich, drank some orange juice, and stretched.  I was nervous since I knew that running with one of my friends would end up pushing me a little faster than what I planned on going. I figured I would just do my best to keep up, but wasn’t going to push the long run just to keep up. I was going to run 4 miles on my own and meet up with the girls at 8. It was cold (for us in coastal NC), so I brought everything I owned for cold weather, and some.

I ran my four solo miles as planned, and they felt pretty good.  I ran 11 more with (and some slightly behind because I just couldn’t keep up) two awesome ladies. Then I ran two more solo.  And this is the workout where the self doubt crept in.  I worried about the marathon in March, I worried about my shin splints coming back after resuming speed work, I worried that I wouldn’t be able to do my Yasso repeats on Tuesday (SIX at 7:20’s???? Uh…muh…gawd (double parentheses required – you’d think I was supposed to do them at 6:30’s or something)), I worried I’d embarrass myself at the marathon, I worried I wouldn’t be able to finish the thing at all.  How can I do this? Why am I doing this? Don’t I know that I’m not good at running marathons the way I want to run them? Look how many times I’ve failed? What “lesson” am I going to learn at this one? I’m going to look like a huge fool at this race. Who do I think I am wanting to qualify for Boston again? And that’s the gist of the conversation I had with myself for almost 17 miles.  Almost 17.

Do you want to punch me in the throat as much as I do? Yeah. Because fear and loathing and doubting works really well for people, doesn’t it?

As it is for many, running is therapy for me. I come up with some of my best ideas, I work out anger, I think about a lot of things when I run, especially on long runs. I frequently “Dr. Phil” myself or other people (“How’s that workin’ for ya?”). Sunday’s 17 mile run was my therapy session, and I came away feeling…wha… wha…more ma-TURE maybe? I don’t know. But I talked a lot about the fear and loathing. I let it come into my head, but I talked it back out. By the end of the 17 miles, I had gone full circle from a terrified runner who was fearing the concept of FAILURE yet again to a runner who has failed before but will never, EVER give up. It’s just not in my DNA to give up. I have dreams, I have goals, and I won’t give up seeking them as long as I’m physically able. And why should I? Because I might fail?  I’ve failed multiple times, I’ve even failed with flair, and I’ve always come away humble, thankful, and thirsty for more. I thought it’s a definite possibility that I won’t BQ in my marathon. And what would I do if that happened? What’s the WORST that would happen? Not making my time goal? Been there, done that. I have successes and I have failures. All I need to do at this point is to trust my training, do my best, get out of my own head, and remember why I’m doing this – because I love to run.

The doubt and uncertainty will undoubtedly linger just below the surface as I continue to train, but I’ll keep them at bay and not let them into my head as they have been. This marathon training is a mental game, as many of you know, and the race, even more mental. I cannot allow negativity in. There is simply no room for it.

So how did my 17 miles end up? Besides being pretty cold and sweaty at the same time, they turned out well. Using my Garmin, the average pace was 8:46 – right where it needed to be. Sure, it was hard at times, but 17 miles is hard! I went home, poured a cuppa coffee (actually, I think my husband did) and put my legs into our 42 degree pool. It was horrible. I could only stand 5 minutes of that torture. My feet hurt so bad, I decided to just get out and take a very long, hot shower. That was awesome. I wasn’t too sore the rest of the day, but I was tired.

Cold. Very very cold.

Cold. Very very cold.

On Monday, the weather was very different from Sunday – warm. Strange. I had a 4 mile recovery run in a gentle rain, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I wasn’t sore. It felt good. I decided to go ahead and soak in the cold pool again, just to prevent inflammation. I’ve increased my mileage pretty quickly, and I do not want to get “regular” shin splints because of it, so I’ll do anything to not get an injury. It was a very different experience from soaking just one day prior, and a more pleasant one for sure.

Cold but not nearly as painfully cold as the day before.

Cold but not nearly as painfully cold as the day before.

So where does this leave me now? I’m not feeling the “I am woman, hear me roar” ringing in my ears. But I’m not listening to the crap that my mind can spew out faster than my 8-year-old can find reasons to wear his old, dirty, stinky coat that needs to be washed. I have a lot of work to do, and that’s ok. Time to power up and remember why I’m doing this.

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How about you? Do you get in a funk when you know you’re behind in training? How do you get out of it?

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Categories: Boston Marathon, go for your dreams, marathon, no fear, quintiles wrightsville beach marathon, running with friends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “17 Miles of Self Doubt

  1. Kill those thoughts!! You ARE 100% capable and there should be NO doubt that success will be yours!! Mind over matter 😉

  2. I just love your attitude. Failed with flair, lol. I’ve started bucking myself up when I’ve missed my time goals by realizing that I’m frustrated but NOT discouraged each time. I think the more experience, the more stumbling blocks we hit, the better runner and people we become.

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