Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This Is For All The Type A, Ridiculously Competitive Personalities Out There...

Give yourself a BREAK!
At 1:00am this morning, I was wide awake.  My throat hurt, my body ached, and in five short hours, I was supposed to be on a  3 1/2 hour trail run.  For the next two hours, I went back and forth, in and out of sleep, worried and negotiating with myself.  The conversation went something like this:
"Your G.C. run is exactly one month from today.  You need all the time you can get on the trails."
"Yeah, but I feel like CRAP!"
"Stop whining!  Suck it up!  Get through the run and then take some extra vitamin C and a nap!"
"What if it gets worse?"
"Get over it.  You can't take time off.  Take time off on April 24th."

I am really ridiculous sometimes.
The truth is... when I set my sights on something,  I often put an "all or nothing" attitude into reaching my goals, and as a result, can become a structured, painfully inflexible, rigid, irrational self-masochist with tunnel vision.  I yell at myself regularly.  Whining is not an option.  Giving up is not an option.

And here's an interesting thought...  For all those who have the "other" conversation in their heads, the one that results in immobility and the excuse to NOT push themselves to take that first step and start that thing they're passionate about---it's really not so different, is it?  Same self-destructive result. Hmmmm.

Lesson learned--over and over and over again.  When all the guts and commitment and work and determination throw off the balance of life, health and future, it's time to take a good hard look.  And it's not a pretty picture.  All the signs will eventually be pointing to a picture of a very disappointed gutsy girl who will NOT be able to run her goal of a R2R2R in the Grand Canyon in April.  All because she's not willing to back down when it's most important.  The reality is, one day off---even three days off will not hurt my training like my irrational side believes.   And in fact, as I possibly teeter on the border of overtraining, my body is most likely craving a break.

So, my rational, level-headed, intelligent side won today.  I took a day off.  I soaked in an bath of epsom salt, did some studying I've been neglecting, and ate and hydrated well.  And tonight?  My body is thanking me.  My irrational, competitive monster side is sulking in a corner somewhere.  Good riddance.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


As I get closer and closer to my Grand Canyon run (April 23!) , several things of note have taken place recently:

*My training runs have gotten longer and longer, which means, I've had to rearrange my day a LOT to accommodate for time on the trails.  This also means that I have relatively NO social life right now.  My day consists of:  running, studying, working, eating, and sleeping.   It's a little sad saying "no"  to raging weekends, but at the same time, eh...

*I am constantly hungry.  And I am CRANKY when I'm hungry.  So, when I'm hungry, I really am serious...I NEED food NOW, or else...!

*I desperately need a good night's sleep, EVERY night.  Not that I need MORE sleep.  I've always needed 8-9 hrs anyway.  It's just that now I can't recover from a late night AND get a good run in the morning.  (Sadly, this means that I won't be celebrating St. Patrick's Day the way I did LAST year.)            

*I take recovery EXTREMELY seriously.  My training runs need to be high quality right now, so the way I treated my body last month, by skipping flexibility work and doubling up on strength work, is a definite no-no.   What I do for my body AFTER training is JUST as crucial as how I treat it DURING.  This new regimen has consisted of:  Recoverite (by Hammer Nutrition) immediately after a run to replenish and repair,  a really lengthy session of flexibility work that involves some static AND active flexibility training, 3 days a week of epsom salt soaks to release toxins and alleviate muscle soreness, and when I'm lucky, a good 'ol massage!  I'd like to add some yoga in this mix, but good lord...when?????

*I talk to myself... A LOT, when I'm training.  I don't have the perfect run every day and in fact, at least once a week, I need to really dig down deep and motivate myself with positive self-talk and a little reminder of WHY I'm doing this.  Sometimes I really like the hard times, because when it's's almost too easy.  It's autopilot and I don't think I appreciate what I'm doing when it's easy.  When it's HARD, however, it's a pretty cool lesson in NOT taking my abilities for granted.  I've learned, during these hard days, that I CAN push through.  I already know that for every difficult mile, there will be two that are awesome.  I also know that the feeling I get AFTER I'm done is incomparable to anything else in my life...that feeling of accomplishment.  Of the pride in knowing I'm freakin' TOUGH enough to conquer these crazy mountain trails and take myself to places most people only see in photographs!  THAT is enough to motivate me in tough times.  I LOVE this ability and I am so incredibly GRATEFUL to have it!