How Do You Eat An Elephant?

This post is brought to you by one ass kicking, brutally honest conversation with Allison. Thank you thank you thank you for getting me to shut up and get going.

During this conversation, Allison said something that got my wheels turning. How do you eat an elephant? I promptly replied “One bite at a time.” because that’s the answer.

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But it got me thinking because as I started my long run, I was feeling a little intimidated. I know I’ve done so much already, but I’m starting to feel worn out and tired. Seeing that long run scheduled on my calendar was just a little daunting.

So I guess today I’m rephrasing the question. How do you finish a long run?

You put on your shoes, pick a playlist and step out the door. One foot in front of the other at whatever pace makes you comfortable – or uncomfortable, depending on the kind of week you’ve had.

Allison also reminded me to be grateful. Be grateful for what I’ve accomplished and what I can do, even if I don’t feel it is enough to accomplish my goals. With two weeks to go before my half, the nerves are settling in hard. My last couple long runs have been just short of painful, and I had to end this weekend’s 12 miler early because my trusty old achilles started hurting badI didn’t want to push it, so I settled for 9 miles in the sunshine. But still, I’m trying to be more grateful for what I have accomplished in such a short amount of time. I’ve been working very hard, and in the span of three months I’ve gone from 2 mile runs to run/walking 9 miles twice now.

This week starts my tapering runs. Today I did 3 miles on the treadmill, plus some weights and abs, which I haven’t done since I finished boot camp at the end of December. Tomorrow I’m hoping to get out again and do 4.5 or 5 miles. This weekend is a slow 8 miler (maybe at White Rock Lake if the weather is nice?) and I’m actually looking forward to it.

I also got word that my awesome friend Ashley will be playing with her band on the half mile course in New Orleans! I’m really excited to see her again and hear her play (sort of) for the first time!

Two weeks until I run 13.1. #gulp

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The Healing Power of Running

I’ll be honest. It’s been a tough couple of weeks. First my grandfather passed away, and then I lost my job. Now, as I begin this new chapter in my life, I’m finding I’m taking the lessons I’ve learned on the pavement to heart.

“I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.”
-Arthur Blank

I don’t want to dwell on the past. I want to focus on the tasks at hand. Going on interviews, getting my runs in, preparing for New Orleans and being with my family. That is what’s important to me now.

In the mean time, here is what I look like when going for a run in 30 degrees with 20 mph winds. I don’t wish these conditions on my worst enemy.

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I don’t think Erin knew how soon I would need the headband she got me for Christmas. Also busting out my still-technically-inaccurate Polar Dash Finisher fleece.

For the record, I’m wearing compression pants, a sweat wicking tank (adidas), a tech tee, sweatshirt and fleece. The hood of my sweatshirt was up for the majority of the run because the wind was insane. If you are wondering about a birthday present for me, I could really use some warmer running pants.

But the determination I used to push through this run tells me that I will get over these obstacles. I will be stronger, I will be better. I will finish this run. Mile by mile, I can feel my life return to normal. Mile by mile, I am regaining control of my life.

Running Song of the Week

I love Fitz & the Tantrums and this week they made me think. Tell Me What Ya Here For. What are you here for?

Hard Truths

Going into the third week of official training, I’m beginning to come face to face with a couple really hard realities about running. I’m sure there are more, and I’m sure I will learn more about them as I train, but here is what I realized during this weekend’s long run.

  1. Running is not fun. There. I said it. There were several points during yesterday’s long run where I thought to myself “this is not pleasant. nope. no fun at all.” Training for an event in this sport is hard, because sometimes, it sucks. No one told me this. Granted, it is a great feeling when you finish, reaching your goal, even if it was just to finish a small training run. But no, right now, running is not fun for me. Still, it is something I want to do, something I think I can do, and that’s what keeps me going.
  2. You’ll never be at 100%. Queue evil laugh. Thanks for that realization, Erin. I’m coming to terms with the fact that it is only going to get harder going forward, and that tightness in my calves may never go away completely (maybe on February 3rd?). But again, this is still something I want to to, something I think I can do. The feeling of pushing my body past what I think my limits are is almost addicting at this point.four miles sunday

So I mentioned above that yesterday I had my long run. 4.4 miles in the books. It went pretty well I think. I was pretty tight for the first half of the run, but as I got past the mental block of the numbers and the pain, I got into a smoother rhythm and was able to finish out pretty strong I think. I’m really focusing on finding that happy medium between my sprinting pace (between 8 and 9:00 per mile) and a walk. I think if I can find that comfortable in-between pace, I’ll be set for the distances I need to cover.

Running Song of the Week:

I’m also going to try and share with y’all my favorite running songs each week, because I will tell anyone who asks, these songs are the only reason I can get my butt up, out the door and clock the distances I need. This week my favorite song is one that’s been my favorite for a long time now. Empire of the Sun’s Walking on a Dream perfectly sums up what it feels like when I’m running, mentally. The official video is kind of strange, but if you focus on the lyrics I think you’ll see what I mean.

This is the final weekend until 2014 where all I have to do is rest and run. I’ll be going to a wedding in Austin next weekend and then the insanity of the holiday season comes down upon me with vigor. It will be a real challenge to make sure that running, training and resting remains an important part of my schedule. Wish me luck.