… I run until the pain stops.
I’ve always considered myself to be an athlete. And I’m still sure that I am. I had the chance to complete my trainer certificate, become a nutrition and life coach, and yet it feels like I’m starting over again. It’s not a bad thing – I’m sure that in the end, it will be for my benefit. It just gnaws on your pride, you know?! When you’re supposed to know everything about something you’re doing… but it’s not working. However, I’m also hungry to learn – to be better, and to pass on what I know.
Today was the LA Marathon and I was very envious of those who put in the time, training, sweat and tears and made it across the finish line. I’ve finished a few half marathons and have signed up for an upcoming 10k (and am planning to run another half marathon). I’m still skeptical because I don’t know what category I fit into. Story of my life. But for training and progress/result purposes, this is important for me to figure out.
I recently read an article about a trainer who had a very ambitious, motivated client who in the end wasn’t able to improve her time. They did everything by the book: Nutrition, training plan, they even did blood tests, took her rest days seriously, and recorded the progress. She could not finish the 10k in under an hour and 20 minutes. I’m scared that this could be me.
Although it wouldn’t even be close to the end of the world. I’ve just been conditioned (probably by myself) to show results and to measure my progress by the results. My very first 5k, I thought I was going to die. I’m not exaggerating. I hated running. I did a bit of training on a treadmill at the gym I was working at and was devastated because it took me more than 45 minutes to finish a measly 5k. During the race, I had a trainer friend run ahead of me. She was extremely nice, patient, motivating and let herself drop every k or so, so that I could catch up. I finished in about 33 minutes. I will never forget that. This was the first time that I was amazed at my body and what it could do.
I played sports all my life, but every sport is completely different and requires a very distinguished mind-set and training approach. I’ve learned that, believe me. In tennis: You’re mostly in your head. Of course you need the skills, the talent, the endurance, but it’s such a mind-game. I was the captain of our High School varsity team and during my senior year, I won most of my matches. The ones I didn’t win, I wasn’t sad about because I had great respect for those who were better than me – they were a lot better and I looked up to them.
Coach took me out for 3 or 4 matches after I had a break-down. I had lost a match that I was sure I was going to win, and it broke me… a little bit. I was so ambitious. Winning gave me a high. My training paid off. Not winning the one I was so sure of, more than gnawed on my pride. After watching the next few matches from the sideline, I felt better. I’m not even sure if I won anything afterwards, but it didn’t even matter, and it was fun to play again. The break was a life-saver and my coach knew what he was doing.
It was similar with the last Half Marathon I ran. The second one was in April of 2015. It turned out a bit more than 20 minutes better than the first one. The course was perfect, conditions were good, my training plan had worked out, and I had fun running – well… it wasn’t torture. But the last HM put a deep crack not only in my ego, but into my trust of creating my own training. I had run about 90k in preparation for that HM and my goal was a time in under 2 hours and 30 minutes. Which most people can do, honestly, without too much training. Needless to say, I wasn’t even close. I was just never a runner. Tennis, guys…. We do sprints. We run 2 super laps to warm up and then we stand there and do quick moves. We don’t run for long periods of time. S,o endurance running was/is a challenge for me.
Becoming a trainer helped, or so I thought. Until last October. I haven’t run since. Once, but it was no fun. I was restless, my heart rate was through the roof and I didn’t see the purpose.
I haven’t found a sport that has kept me this occupied though. It’s fun for me to write training plans, try them out, buy running outfits, accessorize, watch motivational videos and give myself pep-talks before a race. I’m not one to give up, and although I may not be a runner, I will at least keep trying to make the best of it. Every course is different, you’re not always in the same mind-set, and although you may think you’re prepared, if your body says “uh-uh”, your mind has to assess whether it’s true or not. Mind over body. And thus we’re back at this sport being all in your head. Just like tennis.
I’ve signed up for a 10k within the next 8 weeks, and my next half marathon is in the fall. I’m getting some help from a trainer friend in writing a training plan. I’ll be complementing my training with the right nutrition, which is a whole different ballgame, but I’ll try. And the help of amazing athlete friends who are nothing but supportive. Huge pillar in training, by the way!
Maybe I’m not a “runner” runner, but I AM an athlete. And I’m excited for this next challenge. Let’s see what this body-and-mind combination can do.