This week got away from me. It was so hot every day, and work has been crazier than usual. I still ran, just not as much as I was planning.
Kaitlin was available for a late morning run on Thursday- but about halfway though it we called it on account of the blistering heat and walked home. We still got four miles in, just not as quickly as we had originally planned.
Yesterday’s 5k was under a “yellow” weather advisory. We walked a lot, and talked a lot, and overall had an EXCELLENT time. Unfortunately, due to the heat, our mascot was unable to make it (maybe next time!). I also didn’t have time to craft- so I just had my dad make us shirts.
I had planned on running 8 this morning- but some stomach issues got me off to a late start (I’m TERRIFIED of becoming the “mad pooper” of Naperville, so I waited until I was SURE I was ok.) With the late start, I only had time for 6 miles, and they felt glorious. I did a super basic out and back- one I haven’t done in a while- and it all worked out perfectly. There was a foggy mist hanging around the prairie path that made that portion of my run feel cooler than the portion I was on pavement. All in all, good times. Good times, noodle salad.
Four weeks until the Naperville Half Marathon. Two weeks until I’m 35 (gulp.)
Welp. Today was a tough one. It was much hotter than I had been expecting. The temperature jumped twenty degrees from my last long run, and the humidity was intense. I knew it was going to be rough when I took Foxy out at 5:30 this morning. It was pitch black outside, and the first time I was leaving the house. I had been wearing a long sleeved moisture wicking hoodie over my race outfit because we keep the house just a few degrees above “I can see my breath.” Add in the fact that the last several miles the sun tried to roast me alive, and it’s no surprise I didn’t PR.
It’s ok. I keep telling myself that it’s ok. I kept saying “it’s a hard, hilly race. I don’t expect to PR.” I was lying. I was hoping to PR. The first four miles felt GREAT. Then it got a little harder each mile after. I walked. I don’t know exactly how much I walked, but it felt like a lot. While I can blame the weather (and it did make a huge impact) I’d be lying to myself even more if I didn’t address my midrace mental breakdown. I know better than to keep looking at my watch- but as it felt harder, and harder, I kept looking. And then calculating. “If I stay at this pace for the next five miles- I’ll still miss my real PR. If I can cut a minute off of this mile, I might make it. Nope. Not happening. What’s the point. If I’m not going to PR, what’s the point.”
My PR is 2 hours 32 minutes. Somehow or another, my watch disagrees. It was the 2014 Naperville Half. My watch shows my PR as 2 hours 41 minutes which was the Naperville Women’s Half this spring. I came in three minutes short of getting a new “watch” PR, and the way I KNOW with absolute certantiy that my mental break is what truly held me back…. I had it in my head that my watch PR was 2:47, and I fought hard for the last three miles to beat it. If I had known it was 2:41- I would have fought harder SOONER and probably beat it.
So. Trying very hard not to beat myself up. Back at it Tuesday with a five miler. Praying for the weather to cool off. Happy to have finished.
OH! So- after I got home, I walked in the house and was greeted with a terrible smell. Last week, I cleaned out the fridge- and something must have leaked in the garbage. The garage had started to smell the day before yesterday. Tuesday is garbage day- and we planned on rinsing out the can at that point. It could NOT wait until Tuesday. I rolled the garbage out, lifted the lid to find so. Many. Maggots. It was the stuff of nightmares. I I got some rubber gloves, several garbage bags- and I wrapped the trash bag that was the problem (and the only bag in the can) until I ran out of bags. I looked down- and there was definitely a maggot on the back of my wrist. I sprayed my entire arm full blast with the hose while shouting “get off get off get off get off get off!” I then called a local restaurant within walking distance of my house and asked if I could put a very well wrapped, very stinky bag of trash in their dumpster. I then walked (all the while still in my race gear- salty and sweaty as ever) to said restaurant and waved a friendly thank you at the man inside as I passed the window with my stink bag. He probably assumed I was dumping a body. While I normally would have rinsed off and then taken a post race bath– today required a full silkwood shower.
Should I wear my medals to work tomorrow? Since the real reason I signed up for this race in particular was the Fox medal?
I’ve been noticing something lately that I was having a hard time articulating. My running has turned a corner. I think a huge part of that has been mental for me. Yes, it’s significantly easier to run 40 pounds lighter… but I was always able to run. Now I enjoy it. It’s still hard, and some days each step is a challenge. I still have aches and pains.. but I find myself able to better push through things that would have stopped me in my tracks even a year ago.
I’ve always liked the idea of a mantra. I tried to find one on my own- to come up with some original thing that resonated with me. Turns out I’m not as creative or well spoken as I had thought. I read Scott Jurek’s book “Eat and Run” and tried adopting his “sometimes you just do things.” But sometimes I just didn’t. I have an old workout DVD called “yoga booty ballet” that I occasionally like to do for “fun” and they make you say “I love, honor, and cherish my body.” But I didn’t. I wasn’t there. I’ve been at war with my body my entire adult life. I’ve had terrible issues with body image, and just self confidence in general. When a run felt hard, I mentally berated myself. I beat myself up for wanting to walk/stop/go slower. Loving and honoring my body was something so foreign to me that it was almost laughable. I needed something I couldn’t find.
My good friend Kaitlin is a large part of why I run. She saw me running, and started running. I found out she was running, so I kept running. She signed up for the Naperville half marathon (a distance I LAUGHED at the thought of ever in a million years running) and I signed up. Somewhere during that first year and training for that first half is when we got to be good friends. She was so patient when we’d run 10 miles at a 13:45 pace with me complaining every single step of the way. She could have run faster on her own, but she stayed with me, and kept me going. She introduced me to Oiselle.
Oiselle is an athletic clothing line made for and by women. With Kaitlin’s expert gift giving advice, I received a few Oiselle items from Santa that year- and I ADORED them. The logo for Oiselle is a bird, and since my boyfriend calls me Katiebird or sometimes just Bird, I was so on board for any graphic detail with a bird on it. The problem was my size. The items I got technically fit- but in a very painted on- not to be seen in public kind of way. So I packed them away in the back of the closet for “some day.”
Fast forward to this spring. My collection has grown a small amount (both presents received and purchased for myself.) And suddenly- things that were sausage casing tight- fit appropriately. I became obsessed with shopping online and stalking the website for sales. I’m sure their tag line was always “Head Up, Wings Out” but it didn’t find its place in my brain until this year. It started out kind of silly- reminding myself not to hunch forward when running. I began to realize that every time I said it- I stood taller, prouder, more confident. I tested it. I ran easy, I ran hard, I ran short, I ran long(er). No matter what, “Head Up,Wings Out” helped.
My times began to improve pretty rapidly. I went from running a 12+ minute mile to a 10+ minute mile on short distances in the span of 6 months. Since my very first 5k (which I think took me 40 minutes) I’ve had it in my head that “real runners” run that distance in 30 minutes or less. I can proudly say that I have now done that twice.
When the opportunity to join the Oiselle Volee team opened up- I jumped at the chance. A year ago, I would have said “someday when I’m a real runner I might join.” So much self doubt was holding me back. I realized recently that I was a real runner a long time ago. Before finding my mantra. Before hitting that time goal. Before running my first half marathon. I finally listened to the world when they say “if you run, you’re a real runner.” I’ve been running for five years, and each step I’ve been a real runner, even if I only realized it now. I know in my heart that finding my mantra is how I got here. It’s how I stopped the negative talk and replaced it with positivity.
This morning was a 4 mile easy run with my fur baby. He’s napping.
I’m writing this from the bath tub (don’t judge me.). Pro tip? Those black charcoal peel off face masks? They don’t work if you’re sweating in a hot bath.
Tomorrow is three miles, Thursday is two. Then TWO rest days before the Foxy Valley half marathon. I’m stupid excited. More than I’ve ever been, I think. I’ve never felt this ready, and while I don’t know if I’ll PR (it’s pretty damn hilly) I’m hopeful I might.
So yeah. Mantras. Helped me get over a lot of mental garbage that was holding me back. Do you have one? What works for you? Do you stick to the same one- or change it out?