Friday, May 14, 2010

I Thought Running Was Just Putting One Foot In Front Of The Other…

Running entails a lot more than putting one foot in front of the other. I really wish someone could have clued me in on this. There are so many things that I never considered. Some pretty important and definitely not-at-all-easy things.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a pro at this. I'm a (just barely) semi-capable novice (so please don't take my word as gospel). If I have to worry about these things though, chances are you will too. Hopefully one or two of my ideas might help you out along the way.

So, in no particular order:

Pushing through wall(s)
Fact: if you run, you will inevitably come up against the most dreaded "wall". For those of you not yet acquainted with the wall, let me try and explain it to you. For me, hitting a wall is when my entire body has a sudden surge of complete exhaustion. It's like every fiber of my being is screaming at me to "GO SIT DOWN". This is much more than the tiredness and wear you feel from the run itself - it's your body saying "well, that was fun, but now I'm DONE". Problem is there are no physical antidotes. This is where the mental battle is waged – which, for me, is the hardest part of running.

I've found that I need to just accept the fact that walls are going to come, and try to recognize (and deal with) them while I'm running. Maybe for super athletes (read: not me), it's not much of an issue. But for me, walls are inevitable and if I'm going to make it through, I have to prepare myself for how I'm going to handle them. My first instinct is to want to throw in the towel; so I have to coach myself, tell myself that it is just a wall. I'm not actually going to die - all I have to do is keep it up. Wait it out for a minute, and eventually…

The wall will come down. 

I am stronger than my physical pains. 

I'm not going to lie and say that this makes the walls feel any better - but it does get me through them without completely destroying my confidence in my ability to run. I don't have much confidence in my abilities at this point, so anything I can do to reinforce and protect the confidence I do have is really vital.
 

This is some crazy wall-pushing! Or, just plain crazy...

Fueling the machine
Even though it is much, much more - at the basic level, our bodies are (biological) machines. The saying that you are what you eat is essentially true. The things you put in your mouth, um eat *cough* are the materials your body is going to use to replace dead and dying cells. So, that desert you said would go straight to your hips? Yeah, you were right. 

Like trying to run a sports car on regular unleaded – trying to exercise when you've been filling up on pizza, beer and cookies just does not work. Sure, you can gimp your way through it, but it will never feel very good. On days when my run seems extra hard, when I really struggle - I inevitably look back at my last couple of meals and realize that they pretty much sucked nutritionally.

When I eat well, I feel good and my body just works better. Plain and simple. Well, the idea is simple enough – the execution is a whole different story. I'm still working on that one…
Um, no. Really, just...  no

Getting out the door
I've never come back from a run thinking "I wish I hadn't done that". The regret only comes when I bag out a run. But without fail I spend my time before a run thinking of reasons why I really shouldn't go right now, why doing it later would really be a much better idea, how it's okay to miss just one run. It's another mental game.

For me the biggest help in getting out there is to have someone to do it with. I can't even tell you how much I've missed having my running buddy this week (ugh! Now Fat Girl Slim is going to come back all big headed and full of herself). Doing it by your self is just plain hard. It's such a relief when you don't always have to be the strong one. Me and FGS inevitably take turns having to drag each other out of the office. On days when I just can't get motivated she's there to tell me to nut up. When she's not feeling it, I can tell her that I'm going with or without her.

I realize that it's not always practical or sometimes even possible to have a running buddy. If this is true for you, it's super important to surround yourself with encouraging people. Ones who know your goals and want for you to achieve them. On Wednesday I put off my run all day. I didn't during work, and then I didn't do it when I left work. Then I had to make dinner, get the kids in bed, etc. I finally did go, but it wasn't until 7:45 when my husband basically goaded me out the door. Thank God for him because, if left to my own devices, I would have never gone.

I hope you might find a little tid-bit of something to help you along the way in my ramblings J

Until next time, here's a little feel good quote for you:

"We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort."
- Jesse Owens

P.S. The most awesome Skinny Runner is having a give away of some super cute compression socks. We love her here at HA2HM - check her out here or under "Blogs We Love" to the left!

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