A New Rhythm
By: Laura Mitchell
I’m sharing this in the hope that some can find comfort in the fact that we all can go through these moments as runners. It’s a very independent sport, where there is no team to lean on, and sometimes the human psyche needs to feel that others can be in the same boat as you….
I’ve been going back and forth with motivation lately. When you don’t have an upcoming goal race, continuing to train day in and day out can be a struggle. Here’s what I know: I’m competitive, tenacious, strong, and passionate about what I do, yet couple that with being a sensitive soul. Now that can be a tough mixture. I wouldn’t say that I’m fragile but delicate. When you are tied to something emotionally like I am about racing, it’s difficult to keep your chin up mentally through the daily training grind. You try and you tell yourself after each session, “Hey, you killed that workout, or nailed those paces!” For that moment you are high and you are feeling positive about your current status, but then you are physically exhausted and you think about the long drive home and how much you have to still get done outside of running and without a race to show for it, you feel defeated. Ugh.
It’s been very up and down these past 11 weeks, needless to say. I find myself thinking I’m not fast enough, I suck, everyone is faster, and I should be faster. I’ve become impatient with the process and I’m frustrated. I want to compete at a higher level. So one day I’m mad, one day I’m down, and the next day I just want to throw my hands up.
But you know what; I guess it’s a good thing. The fact that I’m bummed at times accounts for how much I care. The fact that I’m thinking about this and rambling about shows that I care and am still very much wanting to achieve the most and be the best I can be and that I’m not quite done with this running/racing thing.
Bottom line is:
I love to run.
I want to compete at a higher level.
My training, (if I look at the #’s and take into account how I’m feeling during workouts) is proof that I should be able to race faster that I have.
I need to stop short changing myself.
Now, I just need to embrace that this is the grueling part of the season, (base and strength training) and be confident about the work I’ve put in from all the Cruz workouts to extra runs I’m putting in. Remember that there are gonna be times where your body aches; where you are tired, but that’s all part of it. Because you are committed, you love this sport, you have felt the rewards it gives and you love it.
I took off this weekend, when most of the Rogues were racing the Run for the Water 10miler. Normally, I enjoy cheering everyone on while I do my normally scheduled Sunday long run beforehand. Or shoot, sometimes jump in the 5k (I won that once). But this time I took off to my old stomping grounds for a run at White Rock Lake, in Dallas, TX. It was here where I spent many a day honing my craft while competing for SMU. I began to reminisce as I started to turnover on the trail. I thought about all the workouts and familiar markers, when we did 1k repeats and 2k steady states. Coach with the stopwatch watch, or on the bike and how it motivated me while annoyed others. The sweat, tears, and laughs…How we ran in the snow and how we kept thinking how crazy coach was for sending us out there and how we were the only fools on the lake that day.
Here’s a picture of White Rock Lake, if you look close enough, you can see the Dallas Skyline in the foggy background.
As I was coming into the last few miles, I came upon a woman who as I passed spoke, “Hey you look like you are pretty fit, do you mind if I try to run with you, for I’m almost done but I’m starting to struggle and could use the help?” I said, “Sure,” and we ran for the next 10 minutes or so and as we came around to the spot where her car was, she peeled off and thanked me. It was a nice feeling to be able help someone.
I needed to do this run instead of being in Austin not competing while all of my peers were. It was just the right medicine for my soul because at this stage in the game, it’s ultimately up to me. I don’t have a collegiate team to run for; I don’t have a coach holding my hand through every step of the way anymore. This run really helped to rejuvenate my spirit. I was smiling several times throughout the run and I even got bird pooped on! Didn’t even phase me.
Now, onward to bigger and better things….