It’s hard to believe that California is only two days away. Harder still to fathom is the fact I’ll be running my very first half marathon in the Disneyland Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend while I’m there!
Back when Llisa and I first decided to do this, it felt forever away. Like, January 2013 was probably a lifetime away a year ago, amitrite? What? That doesn’t make sense? Get out of here.
In a way, it still kind of does feel like it’s forever away. The reality of this situation has yet to settle, despite the fact that I’ve spent pretty much every day of the last two weeks living in a perpetual state of terror because of it. I guess I’m still kind of afraid, just not in the same ways that I was.
You see, for all of my great plans of making training for this thing my be-all end-all, I pretty much fell off the wagon in December. Wrapping up a very time-consuming semester (which included three back-to-back evenings after work every week just for grading one class. Don’t think that’s a big deal? Again, get out of here) was bump-in-the-road #1. The holidays and my preference for hanging out with loved ones and eating like it was, say, the holidays was bump-in-the-road #2 (I still ran during this time, just not as frequently. I also had to make a switch to an indoor track because we finally got winter and our city sidewalks were reduced to states of ice rink-ness for a couple of weeks. While having access to it was certainly appreciated, running on an indoor track at a community centre is fraught with its own perils when you’re a runner. I’m not even going to get into it here. Just trust me on this – it wasn’t the easiest of transitions.)
But the biggest bump-in-the-road (aka BITR #3) happened a week and a half ago. Two weekends ago I went for what I figured would be my last “long run” befor the race. I squeaked out a healthy 17.54 kms and was feeling mighty proud of myself. But on my regular 5 km run the following Monday morning, disaster struck. My shins? My calf muscles? They were not. Having. It.
While not debilitating, the run itself was painful. This made me panic. There were two weeks left before race day! Had I broken myself? Was I going to be able to do this? Panic.
Right away, I resolved to take care of myself first. I took a week off from running. I spent that time stretching, foam rolling, resting, and soaking. I sought help from people who know more than me. By the time I ran again the following Monday (a short 2 kms) I was a bit stiff but the pain was gone. Still, I panicked.
Guys, I was so scared about this.
Then last night, Luc, who had been quietly listening to my rampant fretting since BITR #3 happened, finally said his piece:
“I think it’s time that you stop listening to everybody else. Listen to yourself; nobody knows your body like you do.”
I’ll be honest, dear reader (and dear Luc, who could probably tell how I was feeling BUT STILL), I was a little frustrated. I felt like he didn’t understand what a big deal this was (or rather, what it could potentially be). I don’t know what I’m doing! I’m a running noob! Of course I need to listen to everybody else! PANIC!
I stewed about it for a while before bed. Slowly, I let my defensiveness seep from the equation and I started to realize that he probably wasn’t as out of touch with the situation as my panic-stricken mind wanted to believe.
Over the past couple of weeks I had been spending so much time listening to and reading about the ways that other people were training. I heard about all of the things I wasn’t doing and myriad of suggestions about how to improve both my running and my situation. It’s not as if the people I talked to were trying to be anything but honest and truly helpful (and believe me, some of them were incredibly helpful) but their stories – their bodies – aren’t mine.
I had let it all get to my head. By this point, it wasn’t even about my sore legs anymore. In my mind, I was already a failure and I hadn’t even crossed the starting line yet.
And with that thought, I realized what I was doing. Two weeks into my New Years resolution I was already second guessing myself.
How can you achieve anything great if you don’t trust yourself?
So I shut the whole thing down.
This morning I woke at 5 am, laced-up my shoes and went for what will probably be my last run before Sunday. I ran outside for the first time since the holidays, which was so nice. I spent 6 km telling myself that I was a beast, strong, unstoppable. And you know what?
It was a great run.
I won’t be breaking any records on Sunday. Maybe it’ll be messy. But maybe it’ll be great. Either way, I’m going to run that race and I’m going to do my best on my own terms.
California or bust! Let’s do this.