For a long time now, I have really struggled with all workouts. Swimming with Gil was not progressing like we thought it should, and like history had shown us it could. The bike, of course, has just felt awful.
Running was also taking a huge nosedive. Normally, though, if I will just take the time to do a lot of easy running, my legs will strengthen up and things will start to feel easy again. But for some reason, that didn't work this time. My HR was through the roof. Even when I made sure I kept it down and my pace was incredibly slow, I didn't feel good and couldn't get in more than a few miles. I started to doubt myself. Did I need to throw in some fast running and reset my system? But how could fast running be the answer when I couldn't really do 5 easy miles. ???
I decided this morning to try go back to my roots...the good old trails. Pun intended :) I woke up before dawn and drove to Audubon park to my old stomping grounds. I typically run the 2 mile loop trail on the outside of the park. It is shaded and rooty. I was determined to have a nice run. I don't care what my pace is. I just don't want my knees to feel awful anymore. I just don't want runs to be miserable. So, I made sure I had a little food in me, water bottle strapped on with gels, and a cute running outfit. (a little secret of mine: decades ago one of my best guy friends told me that "good players look good." I was wearing a ratty outfit to soccer practice, and he went up to his room and brought me down a better outfit. I thought, who cares? It is soccer practice! I am there to play!!! I am not into looks!!! But his point was that the best players in the world show up with nice, matching clothes...looking and feeling good...ready to play like a professional. I immediately went home and opened up my Soccer USA magazine and ordered new shorts and shirts. His words still stick with me. Now, when I want to have a good training session, I make sure I look the part. Fake it till you make it, you know? And, that friend went on to play in several professional leagues. He knew what he was talking about.)
And for some reason this morning, even though I was running really slowly, I felt really good. I enjoyed my run. My HR stayed where it should. I had water. I took a gel. Yes, on an 8 mile run, I took a gel. I have run so much with pure runners for the past year. I think they believe that water and calories in a run is a sign of weakness, because they do everything they can to starve their runs. This morning, I decided whatever made me feel better, I was doing it. I have to get past this initial bump, no matter what it takes. And I just can't worry about low carb, no sugar, yada yada right now. I need to just do some training that is successful.
And it worked. 8 trail miles done. Felt good. Had fun.
This has been a hard plateau for me. It is hard to stay positive and not give up. It is hard to keep getting out there and feeling terrible. It is hard to be a shadow of my former self and not seeming to be able to break out. I keep telling myself the story of the rock and the water. Over time, the rock will crack with the water pressure. I have to stay patient.
Some things I am currently using to keep myself motivated for the future of racing in my 40s, because I think that is really when I will be able to best apply myself after having young kids in the house.
1. I never had my best race. My best Olympic distance race was done in thunderstorm/hail lightening, with a flat tire at mile 20 that I had to soft pedal in, and a run course that was .5 miles too long. My best half ironman was done on a super hard/hilly and extremely hot course. And my best ironman was done in 90 degree heat on a shoulder injury that kept me out of the pool for 2 months prior. None of these are my best. I still haven't tapped into my best.
2. Then I think...maybe it is too late for my best? Maybe my best/fastest was in my 30s. I should just let it go. But I see so many women still racing well in their 40s. So, racing in my 40s is there for me if I choose to go for it. Fast times can still happen. Thank you, to all of you women still racing that motivate me to keep bettering myself!
Here's to more happy miles and a great week!
Outdoor baths are the way to go! Knock it all out with fun sprinkler time followed by a good washing :) Time saver and fun!
Isla is already in the spirit of Nola. She picks out "twirly skirts/dresses" any time we go listen to music. She is a festival girl already!