The half-marathon 3 is weeks from today. And we all know the first real rule of running a half-marathon is that you talk about it. The opposite of Fight Club, if you will. The second is training. Yesterday I did an 8 miler that had a lot of hills in the front half and our pace was a little quicker than I usually move at. I struggled, and to be fair and am still limping and moving pretty slow today. LOTS of stretching for me in the coming hours.
But the weird thing about how I struggled is that it wasn't the physical side nearly as much as the mental battle that gets me tangled up. Once my breathing gets off and I am challenged my thoughts go dark (well, not crazy dark, but not helpful). I begin telling myself that I can't do this, that I am too old and out of shape...all kinds of negative thoughts come to the surface when I am struggling which is the exact opposite of what I would like to have happened.
Thankfully, I have a running partner this year and man, she is a gem. Truly, I am so thankful for her. Yesterday was the first time I really struggled and each time she acknowledged my struggle and encouraged me through it. She distracted me when I needed it and led the way home for the last quarter-mile while I was having a bit of a mental come-apart.
Somehow she smiled pretty much the whole way through our run. And that was helpful. She also identified right away that my challenges were less physical and more mental, she showed more a few tricks she does and kept chatting. I have always valued being a person who is positive and sees the good in life, but maybe never more so for me than when I am running, when I am struggling. Yesterday I was challenged in a way I didn't expect, to be more of a bringer of joy than a bringer of skepticism or snark (of which I am very good at). The joy brings hope and I have found, that people need that and often enjoy that more than the snark.
Finding a good partner is key for me especially when I want to enjoy something that I otherwise wouldn't. Generally, this involves working out for me. Finding a friend to involve in the process is one of my best pieces of advice, in life, not just in running. Finding a friend who will encourage you up the hills when you are feeling like you don't have the strength to keep going, those people are gold. Hold on to them tightly. The relationship is far more exciting to me than the task at hand, so for me, it is like a reward tied to something that I probably should do...I should probably be active, and to make it fun I will do it with a friend, everyone wins.
One more thought that pertains not only to running or training, but also life:
*Trusting the process...the training makes you strong and if you do it you will get stronger. I would like to get more distracted and get the right new shoes or pretty much anything other than ACTUALLY training...This happens to me in life a lot. We are taking Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and it is a struggle for me to submit to the process, I want to argue and protect and find another way because it's painful, but the process works. Although it is painful, it produces results. I am working on trusting
the process in a few areas of my life, being humble and willing as I do.