IT'S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY
This is what I was repeating to my self over and over again after yesterday's lackluster 7.15 mile run.
Even though I was able to smash several PRs in my heavy leg day immediately after, I was still an absolute wreck over my times. I had maybe 1 mile that was faster than 10 minute pace. And all the while, I just kept thinking of how I only basically ran a little over half of a half marathon. Oh, and how could I forget to mention that race day is a solid month away, and I still have no freaking clue how to taper. Or how I'm going to handle the race day nerves and the actual race itself.
As I laid in bed last night trying to fall asleep, I found myself wanting to make about a million excuses for why I couldn't race in September. I wanted to play the whole I'm still just injured enough to make running 13.1 miles a bad/dangerous idea. I'm also not that person who runs like a dozen or more races a year either. The last race I did was a 5k 4 years ago...and that event wasn't even timed. I wanted to make the excuse that when I made the decision way WAY back in March to sign up for this race, I wasn't in the best place. I pretty much just signed up to prove to myself that I was in fact strong enough to run that distance without giving up. Well, what if that's not the case?!
Needless to say, a lot was riding on this mornings run.
I knew I would be running my usual 5.64 mile route...which includes far more hills than anyone should ever have to be endure over a distance that short. All I wanted from this run were consistently fast times across the board. No going out to fast and then proceeding to burn out at the end. Or, saving everything for that last half a mile sprint to the finish. Just a decently hard/fast paced run with zero pain. And, obviously not having to use my pepper spray because I'm still a bit of a newb when it comes to that.
Things didn't start out all that great. My ear buds just randomly decided to stop playing music in my left ear. So, that mean having to run blaring my music at full blast for the entire town to hear. Perfect way to start your morning...right?! Once I got the music situation straightened out, I now had the best excuse/motivation in the world for running fast. Every freaking person can hear and subsequently judge the music you run to. Yeah, they probably don't know that you've been listening to the same playlist for like 2 weeks straight now on every single run and during every 90 minute lifting session. But, still, it's certainly not an ideal situation.
Today, I put up times that I haven't ran since July 6th. Way before finding out that I was apparently running with both my hip and pelvis out at the same time.
My average pace was 9:35...and I only had one slow mile towards the end when I had to climb the mini hill to cross the rail road tracks! Even better, my final .64 mile pace was an 8:52!! Mile 1 may have been a bit on the fast side at 9:16, but I'm not even mad about it because I had an absolutely spectacular run with zero pain and zero dogs chasing me. I actually found myself at several different points wanting to go faster, even though I was already going pretty fast. I felt unstoppable, and it took a whole lot of self control for me to stop at the 5.64 mile mark. But, I knew that after last weeks 39.44 miles, my body needed a shorter run to start the week of right.
I'm not too proud to admit that I have been running way too much mileage lately, and drinking a few too many beers just because my anxiety/stress levels have been through the roof. Heck, I just randomly decided to leg press 265 pounds on Sunday because I was fed up with how shitty my coping mechanisms are, despite the fact that I took a class on positive psychology and know that trashing my body is the exact opposite of what I should be doing. I also took a very interesting and informative class on food and mood. So, I know exactly the effect that my daily caffeine consumption has on my anxiety as well as the whole alcohol effect on the brain too.
That got me thinking, about just how much stuff has happened so far in 2018. Both good and bad.
It's been a whirlwind of emotions and big changes. Yet, through it all, running has been the one constant. The one thing I can count on 6 days out of the week. Even when I don't have the best runs, get down on myself, or am battling with pain as a result of injury...I still get that high. That emotional release. A feeling of empowerment and strength. I feel okay. Good enough. Like I have nothing at all to stress about except putting one foot in front of the other. The only problem is, you can't spend like 12-14 hours a day running, or make that high last all day or all week.
I've come to the conclusion, after this fairly lengthy post and a whole lot of reflection yesterday and today, that it really truly is "okay to not be okay." Not every day is going to be perfect or even good. There are going to be moments when you don't know what to do or have anyone that can offer just the right guidance/advice that you are looking for. Well, I clearly don't have the answer for what to do in those moments, I for sure know what not to do. And that, at least narrows down the list.