Last Sunday I ran my twelve mile training run, the last long run before the Rock n Roll half this weekend. And it was the worst run I’ve possibly ever had.
For the duration of the run I just couldn’t get my head in it. I had started my eleven mile run the week before in the same manner, but finally found my stride around mile four and ended up having a successful run. I wasn’t so lucky this time around. Instead of feeling refreshed from a good run and ready for the race, I left the pavement feeling frazzled, stressed, and anxious – three things I have no desire to feel a week before race day.
Mid way through the run I stopped and called my best running friend, Chrissy. If you don’t have a running friend I highly recommend you get one! Chrissy and I are very good friends and we both also happen to run. Because of our common interest we have tackled a couple training runs, and even the 8 mile Turkey Trot, together. However, we aren’t always both available to run on the same day, nor are we always at the same point in our training. The next best thing? A phone call. We remind each other the morning of our races that if we need to call the other at any point during the race, when the running gets tough, that we are free to do so. We have each utilized this during half marathons, and last Sunday I opted to give my friend a call. I knew she would say the right things. She would be nurturing, not in a the way a parent or a friend would, but in the way a runner would. And I was right. She talked me off the ledge (“The halfway point is mile six and I’ll be right by my car, I just want to finish this run there!”) and gently coaxed me into finishing the run (“You’ll regret it the whole rest of the week if you don’t finish”). She told me a story about a bad run she experienced recently due to a wardrobe malfunction that not only made me laugh and wince in pain for her, but also helped me take my mind off my current state. I talked through what my post-race future would hold (I may not participate in a half marathon this June, after all). And most importantly, I hung up the phone feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the run. Chrissy, if you are reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart for always knowing exactly what to say when the running gets tough!
After completing the run, I also reached out to my Life Time Fitness running group through Facebook. I explained the burnout I had been feeling and asked for any advice to get me through to race day. I got many, many words of encouragement along with some great advice: “Take it easy this week. Your body knows the distance. Try swimming or yoga this week instead of running. You will do great on Sunday, you are ready for this.” Everyone I reached out to on Sunday seemed to know exactly what I needed to hear.
And I have followed all of the advice I received. I have gone to two yoga classes and swam since Epic Fail Run 2016. I haven’t run at all – I may tomorrow. Or I may not. I haven’t let my diet get out of control. I’ve watched countless movies and shows on Netflix, trying to boost my mood and take my mind off the upcoming race. I have slept, a LOT. I have done everything I can to remain zen.
And it has worked! After two good nights’ sleep, I began feeling exponentially better. Today, four days out, I am finally getting excited about the race. Runners know that the right mindset is at least as important as the physical training. I have the training down, and I know that as long as my mind is right, I will reach, and hopefully even surpass, my goal for Sunday.
I have thought a lot this week about the things I am grateful for. I am so, so grateful for friends like Chrissy and the Life Time Fitness run group. I am grateful that my mind gave out before my body did. I am grateful to feel in control of my emotions, to the point that I know they will not adversely affect my performance on Sunday. And I am beyond grateful that I have found a sport that has turned into a passion that I will hopefully be able to participate in for a long time.
But until Sunday? I’m just going to chill.