Training my brain: part one

I’m not known for my positive attitude.

michelle1

I know, right??

But I’m trying to work on that now that I’ve committed to running a full marathon.

Before training officially starts in July, a couple of us met with one of our coaches to get on the same page with expectations, concerns, everything. And according to her, understanding why we want to do this will set the foundation for everything else.

What’s my why?

Why do I run? It’s difficult for me to explain. Since quitting the diving team when I was 11 (we moved away) I really haven’t been much of an athlete. I default to lazy as a general rule, and a wonky knee conveniently kept me from the mile-and-a-half in high school P.E.. In college I tried workout classes at the UT Rec Center and stuck with them for a while, but after I graduated I didn’t have Rec Center access and wasn’t motivated to find something else. At some point I tried the gym thing but hated it. After B was born I had no time for anything else, and I didn’t want to make time for workouts.

But not long after one of those round-number birthdays, I wanted to improve my fitness and decided to try running. And for some reason I have stuck with it more than anything I’ve ever done before. Since joining Rogue in 2012 I have been religious about my workouts–I almost never miss one. Core class Monday, workouts Tuesday and Thursday, long run Saturday. I barely have any time in the evenings after I get home, and I hate getting up early on Saturdays, but not once do I seriously consider turning off the alarm and going back to sleep or skipping the workout. I mean, I consider it, but it’s not really an option. Which is really weird, and totally unlike me. 😀

oprah

Running hasn’t made me thin or even moved the number on the scale much (so unfair!) and by many people’s standards I’m still slow. Every mile is a challenge for me, but I can string together 13.1 of them now and then. In that respect, I’m in the best shape of my adult life. Probably my teenage life too. I don’t love running when I’m doing it–it does not come easily–but I love finishing a workout or a race. Running has given me some fantastic experiences with friends, and it has brought me new friends too. I didn’t think I needed new friends, but I love these people.

Why do I want to run a full marathon? Well I covered a lot of this on my pro-con list, or at least why I chose this particular one this year. Having so many Rogues supporting me will absolutely make all the difference. And I think that’s a big part of my whymichelle2.gifAt BCS when my BRFs came down that last stretch to the finish line… I was in tears knowing how much work they’d put into it and what an accomplishment they’d achieved–and I was just a bystander. Don’t get me wrong–I didn’t wish to be in their shoes and I didn’t feel envy, like I’d missed out. I was just so proud and happy for them. But later, when I considered this marathon, I thought back to that moment. That feeling of accomplishment, completing something very few people do. And that’s a big part of my why.

So back to the meeting with our coach. We all know I default to Dark Side thinking, but one of my goals as I train for this race is to improve my attitude. Instead of worrying about whether I can do it and what could go wrong, I need to visualize that finish line scene and know that I can get there.michelle3

To that end, she suggested I create some mantras and make using them a habit. I mean, beyond my Persevere and She Persisted silver rings I always wear when I run.

So far I’ve got “I can do hard things” and something my dad used to say to me all the time when I was a kid trying to weasel out of something. I suspect I’ll have many opportunities throughout the summer to use them both. I was lucky and had cool weather for several recent races, but it won’t last. Showing up for workouts in 100+ temps qualifies as a difficult thing, right?

Now that my spring races are over, I’m taking the rest of May to let my legs and psyche recover. On top of running three half marathons, two 10Ks, and two 5Ks since January, I’ve also had an exhausting semester at work. School gets out right after Memorial Day, and after a couple of days catching up on my sleep, I will ease back into longer and more challenging workouts–both body and mind.

I can do hard things.

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