Two hundred thirty days into this journey and much of it has not unfolded as I had anticipated, though that really is to be expected. This life is new, it’s still forming, and if my dreams have been too big for today that does not mean they are too big for tomorrow.
So what’s changed?
I’ve missed my first scheduled marathon. Between a car accident, a fair excuse, and my training coming completely off the rails, a not so fair excuse, that run was just not to be. It was a difficult decision, hard to stare at my reflection and shake off those feelings of worthlessness and failure. It was the right decision: without proper training I would have faced a much worse race than I did this past fall and would have greatly increased my risk of injury.
My other two major races are still scheduled: Key Bank Vermont City and, my first ultra, Laugavegur Ultra Marathon in Iceland. Everything is booked. Everything is reserved. I will run them.
There’s the challenge: I had begun falling out of love with running. I had lost touch with why I was running, lost the ability to be in The Void while out. The thought of running was sticky and sour. I need to find my way back.
A mental shift is needed.
The hardest decision I made was to drop coaching. Coaching carried me quite far and the community of runners kept me sane, so it is absolutely no reflection on them: I could not accommodate the training schedule with the life I have at this moment. Missing workouts wracked me with guilt and when I’d stare at my calendar and try to make things work I would be awash with anxiety. When the day’s planning would invariably shatter the I would mire myself in self-recriminiations.
I have to drop all pretenses of competitiveness. No competition with my prior self and certainly none with any of my friends out there running and being successful at it. Worrying about how I performed in the past or how friends are improving paces, finishing races, and generally nailing their training program.
This is something that is only going to be solved on my own.
The strategy I am trying now is simply: what I can, when I can. If all I have is fifteen minutes, fine, hit the street for a loping 3k. More time, more energy: go farther. There is no specific workout, no planned distances, all I am aiming for is to keep moving and find what it is about the sport that kept me alive.
The goal now is to simply run.