Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Taper and a Boost: A "Good Luck" Card from Over the Pond

The training has been going fine the last couple of weeks. Physically I feel good and ready to do the 50 miles. The spirit side of me of maintaining a positive attitude is another story.
Sometimes maintaining a positive outlook is harder than the physical activity. I know negative thoughts are leaking in when I question why I’m running 50 miles. Fortunately, no one is home to hear me whine. Oh yeah, except the parakeets. They don’t count because they don’t care if I whine - they’re just happy to hear a human voice.  
Enough of that. Here’s some great news! I received a...

Front of Card

“Good Luck” card in the mail this week. It could not have come at a better time. My sister-in-law, Susan, from England, works at St. Charles Catholic Primary School. She shared with the children what I was doing so the kids sent me a wonderful card, wishing me luck and telling me that they talk about eating healthier and how exercise is good for them. A picture of every student was in the card. It’s sitting on my fireplace mantel as I’m writing, reminding me of the importance of getting out there. I really needed it this week kids. YOU ARE THE BEST!

The Inside of the Card
 It’s so easy to not exercise and dive into sweet temptations, especially when you are feeling down. Believe me, I’ve been there. My belief is “get up and move.” You don’t need to run 50 miles. Whether you walk, jog, or run, you are moving faster than sitting on the couch. Don’t think too big because that can squash whatever positive thoughts that you have. It reminds me of Baby Steps in one of my favorite movies, “What About Bob?”

I’ve been training for about 20 weeks now and my body and spirit has been through a lot of ups and downs.  Any taper, the time during the last several weeks when the quantity of training miles drops, is always tough. My high school track coach always said that running success is 80% mental and 20% physical. This is certainly the case when training and racing in marathons and ultra-marathons (any run greater than 26.2 miles). It’s not the physical activity that makes it hard, like the final weeks leading to the taper. Instead it’s the down time. The less time on my feet allows for too much thinking time and that can be dangerous. Repeat after me, “keep myself occupied, keep myself occupied, keep myself occupied.”
This past week has been particularly hard. My run today was on the heels of a disappointing Tuesday track run. This morning I knew that I needed to get out into the dreary, damp weather and get my training run in, but the motivation was not there. Usually I look forward to all of my runs, seeing if I can do better than the last run. Today was different. I was supposed to run easy for a couple of miles, then run hard for three miles, then finish with an easy one mile.
So, I moseyed into my bedroom to pour myself into my running gear thinking, “let me just get through this.” Even though I was supposed to run my fast miles at a 6:54/mile pace, I did not care if it I ended up going slower. So wah, wah, wah, out the door I go.
I started chugging along, practicing my baby steps. The amazing thing is, once I started moving, I felt better. I felt so good that I decided to run my middle fast three miles after my first mile. My times were 6:45, 6:40, and 6:28 per mile - much better than the goal 6:54 and each mile was progressively faster, even when the last mile was into a head wind and a slight incline. Any way I slice it, this was a quick three miles for me and I could have continued. I was pushing off of my forefeet and felt light on my feet. However, once my 3 miles was done I quickly slowed down because I don’t want to ruin the taper by pushing too hard. It’s amazing what is said about feeling so much better once the shoes are laced and I’m out the door.
So, I’m home now, looking at the Good Luck card. I’m thankful for the card, my ability to run, and that I can help others. The boys and girls at St. Charles helped me as I hope that I can help others. This is a good reminder for me to send more cards to people because it can put a smile on their face during trying times.
Thank you to the boys and girls at St. Charles!
 Do me a favor: As much as you may like them, limit sweets, biscuits, and sugary drinks and keep moving.

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