Friday, December 23, 2011

: "Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.” - Leonardo da Vinci

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 155 & 156:

OH, BlogLand. What a couple of days it has been. Life has been rocky, and I've been sick. I got this evil sort of head cold that made me feel like I was breathing through a straw. No runs, no push ups, nothing for a couple of days. The best moment was when I took a dose of Nyquil and was knocked out cold for 9.5 hours. Seriously, my friends, sometimes you just NEED to sleep. My body needed it, I think, to rally against the cold. Oddly enough (it seemed too speedy?), I feel really good tonight. Tomorrow morning, I'm back at it. A bit of a Christmas Eve (day) run, and then I'm planning on a Christmas Day long run. My present to myself will be running 5.5 miles. More on that, later.

I've been in a rough patch, lately (if you haven't noticed). Life has been coming down hard on my shoulders. It's been hard to keep my chin up and stay any sort of positive. But I read a great quote by Spartan Race's creator, Joe DeSena, referencing the difficulty level of the signature Death Race: "There’s no light at the end of the tunnel. We’re basically holding your hand to help you quit. The same way life does, right?” 
Something about that quote really hit me. Yes, Life (at least the particular events around me at the moment) does make choosing the "easy" way a more appealing option. The last few days, Life has been holding my hand and whispering, "This is hard... hang out on the couch, you should rest." or sweet nothings like, "Why chase these race dreams? Where will they really get you? What makes you think you'll succeed?" and the ever popular, "ohhh, but your bed is so warm in the morning..."

Having said that, I looked at where I've come from. I re-read this blog from Day 1 (this is exactly the purpose I created this blog for!), looked at some old pictures, and spent some time thinking about Old Me. And I cried. A LOT, I cried. Hard, sobbing, ugly-face, hot tears. I just let the emotion go. I am of the particularly emotional persuasion, and sometimes it gets too much. I wanted to quit, but I wanted to continue, I wanted to fight, but I wanted to just lay down and surrender, I wanted to be strong, but I wanted to let Life win.

And then I remembered why I began this in the first place. I wanted to LIVE my life on fire, not settle for 'enough'.  As a fellow  Spartan noted in his blog, I wanted to live with Intention. I wanted to chase a purpose, exist with a focus, push forward with a crystal clear passion. No more being trapped by my physical limitations, or perceived mental walls... No more Old Me.

So, I rallied. And by "rallied"... I mean I was a hot, snotty, sniffling, teary mess for another hour or so, but I was getting my brain back in the right line of thinking.

Following that, somehow, a random comment from the GT transpired into something great. He had made a comment about how I need to stop doubting myself (I may or may not have spent the last week badgering him about how I should plan my race schedule for this year, when should I start, what could I handle, etc...), because he was totally sure what I was capable of. Not to be outdone, I said FINE! (with my best 5 year old snarky attitude...), and we began serious race-debates.

And by serious, I mean we were making decisions. Out of sheer contrary attitude, not to be told I was doubting myself, I found myself suddenly committing to an early-season race: May 5th, in Colorado. YEAH! I was pumped! May 5th, that's a few months away, then I'll get to meet all the rad people I've been talking to for a while now, and see what I can really do on one of these courses... YEAH, RACE. I was GOING to Colorado!!

...... HOLY SHIT.

Suddenly, my Inner Fat Kid was freaking out. Like, remember when you were in middle school, and they suddenly announced in gym class that it was going to be "fitness testing" time? Remember how that freak out felt? You were nervous, you tried to think of 4000 reasons you couldn't participate, you were sure you could barely walk, much less run a mile, or do a wall sit, or a pull up.... C'mon, You remember this vividly, don't you? (I do.)

29 years old, and I ran through that vary array of feelings in the middle of my living room.

When I confessed to the GT that my Inner Fat Kid was "experiencing some distinct terror" associated with that plan we just formulated, he replied, "Well, it's a good thing that your outer badass makes the decisions."

.... touche', GT. Touche.

So, my outer badass (it is a clever rouse...), Spartan'd the Eff Up, and began making travel plans.

With that commitment, I had renewed my focus. I suddenly felt back on track. I love the excitement of a competitive situation and/or a new challenge. I was really eager to put my new shaped-up self to the test. Why wait for my slated race in August, in Amesbury, MA., if I was ready earlier?

And so, BlogLand, after a tiny speed bump, I'm back. I have some new training plans to keep up, and a new, CLOSER, goal to work toward. (look for the updated countdown! Ooo!)...

Run Days will now consist of:
"Regular" runs, 3x wk, adding 1/4 mi each week. (Currently starting at 3.25 mi, so I'll be running at 3.5 miles this week).
Long Run Days, 1x wk, adding 1/2 mi each week. (Currently, I'm running 5 mi... so, I'll be running 5.5 this week.)

I have trouble conceptualizing those kind of distances (that means in four weeks, I should be running SEVEN MILES on LRD), so I'm just not thinking about it. It's really just 5 more minutes, most days... or maybe 2 more 5 minute chunks on LRDs.  I can do that.

I can do anything for 5 minutes.

One foot in front of the other, I'm just going to keep moving. Through the extra distances on my runs, through the tsunami of stress that Life is trying to slow me down with, through the challenges I will face on my journey to that finish line.... but I'm going to get there.

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