Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The only journey is the journey within. -Rainer Maria Rilke

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 139:

I had a little bit of a "day" today, BlogLand. It was a tough one. My alarm went off this morning for Run Day, and I shut it off and groaned a bit. It was early. My bed was warm. I heard light rain outside my window. I didn't want to. At all.

Why didn't I want to?
I'm frustrated, in short. I am, by nature, what one might call an "achiever"... or ridiculously competitive. Once I have my eye on a goal, I am constantly pushing for the next step, next small goal to check off. For instance, in my Spartan Shape-Up journey, losing weight has been at the forefront. I knew what I had to do. I've been diligent about my eating habits. When I started to level off, that wasn't going to be acceptable, so I sought out something that would help keep moving me toward the goal ("No Bread").

Or, in this case, I decided that I wanted to turn 30 and be in shape enough to successfully complete a Spartan Race. When I broke that down, getting in Spartan Race shape involved learning to run. First goal, run short intervals, until I could run for 30 minutes. Check. Next, Run 3x a week, moving up the mileage on the legs. Check. And so on and so forth, bringing us to the present day. Currently, the goal I've been working on is to be able to run a 5K with no-walk breaks. The other goal that I've alternately been working on with that are to be able to average under 11min/mi. over 3ish miles.

I have been working on that goal - run a full 5K, no breaks - for quite a while now. I have not been making any forward progress of late. Not anything remarkable, anyway. I've had really bad days, some better days, and all matter in between.... but I haven't had any breakthroughs. I've done better (less walk breaks), but STILL can't quite break through the 'wall' and get that achievement. I've tried to wait it out, get more miles on my legs, waited for my body to catch up with my training, run a Long Run every week, got in better general shape.... and STILL, no full 3K run.

For an Achiever, being able to check something off the Achievement list is, quite possibly, the most maddening thing in the world. Particularly when you've been as patient as you can, tried every new approach and felt like you were doing all the right things. I haven't been slacking off, I haven't been dodging workouts.... and yet....

... here I am. Lying in my bed, torn about whether I wanted to get out of it and lace up my sneakers or not. Did I want to stay on my quest to Spartan Shape Up and beat my head against this stupid running wall only to NOT hit my goal again, or curl up back in bed and enjoy another hour or so of sleep.

I feel a bit guilty, but today, I chose Sleep.

THEN, I rallied my inner Spartan and reached out. I talked to my Chicks, I threw it all at my GT.  I am strong enough to pull out of this self-pity party, before it becomes a pattern that I don't want to repeat.
Again, I have to note the wise words of my GT. After spewing my frustration and upset and defeat at my GT, he reminded me: "So you're training more, eating less and not progressing? See what I'm doing there?" At which point, I admit, I tried to argue. Then again he reminded me that this is why most normal humans make one change at a time to allow themselves and their body's time to adapt... not just jump feet first in the deep end and figure out how to tread water before you drown. I guess that is what I've been doing. For the last 139 days, I've been in a constant state of flux. The next workout to master, the next step to get to, how to improve my eating, etc. My body and life have been in upheaval. I'm not one to do "gradual".

He also took a moment to remind me to cut myself some slack. I know that running is my weak point, thus by nature, I hyper-focus on the weak point and work to improve it. Work hard. I HAVE been doing all the right things. But I can't force my body to catch up. It needs to have a little time to do what it needs to do to learn and grow. My brain also needs to back the eff off a little bit. This is supposed to be fun. This is to make myself better. I need to get back to enjoying it. My GT suggested I break it up a bit - go for a hike, run without checking the mileage, snowshoe.

Although, the GT did make a request. I have not been keeping my Food Log since I began the No-Bread thing. Apparently, GT feels that I need to get back on this wagon. Nutrition may or may not be playing a part in my progress plateau. One thing at a time; I ease up on myself a bit, re-commit to the detailed Food Log, and just keep plowing forward. One thing at a time. ONE.

*deep breath*

And with that, I'm going to go to bed. Tomorrow morning is Crossfit, and it looks like we're Power Snatching the Crazy right out of the Crack 'O Dawn workout, followed by a pull-up Afterparty. Ohhh yeah. This will be fun. :-)

1 comment:

  1. Hey! I just have to post two encouraging thoughts for you. One, read this article and also google "why walk breaks help running". There's apparently a lot of new research on using strategic walking to actually better your mile times, your recovery, endurance, etc. Not to discourage your "run 5k without walking" goal - definitely keep at it! But also realize that there's nothing truly *wrong* with walk breaks.

    Two - I wanted to offer a "not-close-up" perspective. Look at how far you've come! A year ago, you could maybe run a minute without stopping. Now you can run 5 miles, and about an hour, with a few walk breaks. Who cares about the couple of minutes of walking - that's at least 3/4 of an *hour* of running when you put it all together! That is a WHOLE LOT OF RUNNING, and a whole long way to come, too!

    Anyway, I just wanted to offer that perspective. I'd been really beating myself up about not being able to "run farther", too. Then I decided to just embrace the walk breaks for now, because I figure that it's better to run 3+ miles with a minute or two of walking, then to be burnt out after a mile or two of going straight. You get more miles on your feet by letting yourself take a breather when you need to, and I think that's what makes a real runner: not "running the whole time", but keeping on running after each walk break.

    (my apologies if this isn't my most articulate thought ever - I had a whole comment written and blogger ate it, but I felt it was important enough to type out, inarticulate though it might end up, a second time)