Monday, February 14, 2011

Back in the saddle

It would be nice if my experience at Houston reflected this cool, fluid shot from my finish. I had a fantastic last 3 miles of the race and kicked in signature style. Unfortunately, the other 23 miles of the race were not as fantastic, did not feel as good and were not as pretty. No, they looked much more like this or certainly at least felt like it:


It took me a few days to recover from Houston, physically. It took me more days to recover mentally. After a bad race, it is easy to be hyper critical of not only your running but also your life. I realized that my race was not a product of poor planning or training, it was just a fluke day and that I would just have to get back on the horse and try again. But when I turned and looked upon my life and questioned whether or not I was working hard enough, planning or training right to achieve the goals I wanted, I was faced with an answer I did not want to hear. I was not, unlike my training for Houston,  doing things that scared me or preparing in case my chance came. I was wishing and hoping and thinking and praying but not planning or preparing or creating the reality I wanted. I was caught in a life rut, a mental vortex of self-doubt, lack of direction, not sure what to do. When it came to my working life (which is what I am talking about here), I realized I was apathetic. And as an introspective, reflective person I find this absolutely weird. The positive side effect of this larger (and maybe more depressing) realization was that I was able to fully accept that the race was just a bad race and I was able to emotionally move on and set myself passionately on the next goal (more about that later...)

Last week, we watched a movie that my bestest everest friend Jonathan had given us for Christmas. It is called Happy, which is about the science of happiness and though I have read/heard/been exposed to most of the concepts in the movie, for some reason it was like a light switch was flipped. I woke up the next morning and all of my apathy was gone. I had motivation and energy and passion to take my business to the next level. Suddenly, it was as if I could suddenly see the path I wanted to take concretely were only vague shadows had been before. I could see my path and what I needed to do. Suddenly, I was as empowered by my working life as I was about my running life. In my running, I don't sit back and wait for things to happen, I go out day after day and make them happen. I control the part I can control and hope my preparation will move me towards my goals. I woke up last week and realized that the way I run is the way I can work. I don't need to shrink back into the shadows and take a desk job for security, I don't need some gigantic stroke of luck to fall in my lap, I just need to get out there and do what I am good at. I have never felt so excited about work before in my life. I feel empowered, I feel inspired, I feel excited. Momentum quickly builds when you get your energy behind it.

Momentum

Momentum is also something I am trying to keep in my running. After a bad race, it would be easy to lose it. It would be easy to be demoralized, to go back to the drawing board. But, as I mentioned above, I was able to shake off my Houston experience pretty well and pretty fully. I had a smart recovery, have listened to my body diligently and allowed myself some comfort and some exceptions. But I also still have the strong driving desire to pursue my Olympic Trials qualifier. I know I have it in me and though the reality may be that I will never make it to the Olympics, the opportunity to try, to be a part of the race that determines it, is absolutely not something I am walking away from. I am going for it.

The week after the marathon, I was looking at every possible race there is this spring to make another attempt at. I went a little marathon sign up happy for fast races this year, but none of them are soon enough to satisfy me. I am hungry now, I am ready now. Finally, I decided on my next attempt and I am very excited to race the LA Marathon on March 20th. I have 5 weeks until race day which means, with last weeks good training, I will be able to continue to capitalize on my great fitness leading up to Houston. I also have the added bonus of having the Houston experience. I was severely lacking in fast road racing experience going into Houston (hadn't done a road marathon in 2 years!) and even just this one experience helps me get closer to my goal and helps me better understand how to race a marathon. I am very very excited about the LA Marathon. I look forward to the training, I look forward to reflecting and sharing the journey towards this goal and I look forward to achieving my dream: seeing a sub 2:46 on that finishing clock.

7 comments:

  1. Good photo illustrations of your point :)

    I bet runners and athletes in general are pretty intense regarding most things they do, but I know in my case there's room for improvement. Take the best of what you do, and apply that drive to everything else. Wise thoughts.

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  2. Good luck at LA, I hope you run your goal time, that should be able to earn you some money!

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  3. Smart plan - you will no doubt be able to maintain the conditioning for the next five weeks with out much effort, and a second taper will help. I predict a sub 2:46 very near in your future! Bouncing from a bad result yields mountains of motivation. Run swift, run smart, and may the winds be with you.

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  4. Woohoo! I'm excited to watch your career grow and become what you want it to be. I feel like I had a similar little slump, but once I went for it, everything worked out stupendously! xoxo

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  5. Good move Devon...have a great run in LA, you'll get it.

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  6. Yay! You'll be in LA =) I'll bring you some Hannah's Homebrew to help you fuel and recover!

    I really enjoyed your post. SO often I experience these darker moments by myself so I appreciate your honesty in discussing them. Way to GROW girrrl!! You can do it!

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  7. Great post! I've been struggling quite a bit with apathy and lack of direction (both in running and career). I know I'm happiest when I'm busy and actively working toward a goal - I guess I just need to sit down and really figure out what I want that next goal to be :)

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