The wall. And my first bike ride in 10+ years.

This week’s motivation: “The minute you think of giving up, think of the reason you held on so long.”
That mental wall is kicking my metaphorical ass. These days I hit one mile and my mind just says “good enough. Walk now!” I know it’s hard to break through that wall, but I did it once before. I’m just bummed that it feels so much harder this time.
A sinus migraine sidelined me for most of the day on Saturday so my run in the evening felt just awful and was cut in half, from 4 to 2 miles. Mile 1 was good. Mile 2 was mediocre. I stopped and sat to catch my breath/stop the world spinning around my head/drink water and when I did a woman who is about my age and probably 70-80 pounds heavier than I am went by. And my “I’m only slow because I still have to lose weight” reasoning went flying out the window. She wasn’t going too fast, but she was going. And it hit me. I’m slow because I keep punking out during training runs. And for a minute I thought “Liz, get off your butt and run that second loop.” Then I thought about how much getting sick in the woods had sounded like a good idea to make me feel better during the first loop that I thought I better just head home. On the way home, I stopped at a gas station to put air in my bike tires. This is a bike my Mom and Dad got together to buy me in 1999. When I was 13. I rode it some back then but it hurt my butt and then I started high school and wasn’t visiting neighborhood friends anymore. After college I brought it to DC with me. And then home to MA. And it’s followed me everywhere in MA. But I hadn’t ridden it again. I decided to drag it out of the basement, along with my “youth” helmet. A purple helmet with pink peace signs all over it goes well with the whole “look at me, I’m an adult” thing. Fo’ sho’. But I had this crazy idea to ride it to the Farmer’s market as my Sunday cross training. This turned out to be both a genius and painful decision. On the genius side, I rode to the bike shop to buy a new lock and have them cut off the old lock. My Dad likes to buy the biggest and best. Even if it’s 10 times stronger/bigger than anything you need. So I had a half-inch thick steel cable lock wrapped around the center of the bike that had a key that I think I threw away during one of my 87 moves since going off to college in 2004. The guy at the shop looked at it and said it might take some effort but he was pretty sure he could get it off. 10 seconds later it was done. I think he underestimated the power of an industrial size bolt cutter. I also picked up some Nuun tablets because SararOUaL keeps talking about them and I wanted to try (I want to be a cool kid!). Amazing. I’m a total convert. One tablet changes 16 oz. of water to a sugar free, low calorie (<8!), electrolyte replenishing drink. With a bit of a fizzy finish. After drinking half my Nalgene down, I rode to the Farmer’s market. And here’s where the painful comes in. That bike seat soreness in my backside that I remembered so not fondly came back. With a vengeance. After I picked up some bread, salad greens, and fresh eggs I rode home. And every bump or crack or pebble in the rode was something to be feared and hated. I’m sitting very gingerly today.

But back on the genius side, I ran errands by bike. That’s something I never thought I’d do. I’ll probably do this again in a couple of weeks. And maybe consider buying a more comfortable bike seat. Or a way to make mine better. Without being stared at.
The week’s training:
M: Stretch/rest. Good because I have to go to the dentist. On a Monday. With a sore bum. (not that’s it related. But seriously, it hurts. And sometimes I want to whiiiine)
T: 3 miles in the am. We have summer hours now, so lunch is 30 minutes. And I’m going to see “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” after work. I hate morning. This should be hilarious. Not.
W: 2 miles. Trying to not kill my legs as I get used to running TWR
R: 3 miles. And then Chic-fil-A. Because I can.
F: Rest. Yay.
S: 4 miles. I like to torture Saturdays.
S: Cross training. Sans bike. Perhaps a hike. Or a swim. But I would need a pool or lake for that. Maybe that’s what I’ll do this weekend. Find a public pool/lake.
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Big News: I’m running a half marathon!

Big news! I’m training for a half marathon. I’m still deciding which and I’ll be sure to share when I do. The two I’m considering are only a week apart in late September so as long as I know by mid August (which is the absolute latest I would ever know and I think it will be more like mid July) I can add a week to training if needed. As it is, I’m following a 12 week training program but am starting a few weeks early on the off chance really good chance definite chance that I’ll want to repeat a week or stick in a step back week. I’m equal parts excited for this new adventure, terrified of the awesome task I have ahead of me, and worried that I won’t have it in me to do this. But I’m working really hard on ignoring that last part.

13.1 miles is not a short distance. I recently drove to southern Connecticut and back over two days and as I approached hour 5 in the car I noticed a sign for the next town that was 14 miles away. And as I drove by the exit for that town this thought crossed my mind. I just drove slightly more than half marathon distance. And even driving that seemed like a lot. Granted, I had gone to CT for a funeral and was spending more than 6 hours in a car in a 30 hour stretch. At that point one mile seemed like a lot. Still. 13.1 miles is no laughing matter.

On the other hand a year ago 5k seemed ridiculously long. These days I laugh in the face of a 5k. Ok, not really. That 3.1 mile distance still kicks my butt. But it used to be 1 mile that kicked my butt. Improvement, no? And I got there because I put the work in. I put miles on the pavement and pushed myself up hills and around extra loops and trudged through the rain. I just have to do that again. Just 4 times as long. Ha. To do that, the next 4 months will be full of training, figuring out what I should be eating, hopefully losing some weight, and I’m sure loads of grunts, guts, tears, and smiles. Maybe not loads of smiles. Running’s hard, yo.

I don’t know about you, but I need motivation. And a lot of it. At this point telling myself “just think how good you’ll feel crossing the finish line” won’t cut it. That moment is 4 months and hundreds of miles down the road. I learned a while ago that dry erase marker goes on and off a mirror pretty easily. And as luck would have it my bathroom is configured in a way that I don’t use a third of my mirror. So I’ve decided to write an inspiring quote on the bathroom that will be the theme, if you will, for each week. And quite frankly I fell off running a bit this winter and I’m stuck up against that mental wall. And I keep almost busting through and wimp out. I’ve got two more weeks of “pre-training” to try to bust through so I need a little inspiration to find that moment of triumph. So this week’s theme? “It doesn’t get easier, you just get better.” I stole that from pinterest. I’m pretty sure it’s been stolen, cannibalized, re-written, and like a middle school game of telephone is nowhere near the original quote. So I can’t find an author. All I know is it’s exactly how I feel. Running will always be hard. But if I stick to it, I’ll get better. And those 13.1 miles will fly by. Hahahaha. I can’t even type that with a straight face. Let’s be real honest. Those 13.1 miles are going to drag by. But with every step another little bit of distance will be gone and at some point 13.1 miles will be over.

And oh the dancing that will occur at that finish line.