I do find it funny, however, that society seems to still label people in their 50s as older than they truly are. I had the experience last week of going to a new dentist. As I looked up at my digital chart on the screen, I noticed that there was an area for decade. Under decade it said 5, and it surprised me to realize that because I am 48, I actually am in the fifth decade of my life. I have spent the last few years relieved that I have not yet reached that half-century mark, not necessarily because I'll be old, but more because it marks half of my life having passed.
And the doctor's office is not the only place that I have felt old of late. Recently I have been rereading Fifty Shades of Gray, and the main character has several times in the books when she suggests people are old including one scene when she states that someone in their 30's is old--REALLY??
Well this "old lady" had to dig deep this week and channel her inner beast to push through some training obstacles. I have been trying to work my way back to where I was before I got that dreaded flu, and all this while still recovering with a little cough and some lower than usual energy levels. Yesterday and today were the first days I have been able to really push to try to get back my long run stamina. Yesterday I was able to run almost 13 miles. and today I wanted to get in at least 20. Despite the rain, despite the cold, my friend Gaby and I got out there and did 10 very wet, early morning miles. That left me with ten more miles to complete on my own. I was not motivated at all to get back out there. I was cold, wet, a bit sore, and I was not looking forward to all that time running by myself. I really had to dig deep and tell myself that running solo needs to be part of my training. I knew the hardest part would be starting, so I put on dry clothes, fresh shoes, and reminded myself that I could do this.
I have little tricks to keep me going. First, when I know I am not as motivated as I should be, I do a longer out-and-back route instead of choosing to do loops around my house. That way, once I get to the half-way mark I have to finish my miles to get back home. So I ran a little more than 5 miles out, and then I had to complete the last 5 to get out of the rain and cold wind.
Another strategy I use is to think of people in my life that are going through difficult situations and overcoming those challenges. I often think of Jim and Kay and their battles with cancer. I might not want to run, but I remind myself that my little challenge is nothing compared to what they have gone through over the last three years. Both of them have now received clear cancer scans, but I use their strength to push me through.
I also give myself little goals along the route to break a long run into smaller distances. I tell myself if I can just make it to a certain spot, the Del Taco, the light at a certain street, the 4-mile mark, that I can take some nutrition or take a drink from my water bottle. I am not sure why it works, but it does for me.
In the end, I used all the above strategies to actually push myself to complete 20.7 miles today for a 33.5 mile total for the weekend. I was able to do this despite a hillier more difficult second 10 miles, despite the fact that the rain and wind were brutal for about 17 or the 20 miles, and despite there not being another soul out there exercising in the brutal elements. All this actually made me push even harder to get it done. Today I proved to myself that I have an inner beast inside that kicks in when things get tough. I am hoping to channel this same strength in May when I tackle the Nanny Goat Ultra marathon, because this "old lady" is stronger than she thinks!