What threw me over the edge this week was running in Lake Tahoe. I should have been proud of myself for running despite not feeling 100%, despite not sleeping well at night, and despite the weather being 26 degrees. I should have been happy with the fact that I got out there and attempted to do a 5-miler on Monday morning and an 8-miler on Wednesday. But instead of pride all I got was fear and self-doubt. I had two of the worst runs I have had in years. My chest was tight, I couldn't catch my breathe, and I felt like I walked more than I ran on these runs--perfect recipe for breaking down mentally.
To a lesser degree I also let fear come into my head about my eating as well. What if I can't get my eating back under control? What if I can't get this extra fluff off me before the ultra marathon? What if? WHAT IF???
Luckily, this food control negativity was short-lived, which is actually progress for me. I have a plan, and this means I am in control. I will get back to planning my meals for the week, shopping for healthy food over the weekend so that I can bring good snacks and lunches to work, and trying to eliminate all chocolate, which I know is my trigger food for all my crazy binge eating episodes. I came across this blog on meal planning that I thought might be helpful if anyone out there has made consistent meal planning one of their goals for 2015. This blog had some really good tips and suggestions for making small changes to move you in the right direction. Meal Planning Blog
Another success in the face of this fear that I let creep in is that I am not letting these runs keep me down. When I went back and researched the area I was running, I realized that this part of Tahoe is at almost 6500 elevation, and I tend to have difficulty with altitude until I get acclimated. Not to make excuses, but cold weather plus chest cold plus elevation makes it reasonable for me to have a tough run, or two. It does not define my ability to train and be ready for a long distance race that is more than four months out.
I also got out on Saturday and ran support for my friend Mark that needed to complete one last 20-miler before his very first full marathon at Surf City. I ended up running over 18 miles with him and I kept up a consistent pace the whole time, the exact opposite of my Tahoe runs. In addition, I got up today and I am hardly sore at all considering the number of miles I put in yesterday. This is progress!
For those of you that get frustrated with how I sometimes appear to be harsh with myself, understand that I share these real emotions so that I can take the power away from those negative thoughts. This is real! We all have times when we are afraid, but what is most important is how we react to that inevitable fear. Do we lie down and give into the fear by giving up, or do we tackle it head on and make plans to push that fear back to make room for our successes? I for one know that there will be other times that fear may surface, but I know that with my consistent training, with my support system surrounding me, with all the encouragement I have on my side, fear doesn't have a chance to keep me down for long!