It is no secret that I have been struggling lately. I have had trouble finding motivation to run, workout, and eat right and have made all the excuses in the world to why I can’t. This past Sunday I had the opportunity to interview potential candidates for this year’s Biggest Winner team. If you recall, this is the team that I was on when I became a runner and dropped 37 additional pounds and my sweet Momma was also on last year’s team where she shed 20 pounds and had a killer half marathon PR. It was an interesting and eye-opening experience as I got to talk to so many wonderful and worthy candidates and hear their stories. As I sat there and listened to their responses it was hard for me not to think about how much I am currently struggling. How could I be an example of healthy living and running when I myself was struggling. September was a sort of low month for me in terms of healthy eating and staying active but I went into October still making excuses and refusing to “get back on track”. I was burnt out on running and food was just too much of a temptation for me to resist. I settled for taking daily walks with my Momma instead of logging my usual weekly runs. And I honestly didn’t even care because I was just sick of running. But really, that was just an excuse to not run and to not eat like I know I should.
After the interviews, I sat and spoke with Coach Bryan for quite some time and had a big heart to heart. Eventually he told me “stop talking about it and be about it”. This really hit home. As much as I talked about and invested energy in the mistakes and poor choices that I had made, I could have been working hard to better myself. He also said “It doesn’t matter if you don’t feel like it. Train anyway!”. Again, words of wisdom. He has always told me exactly what to do in my training but it is up to me to actually do it. I could sense his frustration and he wasn’t taking me seriously when I told him that I was ready to get back on track. He challenged me to prove to him that I could consistently run 3 miles every day this week (except Friday). I knew he meant business so I didn’t dare question him. He had my word that this week was the week that things would change and that I would get back to training with consistency and dedication.
So this week I stopped making excuses. Instead of saying I couldn’t go run in the morning because it was too dark, I called my running partner and we met with flashlights for a morning three miler. Guess what? It wasn’t terrible and I felt much safer having someone with me as well as having a solid light source with our flashlight. I now have no excuse not to run in the morning. On Tuesday and Wednesday morning it was thundering and lightening so that was an obvious damper on our running plans. That is out of our control. But instead of just letting that be a day ruiner, I set out to run Tuesday night after our Cross Country Championship. Side note: I had a runner on the team that I coach qualify for the State Championship. He’s awesome. Thankfully Bryan came to watch the meet and ran the three miles afterwards with me so I wouldn’t be alone at night in a random park.
Wednesday night my running partner had to back out thanks to her husband’s emergency appendectomy and I could have easily bailed. But I didn’t. I went and got my three miles in and did them at a really decent pace plus my third mile was the fastest of the three. Boom. This was a pivotal moment for me because I have been making the excuse for so long that I couldn’t possibly run later in the evenings due to having worked and eaten all day. I was wrong and it really was not that bad.
Yesterday I took a personal day so my wonderful Momma and I could go on our annual hike to Mount LeConte. This is a great 10 mile hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that leads to a little village at the summit. People can make reservations over a year in advance to stay at the cabins on top. There is nothing else of this caliber in the Smokies but it should be noted that there is no electricity at the summit so the accomodations are very primitive. We have never chosen to stay the night so we were content with hiking up and buying a shirt, drinking some hot chocolate, and having our photo made next to the famous LeConte Lodge sign. Having a photo made next to the sign is the proof that you were actually there. Thanks to my Momma for spending the day with me since it was great training and great quality time.
Today is a rest day for me since my legs are trashed and I am running a local 10k tomorrow. I’m so glad that I’m feeling like my old self again and dedicating myself to training. This whole being a runner thing is serious business and I’ve come to realize that there will be a lot of ups but there will also be a lot of downs. It is up to me to claw myself out of the downs and to not make excuses. At the end of the day I am responsible for myself and my choices. Thanks to all those who read this little blog and offer encouragement to me just when I need it the most.