100km, Race to the Stones on July 14th 2018.
I did it and I don’t even know how.
Ok, I know, I wasn’t in coma for 15 hours. What I mean I didn’t train properly, in the last 3 months due to inexplicable feeling of weakness I dialed back my mileage and I didn’t run more than 13 miles in single workout.
My contract wasn’t renewed so I’m jobless, I had some serious personal issues and to be honest I’m not sure where I’m going to live in the next few months. Not the best scenario to run a race where mental shape counts as much as the physical one. I knew i wasn’t ready so I had to do some damage control before the damage would be done!
- I realistically estimated how far I could go and in my calculations it was 60 km. Whatever would happen after that wasn’t clear but I knew I’d be able to go that distance. I thought I would walk the rest
- I had no idea about the pace so I decided to leave my garmin at home and go for an easy pace, in my estimation I shouldn’t feel exhausted at least for the first 20 km
- I decided to walk every uphill, some of them were quite easy to run, others were more steep. I’m not shy of hills (at least not all of them) but I was on Energy Save mode
That’s about the technical strategy, how about my mental game? I’m not very good at it and as you’ve already seen I’m quite fragile at the moment.
Very often I can’t separate my every day issues from the race and I keep on thinking about them while running. It wasn’t different this time and some of the kms flew by while I was thinking about future and, let’s be honest, about the negative stuff. After some time I was able to abandon those feeling, maybe the meditation I’ve been practicing these days is really helping (I’ll tell you about it in a different post?
The last piece of this success is ‘everyday hero factor’ as I call it (ok, I just invented it on the spot):
lot of what’s happening to you is a patchwork of what you can do and what happens to you and not all of it you can control.
Race, exceptions not included, is your piece of reality where so much more depends on you and you can make it the way you want it.
I was aiming for a lot, I got it all.
I guess marathon training is taking its tool on me as I’m incredibly tired this week after lasts week’s training (70 km in total). I’m behaving like I would after a marathon: running less and taking some rest.
What is bothering me now are…my teeth! One of those will have to be devitalized, I just discovered that and i want to have it done before marathon. I know it’s crazy to schedule your dental care around my race calendar but I don’t want to be on painkillers on the start line.
How was my last long run that made me rest this week? Terrible. My glute was on fire, I was tired, thirsty and slow. And I stopped like a million times. I guess the marathon will go just fine. Honestly, I’m more worried about my teeth than my pace now. Ok, just a little bit more.
The marathon is in less than 3 weeks and I’ve done all I could. It wasn’t perfect but everyday life is like that. You fail but you have to go on #life #wisdom
On Sunday I ran and easy trail but damn it was muddy like no other I ran.
Last week I went with my friends for a non competitive run in the countryside. It was mostly off road with some uphill parts. I wasn’t terribly fast and it was only 24 km but I ran all the hills, I drank all the hot tea at the refreshment points and I finished happy.
Today I came back even more happy on my normal running route and I realized that for some time I haven’t changed it. So next week I’m running a trail, short one and not very hilly. My legs but also my head need some change sometimes. Overall I like running now and running likes me back.
Time goes by, days are getting longer
The positive thing about running early* in the morning is that you’re not capable of fully realizing what is going on. Well, you see the pace but you’re not blaming yourself too much for not being at your top form.
And actually I don’t really know how my training is going. Sometimes I’m too tired during the work week, sometimes I don’t care and most of the times I’m focused just at one workout at the time. I hope it doesn’t sound too miserable, I’m just trying to do me best and have some work/workout/life balance. I’m at the ‘trust your training and go with the flow’ stage.
In the meantime I’m reading ‘Alias Grace’ by Margaret Atwood and I’ve seen 5 good films
The shape of water
3 billboards outside Ebbing
And a great exhibition of James Nachtwey’s photos (the photo you see is from this event).
And that counts as something.
*by early I mean 6-6.30 am
How you master your mental game for a race?
If you don’t know what a mental game is don’t feel guilty, I just made it up. It means being mentally strong and prepared for the race day or even the long run.
Another week flew by and I have to say I don’t feel any more prepared to the marathon than I was before. It’s going to be my 15th marathon (I think, I lost count) and I still find myself thinking: am I able to run a marathon? I guess you’re always a beginner at running because you have to reset so many times. Running after injury, running in winter, running in summer, it all makes me feel new to it.
So far I’m still struggling to get faster, those intervals ain’t getting any easier. I’d like to speed up and run a half before april’s marathon. Turin, Verona, Lago Maggiore?
I have already registered for two races, Paris Marathon (8th of April) and another one I cannot tell (cause superstition) but still I’m having trouble rolling out of bed on a weekday early morning to go for a run.
I can’t wait for days to get longer, I simply hate running in the dark!
Good deeds of the week: I bought a 3 sessions from my osteopath. Just in case. Just to take care of myself in the 2018.
Roll over and sleep until you’re too late for work.
Nah, that’s not me but to be honest I’m always too late, especially in the morning.
Lately I became obsessed with time efficiency,lifehacks, anything that could save me some time in the morning. Every time I read articles about morning routine I think I should wake up at 4 am to meditate, run, do yoga, prepare green smoothie and cherish the sunrise.
The thing I find the most upsetting is the claim some people make: I wake up so early because I’d like to have time for myself before the day starts.
Which doesn’t mean all those people live their lives in service of others, it just means they don’t have time for themselves or they think they don’t. I get it, time before work is the time when I have energy and focus to do something for myself but is it right to do so?
My focus and self-concentration should be limited to the lonely hours at the break of dawn? Only in solitude can we find our true self?
I’m really quite self-concentrated person but somehow it gets me that only the time I spent by myself is considered ‘me-time’. That solitude has gained this supreme value.
I guess a yoga class is me time and although I won’t make the conversation with others I still feel their presence is essential to me.
Time on my own is often hectic while time with others have different rhythm. I like being on my own but I don’t believe that once you’re in the world you loose yourself. You let yourself to do so but it’s you, not the others that make this happen.
I took a liking to non fiction only recently and it was because of the running related books.
I heard about “Eat sweat play” few times from a non running women and admittedly I snobbed it. Because reasons.
Well I thought that’s the book about how sports can be fun written for women who don’t like sports. So I never thought of reading it. Months later I read an extract from the book and it wasn’t actually bad. I bought the book and it was one of the more interesting books I read in the last months.
What is it about?
Women and their relationship with sports. Amateurs or professionals we all have to face the same problems.
Everyday women often think that sport is for men or that they won’t like it (after almost always horrible school experience) or, even if they finally get into physical activity, they still feel bad that they won’t be feminine enough while sweating.
Professional athletes have to face the femininity issue plus the amenorrea or how the period affect their performance. This last issue is still not addressed by the coaches if not by advising a pill to suppres period. Can you believe that Paula Radcliffe has to think about it? Well, we all do.
New things I learnt, new things I remember.
Apart from the chapter about period and athletes I will remember that even if you’re a pro it still counts if you’re pretty or not (in the eyes of media and public). When Venus Williams was winning all there was to win it was ….. Who was signing all the major sponsorship contracts. Venus was called names because she was considered masculine.
Who is it for?
Honestly: for everyone. At least for every woman. I thought it would be only for women who are reluctant to move but..I was really pleasantly surprised.
More books like this! Go and read it!