How Mental Are YOU?

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It’s Friday, so glad it’s Friday. No running for me today, my off day, before a weekend of 13 and 8 mile runs, week 12 of my marathon training plan.  I had 3 straight 5 milers this week (Tues-Thur).  I did what I normally do, get out of bed at 4:45ish in the morning, get my running attire on, stretch, my music situated, and set out on my 5-miler.  It’s only going to be 50 minutes I say, no big deal.  I need to get it done to get back in time to cool off, help my wife get lunches packed for the boys, then shower, eat breakfast, and head off to work by 7:30.  Busy mornings.  Day in and day out.  I’ve gotten into a rhythm.

I started seriously running on July 6, starting my Hal Higdon training program for my 1st full marathon, the Savannah Rock-n-Roll Marathon in November.  I’ve never really trained for any kind of running race before, just more like run some here and there, then do the race.  The last half marathon I did, I think I did one 9-mile run about a week before it and thought I was ready to go.  This training plan has taken a lot of toughness to get through and keep going.  I’ve had to convince myself to get out of bed, 5am, in the rain or the 190% humidity, and run.  No matter what the distance is, or where, I’ve completed all my training runs so far.  I plan to complete all my runs as scripted in my plan.  But it sure has taken a lot of mental strength and toughness to do some of them.

So, as we are about to take on the weekend, with lots of other activities looming (kids sports, college football games, pro football games, birthday parties, etc), will everyone get their workouts in? Will you get up extra early to get in your necessary mileage?  Or will you push the snooze button and let the day go by to have fun and not get in your workout.  What is your limit for mental toughness?  Is a 5-mile run just so easy you can just up and do it? Or does every workout require you to really convince yourself and use a lot of mental focus to get up and get completed?

I’m learning what mental toughness I have, pushing through my runs when I really don’t want to. I’m glad I did the run once I’m finished.  Most people do and will.  So, will you be challenged with  a mental game this weekend?  I’ll be up at 5am tomorrow morning prepping for my 13 miles….Maybe I’ll see you on the road.

Is running an inconvenience?

So I went out for a morning run, just my normal 5 mile morning run at 5am.  I tend to run in the morning before work and everyone wakes up in the house in order to just get it done, out of the way, and that allows me to relax at home at night with my family, or not have the workout not impede on the 100 other things we have going on with kids activities, my wife’s workout schedule, work, school, homework, fun, etc.  So off I go, in the dark of the early morning.  I wear some bright colored clothes, not too much, but not black. My shoes glow, and my shirts are fairly bright.  I think I can be seen.  I run through my neighborhood streets, keeping close to the house due to the time of the morning and knowing I have to get home, cool off, get in the shower, see the kids and then get to work before 7:30am.  As I run on the edge of the neighborhood streets, I hug the edge of the pavement. We have no curbs, just asphalt roads ending in grass of the houses along the street.

I mind my business, running along, not bothering a soul.  I see lights in the distance coming towards me, and I begin to watch to see when they begin to move over to the center of the road.  Closer the car comes, closer to the edge of the road it goes.  Closer to me, closer….closer….I run off the road about 10′ into someone’s yard..yelling at the car that has now sped past me, well above the 35 mph speed limit in our neighborhood, and hugging the edge of the road as if they were trying to deliver mail.  I don’t think they saw me, I know for sure they didn’t see me. Whether they weren’t looking, were texting, still sleeping, didn’t care, whatever….I HAD to move.  Not the 2 ton car, nope, little ‘ol 210 pound me had to move.  After I regrouped from the multiple expletives I yelled at the car, I resumed running, again, hugging the edge of the road.  I began to think….

Are we, as runners (I now consider myself a runner as I train for my 1st full marathon), an inconvenience? Is running an inconvenience?  Not to us, not in our schedules and our lives.  But are we runners and the act of running, an inconvenience to the world?  I mean, we do take up space running along the side of the road.  We cause traffic jams and roadway closures for a race event.   We raise money and fund raise for great charities, but must ask the general public to donate to our causes.  We use public bathrooms in restaurants and coffee shops we aren’t eating at during our long runs.  Are we an inconvenience?  Causing others to “share the road”, or at least “move over in the lane because a group of runners is coming down the street”.  Move off the sidewalk as a group of runners jog by…must wait by the bathroom as we stop in for a quick break during a long run (or emergency stop, depending on your run).  So are we an inconvenience to the world?

I of course do not think so. I believe my wife will think we are not.  Just proposing the question as I am experiencing more and more everyday what my wife (an avid experienced runner) has told me stories of her adventures during runs. Do you feel you are an “inconvenience” at times to the world? I am not going to change what I do, just some thoughts I had running the other morning.

And I went out this morning at 5am to get in my 5 miles, as I usually do.  Had to avoid one vehicle today, but felt much less like an inconvenience.  More like an obstruction to them, keeping them alert.  Hope you all have good runs and aren’t treated like an inconvenience in your training.