This morning I awoke with the most intense ultra fever and am not sure why I caught it. My goal for the year is to become a faster runner. I thought that's what I wanted. So how come when it comes time for me to "push" myself out on a run all I do is dread the lack of air in my lungs and pit in my stomach and stop trying? Why do I long for the burn in my legs that only distance running gives me? Why am I constantly daydreaming of mountains and single-tracks? Why was I looking up local ultramarathons instead of flat marathons? What brought me to the point of almost signing up for a 50 this morning?
Instead of forcing myself to answer the yet unanswerable, I went out for my Monday run which was to be about 8 miles. My mind was spinning trying to figure out what truly were my current running goals versus perhaps romanticized bucket-list items. Halfway into the run I abandoned the route and went wherever I felt the urge to go. I was on the verge of figuring it all out and I needed time to think.
It was starting to get close to the time I needed to pickup my daughter at daycare so I reluctantly ended the run. Upon checking my watch I was stunned to see I had been running for 1 hour and 59 minutes. It felt like it had only been an hour. Upon checking the mileage I was even more stunned to see I ran 13.1 miles by the time I stopped. Never before have I held that comfortable of a pace for a half and finished in under 2 hours.
I wanted to quick write about what I was thinking about during this run before they were gone but the words wouldn't come out. Frustrated I went on Facebook to vent.
Me: Writer's block, snarf...
Molly: Break thru the wall :)
Me: Maybe tonight lol there's too much fog in my head after today's run. At first I can see what I want to write and then it get's completely cloudy again only to be revealed for a few more seconds. I can't get enough clarity to grasp the thoughts long enough to write! Not sure if that makes any sense.
Molly: Totally makes sense. I've done both strategies: take a break and come back later; and just start writing, even if it's sh!t at first and as I work, finally the idea gets out (then go back and delete all the stuff I wrote first lol). Either way, you will break through, I know it :)
Me: I'm always "writing" when I'm out running. My thoughts are so "in the moment" that I'm always afraid if I don't jot them down they'll be lost forever. Today I figured out what I wanted after being hit behind my ultra fever but I'm totally failing to form the answer in a concrete way. Perhaps I'm struggling with the abstractness of it. My running goals aren't tangible. It's not a medal I want to touch. It's something undefinable at the moment.
Molly: That sounds like a "write write write" and it will eventually come out thing to me :) Take a break and then make yourself write, even if it's not coming out as what you want to say, start somewhere and it will eventually come out. You'll find a way to represent the abstract idea :) Or - this could work too! - wait til your next run and run with paper/pen tucked in a backpack? Or voice recorder on your phone? ;)
Reading back on that an hour later I'm not even in sure what I was trying to say and I see an obvious conflict in my own words. Let's just leave it that I was lost in thought. What followed immediately after the chat with Molly wasn't pretty. I was driving to daycare and kept going over what I had thought about during the run. It stung through me like I had been struck by lightening. I identified my goal. I called Molly up in tears. Why the hell I was crying I don't know. I got emotional over it, what can I say? I'll always be a chick in that aspect no matter what. I've built this wall up around me this past year but sometimes it crumbles. I'm human.
Somewhere between the tears I got what I needed to off my chest and the tears stopped. In turn Molly reassured me that this was why Über Mother Runner was created. I definitely should write about it.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”