My alarm went off at 4:00 am this morning and as my hand reached over to grab my alarm clock I couldn't believe it was time to get up already. I silenced my alarm, closed my eyes, and started counting. I told myself that I had to get out of bed by the time I got to 50. I opened my eyes, looked out the window, and saw the huge moon low in the sky shining brightly. I tried to find comfort in the fact that at least it wouldn't be too dark out. I climbed out of bed, grabbed my gym bag, and silently left the room. Once in the living room, I tidied the pillows and folded and put away the blanket that didn't seem to find their homes last night after I went to bed. All the while, I am asking myself why do I do this each morning? Why am I compelled to take a few precious moments to tidy up? I know the answer, I really do hope to come home to a tidy home at the end of the day. Messy clutter can make me grouchy.
I got into my running clothes, loaded up my lunch bag, and grabbed my pre-workout drink and muffin and headed out. The key to success is having everything essentially ready to be assembled first thing in the morning. It makes getting out the door quicker. And I eat my small pre-run meal on the drive to the gym. It works.
But going through my routine and knowing that I do want to run didn't make the idea of running this morning any easier. I am in the first week of a new training cycle phase. I had a tempo run on the plan. It has been awhile since I did a tempo run and this one was at a faster pace than my previous tempo runs. Okay, only by 7 seconds per mile but those 7 seconds were worrying me....especially when you add in the fact that it has been awhile. I knew what I needed to do. My mind wasn't playing with me.
Once on the treadmill I remembered an article I just read in Runner's World. Go figure, I would receive the Boston decision the Tuesday after the Boston Marathon. For some reason, those articles just didn't read the way I think they intended them to read. But I digress....the article I am talking about is the one focused on our own negative talk. I am guilty. I tell myself I am strong. I think I am weak. I want to break a 4:00 marathon. I doubt I can do it. I train hard and stick to my plans as best as I can. I feel like a failure when I slip. Do you see the negativity?
I feel tired. I say it is okay to go easy. I am having a bad day. I say, okay, run less. Sometimes these are indeed smart decisions. Sometimes they aren't. And today as I felt weak, tired, and not into a 7-8 mile run with 3 miles at tempo pace (7 seconds per mile faster!). I doubted I could do it all before work. Negativity.
Finding my happy zone
So I focused on the article and finding my happy zone. What is my happy zone? What about my mantra? I started with my power word for 2013... strength. All good and wonderful and it is my power word but in the back of my mind I heard weak every time I said strength. Nope. Not working. I envisioned my happy place. What is my happy place? A field of yellow flowers. It seems so wonderful. I love fields of yellow flowers. I dream of fields of yellow flowers. I envisioned a field of yellow flowers. I ran through it....and it sucked. I was smooshing the flowers. The ground was uneven. Not happy...not happy at all. So I put a trail through the field. Yes, that helped! I can run on this pathway with yellow flowers on either side. Dad. Yes, I just said Dad. He came into my mind as he does during many of my runs. Dad. Determined. I felt determined. I felt committed. I felt strong, loved, and supported.
Aha! I found my happy zone! Dad. Flowers. Strength. Dad. Flowers. Strength. Dad. Flowers. Strength. I carried those words and the image below through my tempo run. I ran towards my Dad, passed him, he circled back, and I kept running to him. And yes, I did envision this picture I have of my Dad shoveling snow and yes, I did chuckle at times of the irony of shoveling snow in the middle of a field of yellow flowers. Wouldn't you?
My happy place - how I saw it in my run
Dad. Flowers. Strength. I returned to it if I felt worried or uncertain. Dad. Flowers. Strength. Wow! 1.2 miles done. Dad. Flowers. Strength. Wow! Only 9 minutes or so left! Just over a mile! Dad. Flowers. Strength.
This carried me to mile 4. The end of my one mile warm-up and 3 miles at tempo pace. Now the 3 miles to wrap up the run. All of a sudden I questioned doing a mile warm up and 3 miles at the end. What was I thinking? Oh yeah, that I wanted to get into the tempo run ASAP to get over worrying about it. Worrying is the worst part. Doing it always seems easier. I can run 3 miles at an easy pace. And I did. My mind began to wonder some, my eyes started to drift around the gym, I did come back to my happy zone here and there but running easy was....well....easy.
7.07 miles done. 65 minutes of running before work done. Happy zone found. It is going to be a good day! And yes, I did push it this morning.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my Dad. Daily Affirmation: I keep my mind open to learn new things.