This week’s Thought Dump is coming a little early, and I only have a couple thoughts to dump. I probably could just wait until Friday to gather more thoughts and establish pattern, but I’d rather just post it now so I can take the rest of the week off from the blog – you’ll find out why in just as second.
1. This week is LAAAAAME
I am having a total off week. It’s basically just been one long case of the blahs. I feel like someone put a vacuum to my head last weekend and sucked out every last drop of my mental energy. I can’t bring myself to do anything or even care about the fact that I’m not doing anything. I feel super first-world-problems-y for saying all of this, because nothing is wrong, I’m just so over the Monday-Friday grind right now that I almost literally can’t even. I feel like I need a day off – just ONE! – soooo badly. I’m not stressed or overworked or anything, so I don’t know why I want a day off so badly…I just really need a mental break. I sometimes feel this way Monday mornings but I’m usually over it after a day or two, so it’s odd that it’s Wednesday and I’m still indulging this. The irony is that my refusal to do anything productive is actually making the week go by slower, and I know this, but I still can’t snap out of it! Maybe this goes back to what I said last week about May, how I feel like I have nothing going on and it’s making me listless. When I write my monthly recap in a couple weeks, what am I even going to say about this month? “I existed”?
Anyway, no more. I mean it. The rule about venting/ranting (or at least it’s my rule, but it should be everyone’s!) is that you don’t get to do it unless you’re going to take some kind of action about it. Tonight, I will get myself together. I’m going to run, even though I know I’m going to want to skip it. I’m going to be productive around the house. I’m going to start telling myself that Memorial Day is *ONLY* 7 more work days away!
2. Mind over matter?
So, for what will be the umpteenth time hearing this if you’re a regular reader of this blog, I’m opting out of shooting for a PR in the Chicago Marathon, because of how much I’ve slacked in my running the past few months, leading to a lapse in fitness that I believe puts me too far behind to get into PR shape in time for the marathon.
But lately, I’m wondering about that.
I think I’m like a lot of runners out there in that I really struggle with self-doubt. Other people in my exact position right now would probably take the mindset of “hell yeah I’m going for that PR. I know I’m capable if I train well this summer, so why *wouldn’t* I go for it? So what if I’m a little out of shape now, I have 18 weeks of structured training to get it back, I got this!”
I think of how many races I’ve gone into where I basically had mentally given up before I even crossed the starting line, where I set myself up for an underwhelming performance because I went into it with the mindset of “I haven’t trained enough/my mileage has been low = I’m going to run a slow time and this is going to feel really hard“. Or how often I’ve been too afraid to push myself myself in a race, giving in to the self-sabotaging talk of “your training doesn’t indicate you can hold X:XX pace so best to just not attempt it“.
Obviously, to some degree, this is smart; there’s a difference between taking risks and being reckless in a race. And it is prudent to assess where you are now, how much time you have, and how much pressure you want to put on yourself when determining goals. But is that what this is really about? Am I really just being smart, or do I lack confidence?
Possibly – probably – both. Ariana and I were talking about this over email recently, and it made me wonder if my conservative approach to goals and expectations this training cycle could actually backfire on me in some ways. I mean, the prevailing theme in my head lately seems to be “I can’t.” I can’t set a PR. I can’t run a fast time. I’m too out of shape. I hadn’t thought of it this way before, but I wonder if constantly having that negative self-talk in my head could cause me to sabotage myself in training by slacking in workouts, or skimping on mileage, because why does it matter I’m going to run a slow marathon anyway.
I hope I’ve found a balance with this by refusing to set any time goals/expectations until I’m over halfway through training, at least. I like to think this affords the best of both worlds: I’m not putting pressure on myself, being unrealistic, or forcing myself to train at a fitness level I may not be at yet, but I’m also keeping an open mind and leaving myself open to the possibility of achieving more than I currently believe I can. I’ll still be motivated to train hard if I believe there’s a possibility I can surprise myself later, but I won’t be putting pressure on myself and feeling like a failure if that doesn’t happen.
And I’m not letting my dream of having an unexpected fitness surge during this training cycle and setting mad PRs die. I’m not expecting it of myself or getting my hopes up, but I’m not giving up on the possibility. I’m keeping it alive in the fantasy section of my head, and taking the mindset of simply “I don’t know.”
I think training just really really needs to start soon. I’m getting so antsy and you all have to read these long streams of my random thoughts. I’m also eager to feel like my runs have a purpose. It’s all think think think wait wait wait these days. But I’m tired of thinking about training, I just want to do it already!