My blog friend Amanda wrote a killer blog post yesterday on running strengths and weaknesses. Her post had such a great message behind it and was a really good exercise for her to go through as she continues to get and keep her head in the game while training for her first marathon (go girl, go!). Side note – if you don’t know Amanda, get your butt over there -she. is. awesome.
Since I’m on a fun little journey over here as I also get my head in the game for my first-ever full marathon, I thought the strengths/weaknesses exercise was a good one to give a whirl.
- I’m a “free” runner by nature — most of my running is of the “just run” variety. Get out there, log some miles, enjoy the fresh air, the “me” time, the sheer ability to be able to run. “Free” also means – no garmin, no iPod, no distractions.
- I’ve gotten pretty good at getting out of my head when I run — my favorite motto continues to be “run the mile you’re in” which has saved me many a time when a run started to get the best of me and all I could do was focus on the finish “line” versus powering through each mile as it’s own entity.
- I’m not afraid of hills – yup, I said it. Now the Universe is bound to throw some crazy hills at me on my next run, just becaues I said that, huh? 😉 But anyway, I am not afraid of hills — mostly because my routes around my house are all fairly hilly. So I’ve never been the one that has always run flat routes and freak out a little if a course on race day is hillier than I expect. I hope this bodes well on May 6 — the Providence course has a bit of a ‘rolling’ aspect to it. So there’s that.
sometimeslike to think I know more than I do – call me stubborn (no really, go ahead and call me stubborn, I know I am!), but I often find that I bristle at *too* much advice giving my runners out there. It could even be a magazine article that I’ll scoff at. I figure, I’ve been running on my own, without any sort of hardcore training coach or personal trainer, I know what I’m doing. Of *course* I do. Bwahahaha. And then I realize that I’m not perfect. Far from it. And I’m always learning. Running definitely falls into the “constant learning experience” camp. So I should probably heed advice more often and quit letting my stubborn side take over.
- I strive to be faster but sometimes I hate speed work — Yet, sometimes I love it depending on the day. Usually once I’m into a speed workout, I’m ok with it, it’s the anticipation that kills me, haha. On the one hand, I know it’s helped me speed up the pace (my last PR proves that!), but on the other hand — I don’t ever want to be that person that runs and races with an eagle-eye focus on time, time, time. For me, there’s a time and a place to focus on a PR and there’s also a time and a place to focus on the run itself. And running it proud. That’s huge for me – running strong, sure, but running proud. Way more important to me.
- I need to learn how to fuel/hydrate better – this also falls into the “stubborn” camp above. Tuesday night’s run proves that. The nausea I felt after that run was partly due to exertion, but it was also partly due to the lack of water on a warmer-than-usual night in March. Thanks to some great advice from a couple of running friends, I’m (about to be) the proud owner of two Nathan hand-held water bottles (the iFitness belt I bought last summer just doesn’t work for me, too slippy) – a smaller one and a larger one, depending on my needs on a given day. I’ll also be giving honey stingers a try on my longer runs. And more frequent fueling than I’m used to doing during a longer run. I’m doing everything I can to avoid that “OMG I’m gonna puke” feeling after a long (or challenging) run or race. I get that feeling after EVERY half marathon I’ve ever done — and I am sure it’s due to lack of proper fueling (I’m sure you’ll yell at me, runner friends, but two shot blox for an entire 13.1 mile course *probably* isn’t enough). I am determined to figure out the right balance for me — I don’t want to overfuel or overhydrate (I run “heavy” very easily when my stomach has too much in it), but I certainly need to fuel/hydrate better than I have in the past. Note to self.
Whew. That was a fun, but very mind-churning exercise. My mind is now going in a million more directions, running-wise. But the bottom line in all of this?
…I am a runner.
…I love to run.
…It brings me joy.
…I am filled with gratitude that I’ve been blessed with an able body that can carry me through the miles.
…and I’m determined to continue to learn and evolve as a runner.
But most of all? I want to continue to trust my body to do what my mind thinks isn’t possible (why hello there 26.2 miles!). Which is precisely what drew me into running in the first place. To face down (what I thought was) the impossible.