Y’all, I was so good. I trained. I was dedicated. Driven. Fast. To knock out the next PR was all the running motivation I needed.
I don’t know what happened. Wait, yeah, I do.
I fell off the wagon. It was the damn marathons that probably did it – those training schedules about killed me. I was so miserable after the second marathon that I told myself it was better to take a break. I couldn’t find my running motivation with both hands and a flashlight.
Problem is, it became a never ending break. I completed additional races after that, but the training was half-assed and the races were hard and I spent way more time walking than I normally do.
The Last Straw
I had *just* started running again. Training for the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah in November. At the end of September, I took a spill while out hiking with my kids and wound up with a tibial plateau fracture and a banged up knee. Crutches for six weeks. Not cleared to run for another 4 weeks. I was a spectator for the RnR Savannah. Missed a 5K and a 10K for which I was previously registered. Y’all, after a little over 2 months of no running at all, I’m back at square one. I’m an ambassador for the Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon in April and that’s going to be my comeback goal.
My Three F’s of Running Motivation
I’ve been saying that I’m super pumped to be able to start running again. As the date for me to be cleared gets closer, though, reality is setting in. I will not be the picture of speed, wind flowing through my hair. I will be sputtering. Slow. Sore. It’s going to be hard, and I don’t like hard. My running motivation is shaky. My first two “F’s” are the things that I have to overcome to get where I want to be.
I’m not generally an anxious person. I’m not super cautious. But after breaking my leg and messing up my knee doing something so mundane, I’ll admit that I’ve got some fear going. I’m going to watch every step. Go slow anywhere that I could possibly turn my knee the wrong way. I remember how badly my knee hurt when I first injured it and I do NOT want to experience that again.
There’s a second kind of fear, though, aside from the fear of re-injury. It’s the fear of failure. What if I start and it hurts? What if I messed something up permanently? What if… I just suck? I’m 47 and I’ve gained some extra pounds over my last year of eating crap and kind-of, sometimes exercising. What if my best is behind me and I will never again feel as strong as I used to?
This is a big, big thing for me. I have an incredibly low tolerance for frustration. As a kid, if I couldn’t do something well immediately, I lost interest in it and moved on to the next thing. The only reason I stuck with running when I was brand new was the crapton of money I spent on new shoes and the nonrefundable Princess Half Marathon registration. The trip to Walt Disney World. My husband’s eternal condemnation if I didn’t do what I said I was going to do after I handed over the credit card.
The most frustrating thing about starting over is that you know how running used to feel. Starting over sucks. My half-marathon PR is a 2:18 on a hilly local course. I felt like a gliding goddess when I was running that course. That was two years ago. When I start running again, I’m going to feel more like a slug. I’ll be sore and panting. I’ll feel about as graceful as a hippo. I absolutely have to push through that in order to get to my desired level – Bad Ass.
I might drop an F-bomb every now and then. Okay. It’s a part of my regular everyday vocabulary. But sometimes, there is just no other word that works as well. For my third “F”, I’m channeling my inner Shalane. This year’s NYC Marathon winner, Shalane Flanagan let a jubilant “F*ck Yeah!” fly before she crossed the finish line. Watch the below video to the 26 second mark.
I want that. That feeling. I want “F*ck Yeah” as opposed to “Thank You Baby Jesus That This Is Over”. To get that, there is no magic pill. I’m just going to have to push past the first two “F”‘s on my way to the third. Bad Ass Level doesn’t exempt pain and it doesn’t require a single run to feel “easy”. Flanagan missed the Boston Marathon this year because she was recovering from a fractured back. What Bad Ass Level does require is strength and confidence. Stay at it, and at the end of every crappy, hard run I will try to envision my own personal “F*ck Yeah” moment. That will be my running motivation.
Help A Sister Out
I need encouragement to stick to this. To get past the fear and frustration as quickly as possible. Remind me to just do my best. To listen to my body. Don’t let me bitch and moan too much about what pace I used to run. Oh, and don’t invite me to run with you, either, because I’ll be super embarrassed about my sloth-like performance. Just let me tough out the first few weeks on my own, in my own humiliating and probably super profanity-laced way. With the right encouragement, I know I can shush the voices in my head and pay attention to the friends who believe in me.