This morning, I stumbled across my script for Fitness Protection's October Video where I introduce the month's workouts to our clients. Here is a clip:
October. What used to be a cruising month, one that sparked excitement with the New York City Marathon right ahead of me, it is now broken in half by fall break. We didn’t have that when I was a kid!
Rather than grumble about my schedule, I focus on the fun. It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown will be on tv, and if my favorite shows fail me I can always turn on Friends’ or Roseanne’s Halloween re-runs. It’s cooler, my runs are getting easier, my friends are tapering and their tantrums are just funny to me, and I can look back over the course of the year at this point and be hella proud at what all I have done, no matter what happens on race day if I choose to race.
October will always be that ‘take stock’ month where I look back with pride before my family shows up for the holidays and I’m so focused on some indefinable point in the future I lose sight of where I am today. Please take a moment to do the same- if you’ve been here for awhile, look at your miles month-by-month for 2019. Compare that to the same month in 2018. Think about how you feel right now, about your running, about your life, about yourself. I sincerely hope you feel stronger and less stressed in general...and totally awestruck that you can feel this way despite doing way, WAY more than you did last year.
This is your coach, telling you to celebrate yourself before you go any further, because you’ve done some crazy awesome shit this year, and I couldn’t be more proud of you.
Your workouts this month are Sweet Eats and Spooky Treats. Sweet Eats is a traditional 5k preparation workout with a twist- we throw in one mile at HM pace. In your training logs take note of this mile- it is my sincere hope it feels easier each week you attempt it. Spooky Treats is a 1x1 that you may have seen before- it’s a favorite of Steph Bruce and the Northern Arizona Elite running group down in Flagstaff. Several of those badasses will be marathoning this month, and the 1x1 is one of their favorite workouts….only they do it for up to 10 out of 17 miles on a long run day...and aim for 3k pace on the ‘hard’ portions. You don’t have to go that hard. #thankgodwerenotelite
My marathon is so close Training Peaks now counts down the days (18) instead of weeks (3). It's usually nerve-wracking and exhilarating. RACEDAYRACEDAYRACEDAY! But this year I'm oddly calm. We tend to conflate calm with confidence- when I'm excited that's usually a sign that I'm confident. Calm is...something different. I don't know quite how to describe it; it's far from resignation. I'm as prepared as I could be considering the year that I've had, especially my abdominal surgery in July.
When I say, "it is what it is", I mean exactly that. These past two years have been humble attempts to take control of things that felt beyond my control, to focus on what I CAN do, remembering what it is that I need to get from my career and from my family and from my running. It's easy to get lost on what I have not done YET but when I take my own advice and look back one year ago, two years ago- I'd have to say the pieces have fallen into place quite nicely.
I will be lucky to break 4:20 eighteen days from now. That's a time many of my clients would kill for, and the only reason I'm throwing it out there is to give perspective on the number as well as my own expectations. It isn't a PR, either lifetime or at this race. That's fine by the way I don't need it to be...but I'm well aware that for some, that number will be a bullshit stick they will want to beat me with. They will be putting me on the wrong end of a greater/less than sign, using toxic logic to say whatever they want to believe about me, about my coaching, about my capabilities, about my potential. The exact sort of toxicity that pervades the running world, the exact thing I want to protect my clients from, the exact reason Fitness Protection exists. It would be amazing to be even a few seconds faster than everyone who has taken a shot at me in any way...but that's not how life works. It's never been how the marathon works. When you have something to prove at the start line, no finish time will ever validate you.
Two years ago, I was on doctor-prescribed bedrest, watching the marathon on tv, with high hopes that next year I would be IN IT.
One year ago, I had to defer my entry due to constant pain and soft joints that made training impossible; I was doing everything right but getting no results.
This year, I'm pain-free, running 50 miles per week in October despite abdominal surgery in July. All laxity is gone. My muscles RESPOND. I have perspective on my past and hope for my future. I'm ready for whatever comes my way because I KNOW the best is yet to come; the finish time at NYC will only confirm that I am Tenacious AF because I have nothing to prove. Maybe THAT is why I'm oddly calm, all the work I've been doing had to do with getting to the start line, it was never about the finish line. The real race begins once NYCM is over, we have WORK to do!
I've done some crazy awesome shit this year, I could NOT be more proud of myself. No finish time will ever tell you anything about the mountain I had to climb to get to the start line.