This past weekend was a big wake up call for me. Not the kind that makes you want to train until your legs fall off because you realize your goal race is 4 weeks away but the kind that makes you realize that you need to make some changes in your life. Big ones.
For pretty much as long as I can remember I have been somewhat of a perfectionist. I set such high standards for myself in everything I do but when I am failing I completely give up. I see things in a very all or nothing lens.
I missed my Monday morning workout so the whole day is a waste. I might as well eat whatever I want. Monday was useless so the whole week is too now. Might as well skip all of my workouts and eat terribly.
Last week started off with a snow day on Monday. I wasn't able to get my swim in because the pool was closed, which wasn't looking to be too much of an issue. I would just move the swim to Tuesday. But then I found out that the pool was going to be closed over the weekend because of Easter. When would I do Friday's swim? Thursday night when I get home. Turned out there was a swim meet over the weekend forcing the swim team to use a different pool. My now Thursday night swim became a casualty of schedule conflicts. On Wednesday I struggled mentally to get out the door for my track run but finally convinced myself to just get it done. Run 15 minutes to track only to find out there is a lacrosse game meaning no track workout for me.
I struggled mentally all week to not throw in the towel and blow an entire week of training. I turned Wednesday's failed track run into a speedy 6 mile loop full of hills that reminded me why I love running. Instead of bagging my swim on Thursday I swam with the team, making me question why I ever quit in the first place. It wasn't the easiest of weeks but I had made some smart decisions that in the past I probably would not have. I had turned things around and was ready to take on my longest and probably hardest workout of the training cycle.
When I woke up on Friday morning I was not motivated to do this run. I had slept in to catch up on sleep and wasn't liking the idea of most of the day being over by the time I'd be done running. I also had this itch to do that track workout from Wednesday. I debated switching my long run and track run but ultimately decided to do them as planned.
Pretty much from the beginning of the run I just felt bad. The first few miles weren't terrible but as soon as I was supposed to drop the pace I suddenly felt dizzy, tired, empty. I tried and tried but only went slower. Then I had a breakdown. I felt like a failure for not being able to push through and get it done. Truth be told I think I was more mentally tired than physically. I was tired from spending all week having internal arguments with myself. Tired from stressing out about the silliest of things. During Friday's run when things didn't go as planned I couldn't get myself to mentally push through.
On Saturday my boyfriend and I went to a local park to get in some mountain biking and trail running. For the first time in weeks I ran without looking at my watch. I wasn't even going to wear it but only did so I could make sure I didn't run too far. I ran on those trails not caring how fast or slow I was going. I walked when I wanted and just enjoyed being outside.
I love training and in general function better when I am training for something but lately I've been putting too focus on the numbers side of it. I love going to the track and doing challenging workouts and seeing how far I can push myself but I need to balance that with runs where pace doesn't matter. If I run fast, great. If not, I'll enjoy just being out there. My constant need for perfection and control has been haunting me too long.