Momentum: Not Easy to Develop, and Even Harder to Maintain
Once I got back to my room in the Boardwalk Villas, I rested through the afternoon, all night long, and in to the next day. Monday afternoon, I flew home. I’m lucky that I heal quickly – there was no noticeable limp as I waddled down the jetway and into the plane destined for JFK airport in New York City. I wore a dark blue long sleeve shirt that stated “I DID IT! 26.2” and alongside it “2012 Walt Disney World Marathon”, with Mickey in a running suit emblazed on the front, and a map of the course in bright colors on the back. As I entered the plane, a flight attendant asked me “did you run the marathon yesterday?” My response: “nope – I grabbed the shirt right off of some schmuck during a TSA strip search”. Definitely a sign of things to come. The flight was a two hour and thirty minute stress test. One down….eleven more marathons to go. I kept thinking about that as my slightly deranged cab driver pulled off a fantastic impersonation of Cale Yarborough as we weaved through traffic from JFK to Manhattan. An extremely fun weekend….was over. Now – the work really begins.
And I don’t like hard work.
So I did what I do best: I procrastinated.
I allowed myself three days to heal, making myself a silent promise to get back on the bridal path and begin the development of momentum to improve my time during my next race, the 26.2 With Donna: The National Breast Cancer Marathon in Jacksonville Beach, Florida on Sunday, February 12th. Well….I broke my silent promise when Thursday morning arrived and with it, some REALLY cold temperatures. Way too cold to run at 5am, right? So I brushed off my planned tempo run and caught another 30 minutes of sleep. Besides….there’s always Friday.
Friday morning came and went – and not a mile was logged. 5 days. No miles logged, no focus, and what’s worse – no inner fire to get things going. NOT GOOD.
That Saturday I finally braved the 28 degree morning and got myself going. Slowly. I had no goal in my head, and that was a HUGE mistake. I logged two loops around Central Park, but I lacked focus and purpose. My performance was sad evidence of this fact. I actually walked home from the park disappointed, when usually these types of runs fire me up for the remainder of the weekend. That first week after the WDW Marathon was filled with bad juju.
The following two weeks were just as unfocused and disappointing from a training standpoint. Sure I can make excuses: long commutes for work, travel for work, soreness from the marathon, cold temperatures…blah blah blah. A marathoner needs to be better than the excuses he/she can come up with. And I haven’t been.
So here I am: it’s 7am on a chilly Friday morning. Leg number two of my 12-legged marathon monster is about a week away. I know I’ll finish (simply because I’m stubborn – not because I’m physically primed for this one) – I just hope I perform a bit better at the end of the day. The focus seemed to be coming back during this morning’s speed work. Why? Because I developed a specific plan for this morning’s run in my head, and then I executed it. Not well, mind you – but I got it done.
It was during my slow walk home from the park this morning when I realized what was going on (and if you’ve read my prior entries on this blog going back a bit, you’ll catch the reference pretty quick): The Tool was back. I thought I beat him up pretty badly. I thought I had gotten rid of the little imp once and for all last November. I was wrong. I forgot that The Tool never goes away – the athlete only ignores his whinings while training and competing, or locks him away in some dark room with no satellite TV, doomed to watch re-runs of The Lawrence Welk Show until the athlete decides to hang up his/her Reeboks and calls it a competitive career. It’s when the athlete drops his/her guard and loses focus on the goals ahead that the door is trust open, and The Tool marches on through, ready to spill the venom of laziness into our ears. I dropped my guard. The Tool marched right on in, perched himself on my shoulder, and had been whispering his distracting messages in my ear for weeks. Damn. I should have caught this sooner.
Now that I realize that this tiny imp has reappeared to make my life more difficult, the battle has been joined once more. And this one will go on all……year…..long.
Tomorrow is Saturday, and that is usually my long run day. I’m planning to log two loops of Central Park, which should put my mileage at around 13-14 by the time I’m finished. One of the weapons I’m planning to use to battle The Tool from today forward is this blog. By posting my training goals, it will help me not to lose focus, and it will assist me with staying on track so that I improve throughout the year.