They should do a study on how motivated a person has to be to actually move their body into what is technically known as “running.” They could do it by a point system maybe. Call ‘0’ when you are completely asleep and ‘100’ when you are an Olympian distance runner who is competing in the Olympics in 3 months. What would be the lowest number a person would need to get out the door and actually commence running? Whatever that bare minimum number is, that is the number on which I operate – ALWAYS.
I hit a new low yesterday in that I was standing with my run group, seconds away from starting our run, and I was seriously considering jumping back in my car and heading home. All those old adages of the biggest victories being just getting out the door, or just getting on your gear, or blah blah blah… that’s a bunch of bs because apparently I can be across town, in full gear, sunblocked, standing with my run group and STILL not experience a “victory” because none of that means that I will actually begin running here in 30 seconds. I was in such a zone with my negative thoughts that one of the guys in my group had to sort of snap his fingers in my face and tell me “Come on. You can do it. It’s just 40 minutes. We go out 40 minutes and we come back. Simple as that.” And, bless him, that was just the annoying push I needed to start my run. And what I will say is that once I start, it kind of feels like the point of no return. I did my 20 minutes out and 20 minutes back and it was ok.
Course I come home and blab all night long to the spouse about how I haven’t missed any of my training runs yet and how proud of myself I am. I didn’t hide the fact that I kept thinking about quitting for the 2 hours pre-run. But I was definitely more vocal about the “good job me!” and “do you see how kick ass I am?” and all of that. Besides, I don’t think my spouse believes me when I say that I locked myself in the bathroom for 10 minutes with my run clothes and just stared at them, willing myself to put them on and go running. My spouse thinks I’m “exaggerating.” Nope. It was 10 full minutes and I know that because I know what time I have to be out the door in order to meet the run club. And yesterday I was 10 minutes late.
I just don’t understand why it’s so hard for me. My race buddy has an 8 miler on the books, she does it. She has an 18 miler on the books, she does it. I never ever hear about any struggles with getting out there. If it’s in the books, then that is all it takes for her to lace up and crank out those runs (at 7 min mile paces natch). But my entire drive to my run I spent attempting to bribe myself. If you do this run, you can go to Five Guys and eat everything you want! If you do this run, you can go to the movies and order a giant popcorn and eat the whole thing! If you go on this run, you can buy that run tank you saw that says “It’s fine to not feel like running, just so long as you do.”
But none of that moved me. And, in retrospect, I think the only thing that got me to do it (outside of my run club) was that I made a personal commitment to do ALL of the training runs in the marathon plan, not just 2 out of 4 of the weekly runs like I usually do with half marathon training. Full marathons deserve respect for the massive undertaking that they are. And it’s like my high school cross country coach used to say – do NOT take shortcuts around the turns because you will pay for all those cheats come competition. To this day I never cut the cones or round off the corners. I go full around.
I guess I just have to accept that I’m not a highly motivated runner. I’m someone with an internal struggle going on constantly. But at the end of each week, I have 4 checks on my calendar. And on race day at the Marine Corps Marathon, I’m going to be SO DAMN PROUD of myself for conquering my mind.