Ever have those moments when you have a total flash of clarity? Even when you didn’t even know you needed one? Well, that happened to me in the middle of a five mile run on Monday and it instantly relieved weeks of tension…tension that I didn’t even realize I was carrying. But lets back up a bit….
I have been chasing a BQ for awhile, but I have also been struggling with an extreme lack of confidence and that has bled over into my training. I don’t push myself as hard as needed, if a workout isn’t going well – it gets cut it short, I’ll skip long runs, and I won’t prioritize the training over other aspects in my life. I think part of me believed that I would miraculously run a BQ without all the hard work. Well, I decided a few months ago that this would be my year – I would focus on the training, push myself when I needed to, and actually feel confident when I toed the starting line at the Erie Marathon on September 10th.
About a month ago, I was presented with an almost once in a lifetime opportunity. A June work trip to Norway would coincide with Midnight Sun Marathon in Tromsø. This is a unique race in that marathon occurs right around the summer solstice and start time is 8pm! I’d been trying to run this race for years, but work never really lined up. I signed up for the marathon with every intention of this being a “fun” race. I was going to train enough that I didn’t embarrass myself, but I wasn’t going to have a time goal. It would just be a really cool race experience.
As I started building my training plan, a little whisper started creeping into my brain. “How cool would it be if you qualified for Boston in Norway?” The whisper started growing louder and I found myself checking to see if BAA would accept a result from that marathon (they would). So my low key training plan ballooned into one that had be running 60 and 70 miles a week! My previous weekly high was about 55 during peak training. The realistic part of my brain kept trying to interject with reason “you had a plan…stick to it! You haven’t built up a base to support that mileage! Don’t throw away your shot on a pipe dream” I kept ignoring it.
So I started following the plan and, almost immediately, fell behind. It didn’t help that I had two ten day trips to Norway in a six week period – which meant a ton of treadmill miles. But I kept thinking that I would be able to do it – I just needed to keep pushing. Then I had a week and a half where none of my runs went right – from quads that wouldn’t loosen to being exhausted after long days at work to a fall during a local 5K.
This was the backdrop as I was struggling through that 5 miler on Monday – which was supposed to be an 11 miler. Out of nowhere a clear thought entered my head “Meg – you don’t need to BQ in Norway – just enjoy the race. Erie is the goal.” And I physically felt the tension that I didn’t realize I was carrying loosen. Why that thought made it through and all the previous reasonable ones didn’t, I don’t know. But I really took it to heart and, when I got home, I ripped my training plan off the fridge and threw it away.
I’m still running the Midnight Sun Marathon, but it will be a fun run where I can enjoy running north of the Arctic Circle. And I’m still ready to claim that BQ in September, just not a moment before.
I actually ended up having two epiphanies during that run. But that one is worth a blog post all on its own.