My trainer asked for my advice on what to tell a client of his who is struggling to meet her weekly running mileage. She has a goal of running a half marathon this spring and is slacking on training runs. I immediately told him to ask her what her “why?’ is. And I told him to dig deep! Don’t let her off the hook with an answer like “weight loss” or “it’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” because that is not the real answer. The answer to anyone’s “why” for a big goal runs much deeper.
Your “why” will get you out of bed when it’s dark and cold to go for a run, it will get you on the treadmill when your legs are beat (after say a 25 mile ride) and will move you do one more mile, one more rep or one more minute when all you want is to do is lie down and die. Lately, I’m questioning my why and wondering if it’s good enough.
Week of March 11, 2019
The Duathlon National Championships in Greenville, SC is a mere four weeks away and I’m worried about my run times. Ever since the Las Vegas half marathon back in November my times have been slipping. It’s no mystery as to why. When you spend most weekends snowboarding instead of running and working on speed, guess what happens? The problem is, I would not have changed a thing.
Of course I want to do the best I can at Du Nats but my “why” was just not strong enough to get me off the mountain most weeks. It still isn’t. I will go to Greenville and compete as hard as I possibly can but I also have to be realistic about my time goals.
Monday – 4-6 miles mostly easy to prep for track workout, then recovery swim | 5.79 miles |8:36 average pace
Tuesday – 10 x 200m sets | 40 seconds each | 5.28 miles
Thursday – long run, negative split | 8.13 miles | 8:15 average pace
Saturday + Sunday – snowboarding
Total = 19.2 miles
I’m so close to getting outside I can almost taste it! The end of last week was in the mid-50s but we still had way too much snow and snow melt for me to feel safe out there. And, there was some rain. Maybe this week?
I officially made the decision to ride my road bike (instead of my tri bike) at the national championships so I have her on the trainer now. I haven’t been on this bike in years so it was great to reacquaint myself with my old Amira. Is that weird? #Ialreadyknowitis
The good thing about snowboarding all winter? It’s improved almost every metric in my cycling.
Wednesday – strength training and base build on the bike | 17.5 miles | 1:05:03
Friday – long ride | 2:00:10 | 40.8 miles
Total = 98.3 miles
SWIMMING + STRENGTH
I won’t pretend I’m sad that I only had one recovery swim this week. It was depressing to be back at the Y pool after Florida. My strength session, on the other hand, was grueling but fantastic. My strength coach can now see my weekly workouts though TrainingPeaks which has been super helpful. If anyone local is looking for an amazing trainer Antwan at Star Hill Fitness is your man!
Monday – 30 min swim recovery | 1,200 yards
Wednesday – 1 hour strength session
THINGS I LOVE
It’s my birthday week! I celebrate birthdays in a huge way because getting older is a privilege, one my mom didn’t have, and so I honor her short life by trying to live the longest one possible.
My “why” has always been intertwined with my mom’s early death. I was only 17 when she died of ovarian cancer and I thought that if I was the epitome of health, I could never get sick and could distance myself from what happened to her. Of course, getting to that realization took a lot of alcohol, drugs, bad relationships and therapy but, here I am.
If you’ve been reading for any length of time then you know I had a big birthday celebration two years ago because turning 42 was the last year of my mom’s life and I wanted to live mine as if I was dying, and encouraged my friends and family to do the same. I will be writing more about this past year and what it means to me to officially be outliving my mom.
It’s scary as fuck.
THINGS I DON’T LOVE AS MUCH
Questioning my why and the significance of racing in my life right now.
I’ve never questioned training and racing as much as I have been the past few months, and it’s not just because of the dip in my running pace.
I know Duathlon Nationals will be fun and my entire family will be there with me. I’m thinking more of the half ironman I have planned in June. I’m just not sure it’s what I really want right now.
I wouldn’t mind just sitting on the couch and watching The Notebook.
I have to apologize to Jodi Picoult. I dismissed her books as trite and for the masses for years and I have now read three of them (Small Great Things, Leaving Time and The Storyteller) and they have all been absolutely fantastic.
I’m currently reading The Storyteller and I’m in awe. I don’t think I could ever write something so intricately woven, so heartbreaking and so unique. The topic – the holocaust – is certainly not unique and, not one of my favorite things to read about, but the way Picoult tells a story inside a story inside a work of fiction that one of the characters writes (confused?) it’s nothing short of genius.
I randomly picked it up (yes, a real book) when we took the kids to Barnes and Noble right before my trip to Florida. I needed a book because the one we’re reading for book club (How To Walk Away) starts with a plane crash, so I had to abruptly stop listening to it. I seriously cannot make this shit up. #trigger
RANDOM EXCHANGE OF THE WEEK
After spending the day with a friend, Miles bursts into the house and says to me: “What’s wrong with you?”
Me: um, is this a loaded question? “SO many things! What’s the matter?”
Miles: “Why have you never taken us to Friendly’s? That place is AMAZING! I mean really mom, what is the matter with you?”
He was genuinely pissed off. He reacted the very same way about sugary cereal (which they now both eat all the time), Oreos and orange soda. Clearly I have failed as a parent and need to rethink all my “why’s!”
Here’s hoping your “why” is good enough, at least to get you through another week!
How was your week?
Do you have a why? What to share?
Do you like Jodi Picoult books?
Snowboarding all winter will help you for sure. Me? Not so much. Apparently it was my first time yesterday. Ugh! I fell so many times. WTH?! The end of the season is here! My why always falls back on I like the way it makes me feel. Mostly, good. Lol!
Was it icy because it was an ice rink at Okemo last weekend and I fell too!…and I have a nice bruise on my ass to prove it 🙂
And yes, the why should be about feeling good. Love that.
I can relate to this a lot. I started questioning my why of racing in January and February. I tooled around but didn’t want to race. So I didn’t and I think it kept me happier in the sport. Now I’m slowly wanting to race again.
I think most runners who have been doing it as long as we have question it from time to time. In fact, I’m pretty sure changing my why was how I found triathlon so, it’s usually a good thing.
So glad to see you back out there killing it in races!!
I have been there too!! Sometimes we just need a break- either mentally or physically. For me, it was flirting with over training… and cutting back for a few weeks paid off. Maybe the snow boarding is wearing your body out more on top of all your training? Often, when my run times are slipping it’s just because I’m doing too much and not getting enough recovery. I bet you still have the same running fitness in there. But yes, you have to do what makes you happy- you have nothing to prove to anyone else!
You make SO many good points – thank you Laura! It’s definitely a combo of those things and I have not had sufficient recovery all winter. I’m looking forward to dialing that in after nationals. And I will absolutely focus on the “happy” factor!
I can imagine how scary outliving your mom is. But you’re doing it! I feel the same way about my aunts on my dad’s side. All 4 of them (and their mom) died from heart disease somewhere between 40 and 58. It really gives you pause. Hooray for snowboarding! It sounds fabulous!
There really is so much to be said about “doing it” so thank you for that because you are right on! And how scary about your aunts – wow! Definitely gives you pause but if you use it for good, it can change your life.
I’m with Miles. Seriously. We don’t have friendlys close to us but when I go I LOVE IT. GIVE THE BOY MORE FRIENDLY’S!!! Lol. I’m having trouble with my why. I want to complete all the things but my body is still recovering from surgery and I can’t get the two to align. One day.
LOL you are so awesome!! And please let your body heal. You have SO much time to get back to running and racing. It all goes by so quickly (as you know from your sons) so try to embrace it. Your daughter is beyond beautiful and, before you know it, she will be on the sidelines cheering you – or, better yet, running right next to you!…and then you can celebrate afterward at Freindly’s – LOL!!
I think that finding my “why” definitely changes from year to year. I guess overall my why is to try to stay as healthy as possible due to some illnesses that run in my family.
YES! I can obviously relate to that. Health is everything.
Happy early birthday my friend. I love so much that you’ve written and can’t possibly acknowledge it adequately with this comment. So know I am thinking about you (and your mom). Also know I understand a waning why. For me, my why has changed, which means my goals and focus on training have changed because I want something a little different. It can be hard to accept that sometimes, but when we can lean in to what we really want rather than what we think we should want, there’s some freedom in that. Missing you and wish I could give you a hug and high five. xo
You are so awesome and I accept your virtual hug and high five with open arms!! I know you struggled a bit (are still?) with your relationship with running after your daughter was born. Those damn kids change perspective!! It’s usually a good thing to keep questioning it but it’s so hard because it’s something we have loved for so long. Thanks for “getting it” and letting me know. MUAH!!!
Finding my why changes often and it never hurts to sit down and rethink it. Realizing that your goals or wants have changed is ok and I think we need to give ourselves permission for that. Happy Birthday 🙂 thanks for linking up
Yes – permission is a great word and I love the idea of just sitting down and thinking about my “why,” so thank you for that!…and thanks for the birthday wishes 🙂
Happy early birthday! Maybe my why is off galavanting with your why? Because seriously, mine has run off somewhere which makes it super hard to motivate myself to do anything. I think it’s largely this particular season of my life and trying to be OK with that.
Thank you Christine! And I love the idea of our “whys” galavanting together – LOL!! And don’t even get me started on this “season” of life. We’ll talk…:-)
Funny you should ask…I’m questioning my why about running any more. Something is happening and it’s just feeling way harder than it should. I’m finding joy in other activities but saying goodbye to running is not something I’m ready to do. I feel it coming though…
Deep thoughts here at the beach…happy birthday!
Love the beach deep thoughts and thanks for the birthday wishes! It’s so hard thinking about giving up running or at least not racing or going fast…I don’t know, the struggle is real but we don’t have to figure it all out today. Hope you immensely enjoyed the beach. Looking forward to reading all about it.
Ahh… so much I could say here, but before I forget, happy birthday week!!! The whole why thing is huge and I have found myself asking it so many times in the last couple months- like why continue to train for LA marathon(which is sunday btw), when I only signed up to accompany Babak on his first marathon and now he can’t do it because of injury anyway… so why didn’t I stop training… why, oh, why… sort of wish I had and now I’m too far into it… sigh… I’m glad that you did all the snowboarding and all the things your heart wanted to do over running. I have never read a Jodi book, but I’ll put it on my list. Reading Educated now and loving it…
OMG it’s Sunday? GOOD LUCK! And I know you probably have so much to say. I wish we could have 7 bottles of wine and properly discuss it. Until then, just thank you for being you and saying what you did. xo
…and Educated is waiting for me in my library!
Thank you for this! I have slipped in my training the last few weeks and hit a melt down point. I think balancing training and family is like walking on a tight rope. When one is too demanding the other has to give a little. My kids are a big part of my why.
It’s brutal! I know exactly how you feel so hang in there and just know that balancing act is going to be tough. It will make the great training days that much greater! And yes – the kids are always part of the “why” which could go either way for me right now…
Thanks for your comment!
Happy early birthday! There’s plenty of times for more runs, but snowboarding season only lasts so long. My why is because my personality will always thrive on constantly pushing my limits and seeing just what I can achieve. Plus, I feel good, I’m nicer, and I’m more productive when I run!
Exactly!! I seriously think I’m going to be super depressed when I have my last day on the mountain. I have had such an amazing season so it will be tough to not have it for months.
And I totally get the pushing limits why!…also, it will be super interesting to see how this changes for you when your little one arrives.
It can bee hard to stay focused on your training when other things pull you away. I am sure your training won’t let you down though. I am excited to see how it goes for you at the duathlon. Happy birthday week to you and I am really looking forward to seeing you soon!
Thank you so much Sandra! Can’t wait to see you 🙂
Wow, lots to think about with this post 😉 I believe we all have a why (some of us probably have several), and I agree that we have to dig deep to really figure it out. Sorry to hear about your mother’s passing when you were so young…it would be freaky to arrive at that very age when when she lost her battle. It’s always nice to hear about people,like YOU, who embrace each birthday. It really is a time for reflection but also of gratitude…as you said, not everyone’s so fortunate. Happy Birthday!!
Yeah, sorry, this one went a little deep. Thank you for your words about my mom and it’s so freaky to be this age now but I will always celebrate getting older and view it as a privilege! Thank you!!
My mom was 47 when my dad died (I was 18). I am almost that age and cannot imagine what she must have gone through at that age (a widow with 7 kids). I know it is different from your story but many times I reflect on it. Makes me sad because she suffered so much but also know that she is a very strong woman.
I have a couple of “whys”. 🙂
Thank you for this post. Loved it!
I’m so sorry to hear that and, it’s really not that different since you and I were the same age when we lost a parent. I cannot fathom how hard that must have been for you, your siblings AND you mom. She would have to be a strong woman and, I’m guessing you are too.
Thanks for the birthday wishes and I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!
wow, this is kind of a deep post. And I didn’t know your mom died when she was 42, but my husband’s dad died when he was 42 (and Ron was 12) and so I know this thing you are talking about. 42 was huge turning point for him and every year he says he wonders what his dad would have been like at “this age”. Last year was particularly hard since he lost his mom – now officially in eyes an orphan. It’s tough and it only brings questions to the mind.
I sometimes question why I do things and often I don’t have any other answer than to prove to myself that I can do things. You and I are different types of athletes but that’s not to say that you wouldn’t understand my why. You probably would 🙂 But it IS important to stay in check with yourself on what your why is. Because yeah, if you don’t know, or you are doing it for the “wrong” reasons then it could likely result in a not-so-satisfying way.
I have seen Jodi Picoult books, that’s about it. I’m a terrible reader! I mean I love to read but I rarely finish a book these days.
Yep, I went deep. I tend to do that around my birthday, for obvious reasons. I can’t believe that about your husband but you both know how I feel. It’s a huge turning point – as you pointed out. And I dread losing my dad. I can’t even think about it for too long so my heart goes out to your husband, now having lost both parents.
And, it doesn’t matter what sport, I think “athletes” in general can relate to having a strong why and I think I definitely would understand yours 🙂
That is funny about not being able to finish a book. My husband is the same way!
Thanks so much for your comments. I really appreciate it.
Your “why” is very powerful. I can certainly understand that your 42nd year was one filled with emotions and what ifs, and every year after that would seem like a milestone of sorts. Sending hugs!
It definitely keeps me going and, sometimes keeps me grounded because I try to stay focused on being healthy and not competitive…but it doesn’t always work 🙂 Thank you for the hugs!! I will take them!