Week 2 of TLAM has officially started and I already feel like a failure. I type this post in an un-air conditioned kitchen because one of the units in our house is broken. We probably won’t have a repairman out until Monday. This will mean being hot, not sticking to our healthy meal plan because we can’t turn on the oven and missing work to meet the repairman. Because I’ll have to miss work to meet the repairman at some point this week, I would feel guilty bailing on a work a little early to get in a cross-training swim at the pool before picking my kids up from camp and preschool. I missed yesterday’s training run (which the TLAM plan said was a “do not bail” run) because I discovered the hot house upon arriving home from work yesterday (did I mention the AC in my car is also broken and I am waiting for my husband to install the new compressor sitting in the garage?) with two hot, tired and grouchy children so, instead of running on the treadmill (that side of the house has AC) for the “must do” run, I took the kids to eat at their favorite place (I did choose a healthy salad instead of the feta cheese omelet and home fries I wanted) and then went to Home Depot to buy a room air conditioner so that Mike and I did not end up sleeping in a race car bed with a 3 year old or crammed into a double bed with an 11 year old. We really, really like our grown up space. I also recognize that these are all first world problems. No one is sick. Everyone has a place to live. We have food to eat. No one is actually going to melt, although the children claim they might.
I had intended to run after we got the unit up and running but it had to be installed and that involved a lot of cussing and was not completed until 9:30. So, no run. That means I will have to get the run in on my cross-training day today, which means I should not meet my running group at 6:00 AM tomorrow for 6 miles because, for recovery purposes I should wait but, I’ll probably do it, anyway. See the domino effect? What you can’t see is all the negative self-talk going on in my head.
I am not kind to myself. I am already telling myself that, if I can’t even do one mandatory 4 mile run on Week 2, how do I expect to actually finish this marathon and not make a fool out of myself? Yes, I jumped off the cliff after just a small stumble. Welcome to life inside my head.
I do this in lots of areas – “Look how cute so and so looks in her running clothes. You, self, have no business wearing a shirt made out of spandex”. “So, you finished a half marathon? If only you had not walked through that water station, you could have had a faster time.” “Why are you taking a walk break? Real runners don’t walk.” “Oh, dear god, never let another photographer take another race picture of you ever again”.
Another Mother Runner said in one of their books “never say something to yourself you would not say to one of your running friends.” When my friends finish a race, I say “Wow, great job. That is amazing.” I don’t say “If you had not walked through that water station, you would have finished 10 seconds faster”. When someone shows up in a new running outfit I say “Oh, that is so cute. You look great in that”. I don’t say “You are not a size 2 so you should not leave the house in spandex”. The thing is, I really mean these comments when I say them to my friends. I love my running friends and I am genuinely proud of their accomplishments. I also always think they look really cute in their running clothes!
I graduated from my undergraduate program with honors. I graduated from my first masters program with honors. I graduated from law school cum laude in the top 20 students in my class. I earned a second masters degree from a top ranked executive on-line program at the #2 School of Public Health in the country, while working full time, getting pregnant by surprise, giving birth to a premature baby and raising a daughter with special needs. I don’t say this to brag. I say this to demonstrate to you all that I am not used to failure because I don’t allow myself to fail. I am also an only child (you’re shocked, I am sure) so the hopes and dreams of my parents were on me and only me. They had no Plan B if I ended up living under a bridge! With running, I often fail. Not every run is great. Not every race ends the way I want it to. I am not fast. I am not thin. This is supposed to be fun. However, if I don’t meet some preconceived goal in my head, I feel like I have failed. Then, when running feels great, when I feel free, when I feel like I can fly, I am truly happy and I feel like I was meant to do this.
So, I need to accept that life got in the way this week. It will get in the way again, more than once, before November 23. I need to adjust course and move forward. I also need to be kind to myself. I got that 4 mile run/2 miles at race pace run in today. I will remind myself that, two years ago, I was eating McDonald’s for dinner and sitting on the couch every night. I could not walk a mile in 20 minutes. I have already succeeded in changing my life. Everything else beyond that is just the cherry on top.