Introduction

Hello, thank you for joining me along my journey of becoming a Runner! I've always been an active guy, played sports in high school and continued into adult recreation sports after high school. As I started my family and found a career, the activity level slowly decreased. Well my Fiance had enough of our lazy ways and started on the Weight Watchers program and completely overhauled our daily meals. Step 2 was getting more active, so we decided to JOG our annual Juvenile Diabetes charity walk and actually enjoyed the activity. The month following the charity walk, we signed up for our first official 5K and had an absolute blast. From that point forward I have officially been BIT by the running bug and this is my journey to becoming a RUNNER!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Lessons Learned Part 2

Happy Tuesday Everyone!!


I’m still going strong, I’ve remembered how this whole blogging thing works, aren’t you excited?? LOL

This is the second post in a series dedicated to those areas in my training that I’ve had to work through some trial and error to find out what works best for me

Today’s Topic – Embracing the Suck!!

I’m going to start by addressing the elephant in the room.  Running just flat out sucks sometimes

I feel I’m still fairly new to this whole running community, but in the short time that I’ve been running I’ve made one huge observation about a lot of runners.  Just to be clear, “a lot” of runners does not mean ALL runners.  My observation has been, most of us come to running for some need in life.  Need to lose weight, need to relieve stress, etc.  Because of this need, there are overwhelming highs and accomplishments that we’ve experienced from this sport. 

I wanted to talk through the other side of the spectrum.  The dark side that occasionally engulfs us and really tests the person that we are.  I’m not talking about the 5 mile run that isn’t going so well and we decide to head home early.  I’m talking about that dark place that consumes you and has you asking yourself “why am I doing this to myself?!?!”. 

For me this dark place consumes me on extremely long runs when both my physical and mental toughness are being put to the test.  At my first marathon attempt, we were at the Rock N Roll Marathon in Vegas.  For roughly 15 miles I was on cloud nine with everything clicking better than I ever expected.  Then it all went downhill really quick.  Lack of training and lack of fueling had me cramping and things got real ugly.

“H$#% with this, I’m done!”

“Why the h$#% is my body failing me like this”

“This whole thing was a waste of d@#$ time”

I spent roughly 10 miles over a 3 hour span walking to the finish line.  I got lucky in Vegas, I ran into another guy who was cramping and we walked a lot of those miles together which pulled me out of that really dark place I was going through.

Fast forward 4 months and I was going after the marathon again.  The self proclaimed “Redemption Run”.  I came into the half marathon mark in a great time and I really thought I was being conservative and I could coast through the rest of the run.  Once again, around mile 15 things went downhill.  My left ITB stopped me in my tracks. 

“Why the h@#$ did I have to stop, I would have been fine if I kept running”

“Maybe I’m not meant to do this”

“Mrs. Schlub should go get the truck so I can be done with this s@#$”

Once again I spent roughly 10 miles over a 3 hour span walking to the finish line.  Again I got lucky, Mrs. Schlub was biking along the course with me and having her there eventually pulled me through the rest of this run.  I got through those moments.  It was a major hit to the ego but I was able to grind through and eventually get back to enjoying running. 

This past weekend was the first time I can honestly say that I “embraced the suck”.  Saturday and Sunday was brutally hot, my body was hurting, and my mental toughness was fully tested.  This was the first time where I mentally started to understand that I need to dip into that dark place, kick it’s a@#, and come out stronger on the other end.  As I covered in my recap, I just left my coach, got back to the truck to prepare for my final loop.  I could have easily jumped in the truck, enjoyed the nice cool AC, and went on home.  In that moment I made the decision, I’m going back out for that last 5 mile loop.  The difference was knowing that it was going to suck and I just had to grind through it best I could.  The discussion in my head was different this time.  Much different from the two marathon attempts.  I’m not going to say it was positive by any means, but it was accepting the situation for what it was.  Not all these training runs and races are going to be the run of my life.  Some of them are really going to suck.  Those ones that suck are the ones that make those accomplishments SOOOOO much better in the end.

When was the last time you embraced the suck?  What types of conversations do you have with yourself when things are sucking

4 comments:

  1. I know exactly what your Vegas marathon experience was like because my Portland experience was so similar. And like you, I luckily met another runner who was able to pull me out of my funk. It's so nice that in our community you can meet a stranger who understands just what you need to hear -- or to just run/walk in silence with you sharing the suck so it feels a little less sucky.

    During training when things are sucking I just tell myself that getting through it will prepare me to deal with the bad times in a race. It doesn't exactly make it less sucky to think that but at least it keeps me moving forward!

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  2. I've never understood why so many people in the blog/social media world try to act like every single run is sunshine and rainbows. I get that not everyone is comfortable talking about negative stuff, but it doesn't help anything to pretend everything is awesome when it's not. Now a ton of runners have the perception that if they have a bad run or go through a rough patch with motivation, they must not be "dedicated" enough or must be doing something wrong in their training. Honesty is what helps us move forward as a community and relate to each other. There is no shame in having bad runs or talking about them - in fact, it might really help someone who is struggling in the shadows.

    What I tell myself to "embrace the suck" in running is the same as anything else in life: it too will pass. Nothing lasts forever - the good runs don't, and neither do the bad ones. Being in this means you're in all the way - you take the peaks with the valleys. I just remind myself that it can only get better after this, and hopefully the bad runs will help me appreciate the good ones more.

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  3. My "sucky" moments usually come at the beginning of a run. "I don't want to do this. I don't want to do this. This is stupid. It's cold/rainy/early, etc. This is stupid..." and so on and so on.

    I can usually out-wait the beginning-of-run-suck by promising myself that it things still suck by the end of the next mile (or x number of minutes - usually 10), then I can call it a day. The middle-to-end-of-long-run-suck I usually think about how amazing I'm going to feel when I'm done and can eat a huge meal and nap on the couch. This is what pulled me through the second half of my first marathon. I kept thinking, "no matter what, I'll be done by noon and it's going to feel amazing."

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  4. My sister and I have had the conversation about the suck-ation of running many-a-times. We run similar paces, but she FLIES during the first half of a marathon and embraces the really bad suck for the final miles, but gets a better time than I, who runs cautiously easy for the first half to avoid the wall as much as possible, because I'm afraid of the crappy feeling and of hating running. The only problem? Guarantee she's going to BQ this marathon next weekend, while I'm not even going to TRY for a BQ this time around.

    Mental strength is hard to come by and it makes us better and stronger runners! I love watching others bomb through the hard parts, it makes me think, "maybe I can do this after all." It's inspiring. Great job on pushing through and I know you'll have a great race, especially with the mental strength you've acquired.

    This is a freaking long comment. Sorry. hahaha

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