Anxious. Nervous. Excited. Ready.
Two weeks ago I would have never said, "ready." Today, I feel ready. That doesn't mean I continue to question this whole taper thing, because I do, every day. But, I'm too close to marathon Sunday to screw it up now.
The last 8 weeks have been filled with bronchitis, another URI, sprained ankle, IT band and too many races. I was overtrained. This is not atypical behavior from me. I'm a perfectionist and an overachiever. I wasn't going to listen to anyone who told me to alter a plan that I was following, which happened to be a stupid plan.
Then I realized, I was going to run OKC injured or not even get there due to injury if I didn't do something different. I needed help. And damnit, I HATE asking for help. I don't ask for help. I figure it out by myself. Something with my ego that makes me think if I didn't do it by myself, then I really didn't do it. I know, that's stupid.
I have lots of friends at my running club all willing to help me. But none of them can really hold me accountable. I'm also a very good "influencer" (according to some corporate test thingy I took the other day). So you tell me one thing and I'll tell you 20 reasons why you should let me run 20 miles on a sprained ankle. And I'll either convince you or you will get tired of me talking and you say, ok whatever.
After a horrible 18-mile run on a snowy Sunday, I lost it. I wanted to throw it all away. All my hard work, all the training, I was done. There was no fire or sparkle left. I just flat out hurt all over.
I talked to my dear friend Glenn. Told him I didn't want to run OKC. I don't want to be a marathoner. I can't do this. He said marathon training is physically and mentally challenging, but the reward is crossing that finish line. He also convinced me that I don't suck and that it really didn't sound like me to be a "quitter." EEEWWWW. He said the "q" word. Hell no, I'm not a quitter. But I knew I couldn't get through this alone if I wanted to do this right. I can't rely on my friends. Not fair to me, not fair to them.
I reached out to Jeff Kline. Originally, I thought I wanted him to help me with Chicago. No, Coach, I need your help now. First thing he did was yell at me for not following his advice. No excuses, no negotiating. He's holding me accountable and there is no way out of that.
First run I did, I couldn't hit my pace. "Why," he asked. "I'm tired, I guess," I said. That's code for overtrained. And I had to admit it.
For the past two weeks, I've been listening to him. And guess what? It's working. I'm not saying I haven't questioned it and want to do more. But I keep remembering what he told me, that he's going to make my runs more efficient and help me reach my goals. I started doing speed work. I hated speed work before because I didn't know how to do it. Last week, I did my 18-mile run 3:03, a hair over a 10-minute pace. That's good. I like that. I felt great. I felt like I could go on forever. For the first time since January, I feel like I'm doing something right.
Flash forward to today, I feel like a kid again anxiously awaiting Christmas. I've got my advent calendar and I'm opening the little doors until the big day. I honestly can't wait to get out there. Nervous, yes. A quitter, hell no. A little humility, maybe. But that's a good thing.