Friday, February 28, 2014

A Matter of Perspective

World English Dictionary
perspective  (pəˈspɛktɪv) 
— n
1.a way of regarding situations, facts, etc, and judging their relative importance
2.the proper or accurate point of view or the ability to see it; objectivity: 
try to get some perspective on your troubles

Since yesterday I ran my longest run ever - 12 miles on the treadmill, this is my current perspective:

or a long run....
Our house is a split-level.  Which means there's a half a flight up from the main floor to the bedrooms (and bathroom), a half a flight down to the playroom (and other bathroom), and another half a flight down into the basement where my treadmill and other instruments of torture live.  As we designed and built our house, this was intentional at the time.  I was am still traumatized by when my then-15-month-old daughter fell down the stairs at our old house, hitting her head on the baby gate at the bottom.  It raised the most impressive purple blue bruise you've ever seen on a little bald head, and resulted in 2 visits to the ER and a CT scan.  (She is fine).  So when we moved, it seemed a great idea to have several smaller flights of stairs in our house.  Until I started triathlon training.....

But let me back up a scootch.  I had one more long run on my schedule to complete for my half-marathon training, supposedly on Saturday.  I also have two big cake orders (one for family), swimming class, work, and the knowledge that I usually can't walk or function after long runs due to muscle and stomach pain.   This run was looming large in my mind.  Plus the kids are so sick of winter that the little guy is passing the time by perfecting his "Annoying Little Brother" routine, and the little girl is near constantly crying for my attention and to please get her brother the heck off of her.  Awesome.

Can barely see the end of driveway.
 Then, yesterday around lunchtime I decided I'd fit it in after work.  I was working from home.  The weather report was totally clear (even if the windchill had the temp down into the single digits).  I could suck it up, bundle up, get it done, then collapse afterwards, leaving the rest of the weekend blissfully free for everything else.  Sheriff gave me the go-ahead, saying "do this any day you can make it the main priority".  Silly man.  As if I ever get ONE main priority....

Within minutes of making this plan and having it blessed by coach, husband, and kids (ok not blessed but...), it turned into a white-out outside.  Clear skies and clear roads were gone.  I was furious.  Mother Nature seriously has it in for me.  The feeling is becoming mutual.

 By now the idea of having the blessed run over with was so ingrained in my mind that I decided to not let the elements win.  I would charge up the IPad, load on some Netflix, and hit the treadmill.  Which I did.

I mimicked the race course, doing the first 5 miles at a 2% incline and the rest flat except for the last mile, which went back to a 1% incline.  I took a walk break at miles 4 and 8 to drink and to take in some Pocketfuel.  I watched The Tudors and Breaking Bad.  I watch the kids zoom around the basement and crash their big trucks into one another until I begged my husband to take them back upstairs.  I wanted to quit after mile 7 or so.  But I didn't.

Final time 2:07:55.  And apparently 14 calories.
I now know when my 'mill's automatic shutoff is.

My first reaction after finishing was panic and anger, as my kids both rushed to hug me, taking me out at the knees and causing me nearly fall on them.  Seriously kids, give mom a break.  We need to install an escape route from the pain cave that doesn't immediately pass the playroom.  My second reaction was disappointment at my pace and overall feeling.  Which was exhaustion and pain.  No exhilaration or endorphins here, but lots of relief to have the run done.

Shouldn't I be feeling ready?  Excited?  Energized?  After a good nights sleep, some chats with friends, and careful consideration, I've decided that I need to put this in perspective.  A side effect of hanging out with amazing athletes, both in real life and via social media (which is sadly at least half of my social life), is that you get a skewed perspective on what is "normal".  Most people don't run 10+ miles for fun.  Those that do are often sore afterwards.  A mile at 10:30 pace is the same distance as a mile at 8:30 pace.  It just takes longer.  Duh.

So instead of comparing my current state to say, my coach who has been an IM triathlete for years and just ran a marathon, or my running friends who've been at it for years, let's compare yesterday's run to this chick:

This was me less than a year ago.  Posing at the Mile 3 marker of one of my very first 5ks.  BEFORE the start of the race.  Two hours later I would be quite inebriated watching the St. Patrick's Day parade from a local beer garden, having walked half of the route and gone straight to the pub after.  Actually, it was a really fun race.  But I could only jog a mile, I never had aspirations of going farther, and I'm pretty sure that roll under my race bib is actually my muffin top, not something in a kangaroo pocket.

Fast forward four months to July 2013, when I completed my first sprint triathlon.  The fact that it was over 95 degrees that day is something, but in reality it took me over 32 minutes to cover 2.5 miles at a shuffle so slow I really could have walked.

Fast forward another 3 months.  October.  I'm on crutches.  Couldn't walk for 5 weeks, much less run.

December.  Two months ago.  Just wrapping up the Couch to 5k plan.  I could run, but only for a few minutes at a time, and then only at about 12:00 pace.

Yesterday.  12 miles at 10:40 pace.  In two weeks I will complete my first half-marathon in under 2:30 (barring natural or other disasters).  

Furthermore, I'm very excited to be able to tell you all that my favorite tri-friend Gypsy will be joining me!  She's jumping into the race to keep me company, stay with me, and make sure I finish. Since I did my first triathlon with her, and watching her train for the Boston Half last fall was a major inspiration for me taking on the 13.1 distance, I couldn't be more happy to have her.  I would wax poetic about it longer, but it would just embarrass her.  I can see her shaking her head as I type this.  Still.  Pretty psyched.

Look out New Bedford!!!

How do you keep perspective on your fitness journey?  Tell me how far you've come!


Anonymous said...

The winter has sure put a kink in running plans this year, but I always try and remind myself that I am healthy enough to run and have options like being able to run indoors on a treadmill and for that, I have to be thankful because not everyone is that lucky. It's hard some days to find the positive when things don't go the way we want them to, but I think it makes us stronger people. Keep up the great work and good luck with your half!!

Tara Newman said...

Boom! Nice work Miranda. It's not about anybody else's best but your own. Can't wait to see your race pics.

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