Training for an ultra is not easy. As a matter of fact, training for any race that you set a goal for (of any distance, short or long) is not easy. Training requires discipline, resiliency, and mental determination. Training can be extremely rewarding but it can also be exhausting. Runner’s highs are just as common as mornings when you force yourself to stop hitting the snooze button on the alarm. The physical training is just as tedious as the mental training. Doubts, fears, and confidence levels are constantly fluctuating. But if the goal is significant enough to you, you’ll find a way to overcome the obstacles you are bound to face.
This morning, the first of September, with a cool, crisp air that signals fall is coming soon, I was planning on doing hill repeats. I had everything ready to drive over to Delaware and run up and down Rocky Run and Bicycle Trail for 7 miles. But my body had different plans for me last night. I was awake for at least two hours feeling sick to my stomach. *(prepare for unnecessary details)* I threw up twice and just couldn’t seem to settle back in to a slumber. I knew even before the sun started to rise that I wasn’t going to be able to get my workout in. When the alarm went off early this morning, I just stayed in bed. I still had a weird feeling in my stomach. I was tired from being awake at 2 AM. My body was drained of fuel & liquids. Those hills would have to wait for another day.
It would’ve been ideal weather for a morning out on the trails. Disappointment still lingers in my head and mentally I know I need to get out and run those hills. Yet, I’ve learned through the years that listening to my body is imperative. If I were to force myself through the workout, my body would’ve fought back. I would be miserable. I would be weak. I would be hindering my goal rather than facilitating it. So here I sit, writing a “confessional” about a workout I couldn’t do.
Training for October’s 50k has met its fair share of challenges in the last 7-8 weeks. I’ve been overwhelmed with other life stressors – applying to grad school, applying to jobs, helping the family business, working with my clients, the list goes on. I’m not upset that all these things have accumulated over the past few months. Life happens. I constantly preach to my clients and other runners that flexibility is essential when it comes to training. You must be willing to be flexible with the training plan in order to achieve success. Sometimes we cannot control what life throws at us. However, we can control how we react to what life throws at us. I try my best to react by “going with the flow”. Be flexible with yourself. Life is rarely a smooth ride but the destination is always worth a bumpy journey.
I have exactly one month and 8 days until my race. The next month and 8 days will include new beginnings – happy beginnings – , new challenges, and new ambitions. When I wrote up my training plan, I didn’t seem to schedule in life’s non-running plans. Even though the schedule has been and will continue to be altered, the end goal has remained the same. I want to finish this 50k. I want to embrace its challenges and learn from whatever the course throws at me. At the end of the training when I reach that finish line, I want to be a more humbled, grateful, and motivated person. I want to proudly say “I ran my best and I am a better person because of it”.