I feel like I complain a lot. I don't mean to, but when something is bothering me, I want to get it out. When I wanted to start running for real in January, I struggled because of my stupid shin splints. When I felt something "snap" in my calf, I stopped to let it get better. When I started feeling a new pain on my tibialis posterior (read: the inside of your leg, opposite of shin splints), I tried to push through it. I don't want to quit running, because I want to prove I can do it. I want to prove it to you, and I want to prove it to me.
Sometimes it has been hard. Really difficult. I have been able to keep going after all this time because of friends who believe in me, and friends who have done half marathons and full marathons. I have been able to get over my aches and pains because of ART (thank heavens for that) and the belief that icing and stretching and compression socks are going to help me through it.
That's a key word here: believe.
Even a few weeks ago, when I was in that running rut, I shook it off and went out and did 7 miles. It wasn't easy. But it was necessary, and it helped me to see that I will be able to finish that half marathon on Dec. 4. Maybe I didn't always believe it, but there are people that expressed how great it was, and how they couldn't do that, and that made me keep going. I can do it. Right?
On Monday night I needed to go for a run. Monday was a weird day, and after spending the entire weekend in Chicago with some of the greatest friends a person could have (and skipping a scheduled run), I had work to do. Four miles is totally doable. But only one mile in, I knew something wasn't right. My shin splints, which hadn't made an appearance in my life in months, suddenly were back with a vengeance. Crap. Instead of running 4 miles, we ran 1.2. And then I hobbled home. The whole way fighting to understand what could have caused this.
It's maddening to have to stop doing something that you WANT to do because it physically causes pain. I don't understand why, but ever since I started this journey in January, I have hit roadblock after roadblock. And I keep going. I don't want to be a quitter, especially not with my first half in a month and with a goal of doing a marathon still firing away in the back of my mind.
I mentioned to someone that I had gotten a resurgence of shin pain, and that I was going to go back in for ART to see if that would help it. I wasn't looking for sympathy (I'm still not) but her response surprised me. Instead of saying that it was good that I kept trying, essentially the response was that I should just quit running and find another hobby.
I don't want another hobby. I want to run. I want to be someone that can go out and crush a few miles with no problem (at least on most days). I want to do half marathons, and eventually a marathon. I want to be part of a small percentage of the population that actually accomplishes those things. Not a quitter.
It's hard not to have doubts. It's hard not to think of this half marathon in 5 weeks and wonder how on earth I'm going to run 13.1 miles. But... it has to happen. Because I'm not going to give up. And if my legs are feeling okay (and not like bricks), I need to remember that sometimes it's the mental part of training and racing that can make you weak.
I read a post this morning that really resonated with me, because essentially it says who cares where you came from and how you got there, just be proud that you're out there trying and respect where you are today. And it's true. I don't have to be the fastest or the best but I have to do it. Just to prove those doubters wrong and show that I can do something, anything.
I'm not going to always be the best, and sometimes (okay, maybe a lot of times) I'm going to make mistakes. Sometimes I'm not going to be all that motivated, especially not for a 5:30 a.m. swim workout, and sometimes I am going to skip out on most of the miles of a run because it just doesn't feel good.
But at least I'm out there trying. At least I'm out there doing.
Don't drag me down - leave your doubts at the door.