Yes finally. After months of nothing much to report, I’m back in the game. Back at it. Back on a schedule.
I am really interested in the topic of personal change and personal development. Some of this relates to training, but much of relates to life in general. I find that, in most cases, any personal change I’ve managed to effect has been slow. Insights come to me after a long time, often while out on a run or when I’m journaling. I often think about change, and want change, long before it happens. I wanted to lose weight for years before I actually managed to do it. I wanted to run for a long time before I went out and took the first step. Self-help books and articles in magazines and newspapers are full of “10 easy steps to a) start exercising b) lose weight c) cut out sugar d) go paleo” – whatever it is that you’re looking to change, but in my case change is often like turning a supertanker around. It happens sloooooowly. Which perversely is not really how I like things in life. I like boom, bang, new! On the plus side, and continuing with the supertanker analogy, I sometimes only realise after a while that change is actually happening – here I am beating myself up for not getting anywhere and actually, I’m nearly halfway through the turn..
All of this is a long-winded and somewhat obtuse way of explaining that while I feel that the past 3 months – August, September and October – have been a bit of washout, training-wise, it was all part of a necessary process – for me – to get me back in it. I needed to have some relief from training, first, some time to recover. Then I needed some time to tend to the rest of my life which I had abandoned a bit in the last hard training weeks. I then went through an annoying phase where I was feeling physically ready to start training but I didn’t know what for, and why, and with whom. I was all over the place – I researched ultraraces all over the world, contacted a few coaches, communicated with a few of you about races you were running. I ran, and I didn’t. I stopped and started. I knew that at some point it would all click into place and dammit, I wanted that to happen and dammit again, I knew it wouldn’t happen until it did. Control freak, me?
Anyway a few weeks ago my wonderful osteopath / super speedy runner / consultant on all things running texted me and suggested I try for London. I was in, it was local, I had unfinished business. And he suggested a goal. I’m kind of dying writing it down which tells you I have not yet committed to it – but here it is. 3:30. I asked him if he thought I could do (can you tell I really like other people’s approval / permission / insights?) and he said “it’s possible. With hard work”. I chewed the idea around for a while. When I started Ironman training in August 2013, I knew full-well that I had no interest in improving on my 3:37 marathon PB. Could I find that interest now? And yes. I can. It interests me because, like the IM goal, it scares me. 8 minute miles for 26.2 miles? It’s going to be tough. I’ve never run that fast before, for that long. I am having a stab at it for London. Have entered the Kent Roadrunner marathon in June to have another go, if London fails me. It’s scary putting it out there. But it’s fun pushing myself.
So yes, I’m back at it and back on a schedule. So far, I have yet to execute a flawless week of training. I keep missing a workout. I got flu. I got busy. I got tired. But I know my direction is changing and I’m beginning to set my sights on April of 2015. On working hard in the next few months. On having a better time than I did in London 2013 – the race I wanted to finish as soon as the gun went off. On once again, abandoning my self-doubts in favour of believing in a goal.
All of this works. Trust me, it does. It doesn’t “work” in the sense that I know I will get to 3:30. I believe I can get to 3:30, but I know I may not. But the act of belief, and the temporary suspension of self-doubt, is where you set yourself up for change to happen. Something will happen in the course of this training cycle and in the London marathon. By the end of this training cycle I will not be who I am today. I will have learned something about myself and my body and my mind. That’s why I keep doing this. Because training my body to do something it has never done before , in whatever imperfect way, always drags my mind and soul along. If life is a journey, I don’t want to be stuck at a station. So move along, because I’m on my way, once again.