This has been an interesting past two weeks: Week Two continued to build on Week One, and Week Three was a bit of a recovery. As far as training has gone, Week Two was actually pretty enjoyable. I was presented with some new challenges with my run, as up to this point my greatest distance had only been six miles. Over the week, I gradually increased the number and time of the intervals I was to run, which finally lead to a long run (for me) of 8 x 10 minute intervals. To challenge myself even more, I couldn't find anyone to run with me (which I always find helps get me through these longer runs), so I decided to make this run a mental motivational tool. Instead of running repetitive loops around my neighborhood, or driving to LSU and running the lakes, I chose to head out to my old Jr. high/high school and break down a few mental walls.
You see, I was a member of the EHS cross-country team for about a month when I was ten. That was about all I could take. I sucked at running from an early age. We would practice by running Woodland Ridge Boulevard, which was a mile down and back after school everyday. I struggled so hard and never made it, except once when it started to rain and I had a burst of adrenaline as the water cooled me off. I'll never forget that day and how good it felt to run and complete something that tormented me on a daily basis. I wasn't able to do it again after that. I quit not long afterwards.
Then there was high school volleyball. I loved playing and was a pretty decent player, considering I was only 5'2. I had the highest vertical jump on our team (although it never did me any good as I was still too short to reach over the net). So I settled for setter and "defensive specialist". I became a pretty good digger and didn't mind the conditioning drills - suicides and other speed work that went along with it. That was until we had to go run a mile on the track in under ten minutes or we'd have to do it again. That memory has stuck with me for a long time. I made it (just barely), sucking wind and hating every step. There was no way I could have done another mile. I hated running. I just didn't like endurance running or anything other than short sprints. Once again, running was my nemesis.
So on Sunday I decided to overcome some mental obstacles from my past. I drove out to the high school and decided to start on the track. I looked around to see how some things had changed, and how some things hadn't. It was still intimidating to me. I ran the first two miles on the track in about ten minutes each, and then worked my way to the boulevard. It wasn't easy as I tried to pace myself for success, and I had moments where I felt like I was 10 again, but I made it down and back. I made it down and back twice. And then I topped it off with some more of that damn track. And I did it. And I smiled. And I remembered the time I ran in the rain and was so proud of myself. And I felt that feeling again. And I told myself I would and could do more. And I will.