There are times where I really struggle with motivation. Yesterday was no exception. I was asleep far longer than I usually sleep for and that set the tone for most of the day. In addition, the mercury was also causing issues as well. The temperature was below 40 degrees for most of the day and that was not doing my motivation any favors either. It does drive me a little crazy though because I really do not mind running when it is cold. When the temperature is about 35°-45°F must be my favorite weather to run in. Perhaps the biggest issue was the fact that my training plan called for 16 miles yesterday and I was not entirely looking forward to it. A combination of temperature, required distance, and a lack of motivation caused me to sit around my house until 2:30 PM before I finally got the motivation to get moving and get outside.
Self-doubt is a real pain to deal with while running and I am no stranger to it. I knew that because I had a long run ahead of me that I should bring some gels. Unfortunately, I did not have any so a trip to the store was in order. I decided instead of driving to the store to get them, that I would run 4 miles to Michael’s Cycles to pick them up. My gel of choice is Hammer Espresso flavored with 50mg of caffeine. Almost every other gel flavor gives me heart burn while running. Especially flavors with cinnamon or a large amount of citric acid. Sports drinks have the same effect, so I need to avoid flavors and brands that have a lot of citric acid. Heartburn and acid reflux while running is one of the worst sensations ever. Sixteen miles takes me about 2 hours so I figured that 3 gels would be sufficient. As I was on my way to Michael’s Cycles, my thoughts started to wander, and I started doubting myself as I often do when I am not feeling 100%. I started thinking about the miles I had ahead of me and how my legs were still sore from the hill workout that I did the day before. My calf muscles started burning at about 3 miles and I was almost certain that I was not going to be able to finish the distance my training plan called for. Additionally, I started thinking about how I was probably never going to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Running a marathon distance at a 7:10 average pace seems like a bridge too far at this point.
I picked up my gels, ate one as I left the shop, and reluctantly continued my run. In hindsight, I probably should have picked a better route. The route that I had planned out took me from the bike shop over to the west side of town. Unfortunately, this route included far more street crossings that I would have liked. There were many places that I had to stop and wait for a walk signal before crossing the street. I am not a fan of running across intersections when I do not have a walk signal. Getting struck by a vehicle is not on my agenda. By the time I arrived at the west side of town, the sun was starting to set, and I still had 6 miles, about 45 minutes to go. At this point, I knew that I was going to be finishing my run in the dark. My procrastination and poor planning have once again caused me to run in the dark without a headlamp.
I passed by Blackhawk Community Credit Union and was informed by their sign that the temperature was 37°F. I usually wear my arm sleeves and tights in this weather. However, I am bald, so my head tends to get a little cold. It is a real struggle to keep my head warm without sweating profusely and I have not yet found a viable solution to this problem. Stocking caps are way to warm and just get soaked with sweat. Depending on the temperature, this can be worse than not wearing anything at all.
By the time I got to Rockport Park, the sun had all but set and I still had about 4 miles to go. Blessing in disguise because my thoughts had shifted from doubting myself and questioning why I do this to myself to how much of an idiot I was for putting myself in this situation in the first place. I had all day to get outside and get my run in, but I decided to wait until the last possible minute.
As I passed by the pool at Rockport Park, I was reminded how much I miss swimming. It would be nice if things could open back up so I could get some laps in. It has been a long time since I was last in a pool.
I do not recommend running the dark without a headlamp or any type of nighttime running gear. There are way too many things that can go wrong. Maybe next time I will not procrastinate to this point, but I am not optimistic.
I have come a long way from when I started running, but it feels like I have so far to go. My half marathon best is not as fast as I would need to run a full marathon and bridging the gap seems like a herculean feat. However, I will persevere, because running makes me realize that my body is capable of far more than my mind thinks that it is. I just need to remind myself that when I am wallowing in my own self doubt.