Getting Out the Door

Have you ever started your training season and had to talk yourself off the ledge into actually starting? Like, a pep talk to get your butt out the door?

Or maybe you started back at school this week and almost had a panic attack about the pending weeks and days and hours ahead of sitting on your butt, freezing in the classroom, knowing only too well that you have a ridiculous amount of work to do OUT of said frozen tundra of a classroom.

…just me?

Break out the winter coats, folks. The A/C is set at 20 below.

Break out the winter coats, folks. The A/C is set at 20 below.

“We are all cowards at the start line.” ~Alberto Salazar

I love this quote because no matter how many start lines I toe, it rings true. I have to talk myself into starting just about every race I do. Usually because I cannot fathom running as far or as fast as I’ve set my goal.

Fear of failure, I guess. But really, it’s finishing in a respectable time and fashion.

I don’t want to crawl across the finish line or puke as I get my medal.

Totally puked after my first marathon. You can see my tummy is full of Gatorade. Thank you, Indian Summer, for the 83 degree November day.

Totally puked after my first marathon. You can see my tummy is full of Gatorade. Thank you, Indian Summer, for the 83 degree November day.

And I don’t want to hate every step I take.

But I will hate some of those miles. And I will hate being in class some of the days. I mean, hours and hours of lecture wears on you no matter how interesting the material. And miles and miles of running can make you crazy no matter how beautiful the day.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Mountains are pretty but HOLY SMOKES was I glad to be done with those runs.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Mountains are pretty but HOLY SMOKES was I glad to be done with those runs.

So, how do I get myself out the door for a long run when I’m panicked about the distance? How do I gear up for (what will sum up to) 5.5 years of post-graduate school in my thirties? (I’M SO OLD!!!!)

Guys, it’s all about your team.

I text, email, tweet, and send smoke signals to any and all my runner friends that I need a running buddy. Even if it’s only for a few of the miles in my monster long runs with someone I’ve never met except online, a buddy gets me out the door and running.

I have to meet them. And I look forward to chatting for as long as they’ll tolerate my company.

Sometimes it's a few dozen friends, sometimes it's just one. I'm not picky.

Sometimes it’s a few dozen friends, sometimes it’s just one. I’m not picky.

If I don’t have anyone to run with, I text Birdie and complain. And then she tells me to go because the sooner I start, the sooner I can finish and eat all the salt.

And if I can’t get a hold of anyone, I trick myself.

“Just go out for 5 and, if you feel good, keep going.”

“Well, you’re at 10. May as well kick a 5K in.”

“15 is only 5 away from 20.”

Seriously, I have this negotiation with myself at the start of almost every long run. It’s normal (I think) to not feel like you want to run 22 miles every Saturday. And it’s normal (dear God, I hope) not to love every single minute of grad school.

Sometimes you fall asleep on your notes. It's normal.

Sometimes you fall asleep on your notes. It’s normal.

It’s not all roses. It’s not all awesome. But if you have a goal, you gotta get through the sucky days, the sucky runs, to reap the benefits of having finished. Of having reached the finish line and having that medal placed around your sweaty neck.

You gotta earn it.

Now go out and run.

Tell me: Have you had a recent crappy/intimidating run that you had to talk yourself into doing? Do you negotiate? Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who bribes herself with food. That’s normal, right?

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13 thoughts on “Getting Out the Door

  1. I hate when people saying “you can’t eat anything you want when you’re training for a marathon” because that just sucks out all of my incentive, like I’m doing it because I enjoy running 17 miles on a weekend? No, I enjoy the post run fries and bagels I binge eat when I get home. (And everyone hates grad school, don’t worry.)

  2. I play the negotiating game with myself all the time – usually with speed work. “Okay, you have a 6 mile tempo? If you run 4 and feel like hell, you can stop.” At 4 miles… “Yeah, this sucks, but you could probably do 1 more…” At 5 miles…”Are you really going to let 1 mile stand in your way of finishing the WHOLE thing?”

    *Happily goes home telling herself ‘I told you so’ and eats all the salt*

  3. Thank you for this blog! I love reading it. As my long runs have gotten longer, it has been harder to get myself psyched for the run! I run the long runs on Sunday AM–at 5:15AM–(I am pregnant and not a fan of heat and that time of the morning is generally cool)
    I always run alone because 1. People think I am crazy running this long a** race to begin with and 2. No one really wants to get up at 4:45am on a Sunday to prepare for a 10+ mile run!
    Being pregnant and training has also slowed down my motivation. A lot. And its hard to get psyched—except for the fact that I DO LOVE EATING MY CARBS LATER!!!
    What a treat!!
    Thank you for this blog–it keeps me motivated to finish my goal

  4. really good and timely stuff here! I often pump myself up before a run by reading an article I’ve bookmarked/got from Hillary about people’s awesome accomplishments, running related or not. I guess I’m a sucker for inspirational stuff. :) and I, too, 110% always break up monster workouts into little bits mentally so they’re easier to stomach… in much the same way as you. Buddy running rules, too.

    thanks for the post; hope your training is going well! welcome back to school! I resume teaching in a week and am still wrapping my head around that! :)

  5. I am the QUEEN of negotiating. Yesterday during my 6 mile run I basically convinced myself that it’s really just 6 mini 1 mile runs, so that ain’t so bad. I often work on the rewards method when it comes to homework and studying- I can eat 1 apple slice when I finish the first page of this essay. After 2 hours of studying it’s pedicure time. Hey whatever gets it done…

  6. I definitely bargain with myself, but it’s a mental bargain; last week it was “only” 10 miles. It was a bad run, so this week is just a 6 mile loop (x2).

    The promise of post-run bloody Marys and bacon help too.

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