The waiting game is almost over, and I’m really itching to get back out there in a more structured, every-day-has-its-significance type of way that comes with marathon training. With just one more week, and one more race (Thursday’s all-ladies’ 10k…PS come say hi!!!), until I *officially* start training again for Chicago and NYC, I feel like I’m chompin’ at the bits to see what else is in the tank, what else I can unearth.

If I’m being honest with myself, this “maintenance” plan that I put together was aggressive, but–patting myself on the back here–I’ve backed off from it, and considerably so at times. Erin, in 2007, wouldn’t have done that because she would have thought that training plans were written in blood (or something equally serious and permanent). Fast-forward to present-day Erin, and she knows that we write our training plans with a very easy-to-smudge, lightweight pencil (and she also apparently drops third-person references in her writings).

My very fancy plan. Can you tell I wrote it in a car?
My very fancy plan. Can you tell I wrote it in a car?

Nonetheless, or maybe because of the flexibility that I’ve given myself over the past few weeks, and in the weeks and months post-Eugene, I feel like my confidence levels heading into training for mary #20 and #21 are where they should be. That I’ve been able to race somewhat frequently and perform somewhat well, given my lack of focused training, is like (vegan) icing on the (vegan) cake.

That said, don’t ask me about my CM/NYC goals yet because I really have no idea. Minimally, I’m confident that if I challenge myself, or my body, this time around in ways that I haven’t before, she’ll respond (more third-person references FTW!).

No doubt part of this soliloquy is me cleaning house of all the “head trash” that so easily accumulates when I feel like I’m not good enough, fast enough, strong enough, thin enough, whatever enough.

I hate that it accumulates so easily. Loathe it, really.

Going out on a limb here, but I’d guess that like many other runners, I so easily get caught up in the dirty game of comparison and the hypothetical If I upped my mileage by X%, then I’d be X minutes faster or the recurring If I lost X pounds, I bet I could drop minutes off my PRs, among other sentiments.

I have absolutely no time for that nonsense (ironic only because you’d think as a mostly SAHM, I’d have tons of time on my hands. How far from the truth that is, amigos). Anyway. I absolutely cannot afford to spend offensive amounts of time deliberating the merit of my abilities or how things would be different for me “if only.”

Truth be told, if I really, truly wanted things to be different, nothing is stopping them from being so. Rationally, however, I know I’m in a fine place; it’s just pure emotion that periodically hijacks me.

What would probably behoove me most is to trust myself.

And the process.

God bless the process.

I need to keep re-reading what I wrote just a few paragraphs ago, about how I was still able to race and perform relatively well post-Eugene, in the absence of concerted training and race preparation efforts, to remind myself that I’m not starting anew. What I’m about to embark on is merely a continuation of what I started—and how I very much surprised myself—in the winter and spring. Thursday’s 10k, much as these past few weeks have been, will be like a soft beginning to my fall marathon training. I haven’t figured out a race strategy yet–that’ll come in the next few days and might, unfortunately, be dictated by the weather–but it’ll be a good baseline, if nothing else. Anyway…

Ha! Love it. This makes me sound crazy. :)
Ha! Love it. This makes me sound crazy. 🙂

When I was in the throes of Eugene training, through the Lenten season, I decided to kill the negative self-talk (and the daily weigh-in) because both make me a bit neurotic and because, really, neither one help me realize my overarching goals (in running or in life, really). While it took some time to get used to, especially nixing the self-deprecation, I found it quite liberating once I got away from the habit of constantly thinking that I was undoubtedly not good enough, fast enough, light enough, whatever enough to be able to perform on April 28.

As I transition to hard-and-fast marathon training starting here in a few more days, minimizing the “head trash” is still the one habit that is challenging me. Running is rarely problematic, and the ancillary stuff has become so custom that I often feel like if I fail to do it, I’m letting people down (these people being my imaginary cheerleaders on dailymile, ha). Like any habits, though, I imagine that creating the more-often-than-not positive mental space takes time, and just like the ancillary stuff that’s so important, so, too, is this stuff. And, once it’s habit, it’s habit.

If I want to be at my fastest and fittest ever come October 13 and November 3, I’ve got to clean mental house.

I’ve no room for trash in there; that real estate is far, far too expensive.

I’ll only exude that quiet confidence and beat people whom I shouldn’t be beating come race day not only if I’ve put in the miles and the ancillary stuff but also once I’ve convinced myself that I’m totally, utterly, completely capable.

Props to my girl Loreen on dailymile for this gem!
Props to my girl Loreen on dailymile for this gem!

What say you? Do you ever have to clean ‘mental’ house? How do you keep being your own cheerleader, or maybe more importantly, how do you believe all the positive things you tell yourself?

13 thoughts on “Hijacked

  1. 1) you are totally set up for a powerful training cycle and amazing race performance (x2), and I can’t wait to see it all unfold.
    2) I assure you that the DM cheerleaders are, in fact, very real.
    3) I totally suffer from the “it’s these X lbs that are holding me back…” syndrome. You can now consider me reality-slapped.

    1. Thanks, AB 🙂 we’ll see how things unfold this cycle. I’m beginning to rethink how I want to train for CM/NYC (of course, days before I’m supposed to start)… 🙂

      1. I only build 2 weeks of my training schedule at a time, with some key workouts (like 3 or 4 of them) plugged into certain wweks. I’m happy to workshop your training options with ya 😉

  2. I love the idea of “mental trash.” I think there’s really something to be said for a bit of “spring cleaning” between cycles. I’ve now experienced both coming down from a A-race high and coming up from an A-race low, and I think both are challenging in their own ways. If it makes you feel better, I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to sweat out any remaining mental trash in this week’s heat. :/

    I saw the warning signs for EdS yesterday on my run and thought of you! I’ll for sure try and be out there awkwardly pointing at myself and waving 🙂

    1. haha yay for awkwardly pointing at ourselves and waving! too fun. And I agree… whatever mental trash I had earlier this week is probably along the lakefront trail somewhere (or in the depths of my washing machine). 🙂

  3. I’ve read this like 4 times now, and haven’t gotten a chance to comment yet! When I get head trash, feel negative, like I set the bar too high, or can’t do it. I think, like what Hillary posted about before, why not me? What is holding me back? What motivated me to start, why be a **** now, and get that second wind.

    And I stay positive knowing that people like you also believe in me! Plus, I don’t know what type of race future I plan on having, so I’m treating it like a rare chance, not a bucket list race, but F it, leaving it on the table, go for broke.

    Great post!

  4. You spoke about ‘trusting the process’ and I feel that is the key – especially in Marathon training. IMHO, one thing that could help with cutting down the head-trash is to take it one day at a time. That sounds like such an over-used phrase, and maybe it is, but I feel like us runners are such big picture people. We’ve got goals that are months away – and it’s big stuff like running marathons…and we get so wrapped up in the end goal that we lose sight that a marathon is the reward, not the goal. One thing that has helped me in the past is to focus on each run, making sure to try my best in each individual workout. If it’s an easy day – easy the shit out of it. If it’s a tempo at a certain pace, tempo the shit out of it. That accumulated effort over time, following the plan and doing my best each day, is going to yield the results I am looking for.

    1. Awesome, awesome encouragement, Adam. Really good stuff here. I’m definitely keeping your words in my back pocket for this new training cycle. Thanks, man!

  5. Hi Erin – not sure if you remember me from Boston Bound in 2009 (I just trained – was injured – did not run.) I saw your comments on Annabelle’s post and I noticed that you are an Esprit de She Ambassador (me too!) I am worried about the weather and am lamenting picking 10K over 5K,

    Great post – wanted to echo your sentiment about training. I realized on Saturday that I need to start training for NYC stat. If it helps you to feel more confident, I have not done a marathon since December (was supposed to do NYC and that was Plan B – Dallas.) On the up side, I have done 8 halfs, 3 10 milers and a run up Mt washington among other things! So thanks for the kick in the butt and if you need NYC tips, this will be my 14th at bat since 1996. I have lots of advice for doing well.

    Hope to reconnect with you on Thurs!

    1. Hey, Erica! I’m so glad you reached out. I saw your stuff on AB’s blog as well and knew I knew you somehow but couldn’t place you 🙂 Looking forward to seeing you later tonight (for the 5k, womp womp)… and yes, I’ll definitely take any NYC tips, for sure! 🙂

  6. To me, this is where a coach comes in to play. I know one can write their own training plans, or join sites like RYBQ (not a criticism in any way), but 90% of the value of the coach is in talking through the “mental game” of running, of writing plans that are reasonable from the start and then helping the athlete figure out how to make them even more so as needed. Good luck and looking forward to following your Chicago and NYC training – I’ve never attempted two marathons the same season so interested to see how you structure this.

    1. Thanks, Greg. I haven’t worked with a coach in a long time now (the last time being back in ’07, when I started marathoning with Team in Training… so a group dynamic there anyway, as far as coaching goes). I’ll define some goals for CM/NYC as they approach more, but more than likely, one race will be for “fun” and the other will be the target race. Thanks for commenting; I enjoy seeing your Akron training on DM!

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