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training, bears, and rain. oh my!

Monday, July 29, 2013

One surprising thing I learned after my first marathon is that it's not the 26.2 miles that are the most significant. It's the xx.x training miles that make the experience so intense. Because of that, I was equally excited and nervous to start the whole process again.

Unfortunately, the process wasn't going so well. I felt like I had lost my running mojo. Nothing majorly wrong. Things just didn't feel right.

Then we left for vacation with my whole family. I envisioned a week of amazing running. The first morning my sister and I got up early and headed out on a dirt road. About 100 meters from our door we saw a big pile of poop. Steaming bear poop. Ummmmm, should we turn around? It is obviously close by. Naw, we're fine. Black bears are much more scared of us than we are of them. It'll hear us and stay away from the road. We ran on a bit and then...
yep. You guessed it. We saw the bear. It was in the woods, but very close to the road and it was HUGE. As we backed away, I looked around for a cub. We walked backwards for a ways and then high tailed it back to the cabin.

And there went all the early morning running plans. The next day we loosely planned a long run. DH and I had 9 and my sister had 10. We would run to the state park and the rest of teh family would drive and meet us there. My SIL who had been there before was at a yoga class so we didn't get real clear directions before heading out. You can see where this story is going too.

Let's just say that we ran on a very hot day on a very long, straight paved road. No shade, not much to look at, no cell service. I was not happy. I had to run a bit in front of them just because I needed to be alone. I am not fun to be with when I'm having a hard run.

We saw a hand painted sign: State Park 2 miles. 30 minutes later we still weren't there. And then when we got there were forks in the road and who knew where we were supposed to meet them?! A few more miles of zig zagging, searching parking lots for familiar minivans, and many swear words later, one of the vans found us. I guess we ran 11 ish miles that day.

It was not the running vacation of my dreams, but I did swim. And swim and swim and swim. We were on the South Shore of Lake Superior. I am used to the North Shore where it's not warm enough to swim. This felt like and looked like the ocean. It was gorgeous. I swam so much that I ended up in Urgent Care with swimmer's ear when we got home. Don't only 7 year olds get that?? I had to stay out of the pool for a week.

Back to running. We're home. My in-laws are in town and will babysit the kids. We have 14 miles on the plan. I'm excited. I need a good run and we're going to new trails. This is gonna be awesome. Well... we drop off the kids. And the rain starts to pick up. We're standing under an awning debating the sanity of heading out on a run in a downpour. DH says, "When else will we have time to get a long run in this week?" And with that we were off. And it was actually fun.

The trail was super cool. And once you're wet, the rain doesn't bother you anymore. The river was on our left and huge rocks/cliffs were on our right. There were even a few little waterfalls thanks to the pouring rain. We were the only people on the trail. It was peaceful and fun.

We ran up this road to make the turn around. Then headed back to the trail.

And then the rain stopped. You'd think that would be a good thing. But when the sun comes out, so does the mugginess and the bugs and my crabby attitude. Everything fell apart. My socks and shoes were soaked. While it was raining, I didn't notice. Now with every step I could feel the blisters forming. And we didn't make it 14 miles. Only had time for 13 thanks to my walking breaks.

This all took a mental toll on me. I started to doubt my ability to run a marathon. And I know that's crazy because I have already done it. But the mental challenges of running can be tougher than the physical ones.

All week I was nervous for my long run. Dreading it actually. Made pretty elaborate plans with family and friends because I knew I needed support. And for whatever reason, I woke up yesterday and decided that it was going to be a good run.

And it was. DH ran 10 alone. I got the kids up and had them in the jogger with "breakfast to go" and we ran 5 all together. Then I did a 6 mile loop alone. Back to my house to meet my SIL and we ran another 5 mile loop together. I can't believe how quickly it went by. And how good I felt the whole time. For 16 miles!

Oh boy did I need that. I can run a marathon. I will shut out the doubting thoughts. Training makes me stronger.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wow, I think all runners can relate to this... bad run, nasty weather, negative attitudes.
    I'm so glad you got a good run in & found your mojo!!

    You go girl!!
    2913 days ago
    It's the bad runs that make the good ones feel so awesome, isn't it? With all the struggles and tough runs and difficulties you've already been through, I'm sure you'll rock that marathon!!
    2913 days ago
    emoticon Almost Fun!! But it's MN in the woods! I've never come across wild animals except the coyotes on my regular trail in Inver Grove - That scared the Bezees out of me!!
    2913 days ago
    Wow! What an adventure! The bear sure sounded scary... and I've been 'lost' many times on a run... and running in the rain can be thrilling! But, sometimes everything is 'perfect' for running & it still is a horrible run. We just have to keep on going!

    I love your attitude & that you are keeping at it. I love the little 'posters' you shared, too.

    emoticon emoticon
    2914 days ago
    Wow, nothing stops you! You have the mental toughness to go along with your physical strength. Very impressive!
    2916 days ago
    This reads like fiction. I was on the edge of my seat wondering, "whats next"? Lake superior IS an ocean. I live very very far away from the great lakes. I remember studying them in whatever grade in school but it never really clicking. A few years ago, I flew to Ontario with my oldest, right over Lake superior and was in awe-I definitely described it as an ocean. Then we drove from the east side of Lake Ontario all the way to the west-3 hours...3 hours of highway speed to get to the other side of this "lake". No wonder people call them Great! OK, sorry that I just went off onto my own little memory-haha! What I love about you is that even when running is a struggle, you always pull it off-get the run done. I'm so proud of you:)
    2917 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5893253
    The games our minds can play on us sometimes! I can totally understand how much more difficult the mind barriers are than the physical ones. Isn't it the same for everything? But I'm really glad you managed to overcome all of them and you're back where you should be again: at the point you know what you're capable of and you believe in yourself and your abilities! Way to go!!
    The bear story was really scary! We're taking our bikes with us on our vacation and we're thinking about discovering the trails in the mountains. Did I mention that the mountain is full of bears?
    Thank you for another really inspirational blog! Good luck with the rest of your training! And don't ever doubt yourself again. You're a runner! And I believe in you.
    2917 days ago
    Love..love..LOVE this blog because it reminds me of my training days totally. Wow I really miss running when I read this. You really described so many of the same feelings I've had as well. Thanks for sharing and for inspiring me!
    2917 days ago
    She's up. She's down. She's up! Don't let a bad run steal your thunder. You've totally got this!
    2917 days ago
    This is great motivational stuff! Marathon training is tough and it is hard to go out there and feel spectacular after every long run, glad that your 16M run went well!
    2918 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2415256
    Bad training runs can be a killer on motivation - ugh emoticon I am glad you got a great 16 mile run in to lift your spirits emoticon
    2918 days ago
    Love your blogs! Sorry you had some not so good runs, but happy to hear you ended with a great long one! The tough runs always make the good runs feel even greater. You can most definitely take on another marathon. I have NO doubt you will do awesome!
    2918 days ago
    YES!! I love the rocky moment in the rain! Oh BEARS! emoticon
    2918 days ago
    emoticon for sticking to it even through the bears, rain, and negative self talk. Running is so much more mental then physical. I learn that more and more through training.

    Keep it up girlie... you are doing emoticon !
    2918 days ago
    Bears???!! Holy crap, literally!

    SO TRUE about the mental thing! I'm not sure if I'm more tired from a run or from all the "talking to myself" I've had to do to get through it when I didn't feel like it!

    Excellent blog! I will keep this in mind when I head out to run today.


    2918 days ago
    We definitely all have good runs and bad run. You are an inspiration to me! My first half marathon was tough, I now know just how amazing marathon runners are! Keep up the good work! I'm sure you will do this marathon and conquer it! emoticon emoticon
    2918 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8332469
    GREAT POINT and GREAT BLOG!!! I can totally relate, I moved to a new city, started a new job, started day care for the first time all while I supposed to be training for my first full Chicago! Sadly, I got off track for so long, I decided not to do it! Thank goodness I got my mojo back and running season is coming up in Texas :). I now plan to run LA for my first full!

    Happy Training :)
    2918 days ago
    emoticon m emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2918 days ago
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