Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Leadville SR50 Week 9: What Happened to Spring, And My Motivation?

"The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.  Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think, say or do.  It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill.  It will make or break a company... a church... a home.  The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
And so it is with you... we are in charge of our Attitudes” - Charles Swindle

I found this poem/quote in the back of a drawer the other day, something given to me by a coach of mine a very, very long time ago.  I didn't know back then how much it'd mean to me when I revisited it throughout the years later.

Yesterday's temps hit a howling 87 degrees (and I have a killer sunburn on my back to show for it) as I wrapped up my 10th week to the Leadville Silver Rush 50 with a nice little 35 mile jaunt on the bike with Kathleen.  Last week we had snow in the Denver area, today I'm being roasted to dissolution.  Somewhere, Spring got lost on it's way to Colorado and Summer's arrived at maximum speed.  I guess if there's one saving Grace to Spring's absence, my allergies are only at a code level orange instead of the normal red this time of the year.

I also just happened to hit my lowest running mileage during this training cycle, with a somber disposition to follow suit.

I guess it was bound to happen I'd eventually hit a major motivational slump, but I was utterly unprepared when it slammed me last week, and felt like a complete failure every day when I pulled up my killer training plan and couldn't muster up the strength or energy to run.  I logged a whopping 16 miles last week and about 900' vertical.  Go me.

I'm certain my bleak mood of having to lower my runner's flag to half mast was partly due to residual soreness from the 50k the week before (my calves were on fire all week, ouch), but I also think some of my doom was due to a plate that is just not merely full, but more so over-flowing with end-of-the-school-year activities.  When you're a working athlete-mom living the working athlete-mom life, these things happen, I guess.  But ugh, it hit me hard.  I'm sure in 2 weeks I'll be picking my nose out of sheer boredom....but right, I can't see one speck of that plate.

I tried to run last week, I did, but either my screaming calves or Mother Nature told me No.  Mid-week, when I found a window between Ryan's regional track meet events (he ran a new PR 1:56 anchor for the 4x800 :)), I scurried to the foothills to get in at least a few miles of vertical run in.  Got there, and it instantly started thundering.  I don't mind a little mind-cleansing rainy run to sooth the soul, but lightening's a different ballgame; I don't exactly relish the thought of being being burnt to a crisp on the side of a mountain.  I had a little meltdown, screamed to the skies above to just give me a stupid break, and soon landed back at the track meet.... missing Ryan's 2nd event.  I could have gotten on my treadmill later that night, but I didn't.  After the vertical fiasco run, I wanted stillness; I didn't even want a breeze to move my flag.

My attitude started to pick up a tad towards the end of the week when a group of women I work with threw me a 29th 50th birthday party.  I hate being in large groups ("hate" being the emphasis here), especially with a focus on me turning old, but the gesture was touching and I was deeply moved by their kindness.  I don't think I've laughed that much in a really, really long time.  I'm not sure why, but I even did a shot of tequila, and I rarely drink anything other than an occasional beer.  For some reason, I thought it was stupidly funny and doing it made me laugh....there is always a pocket of comfort in discomfort (a large group of people, for example) - I just had to be willing to find it.  My runner's mast was lifted, ever so slightly.

50-year-olds shouldn't be up so late, nor drinking margaritas and a shot of tequila; they may fall asleep on the table 
Saturday, I ended my coaching gig for Girls on the Run with our 5k "run".  The girls had an amazing season and progressed so much over the course of the past 12 weeks, I couldn't help but get choked up on race day, especially since I'm almost certain I will not return next year (I said that last year, too).  I've coached at the same school for the past few years; it's a low-income school where every girl is on a scholarship to participate.  Some of their stories of harrowing survival are heart-wrenching, I can't help but be reminded that, even when I have some pretty horribly down days, I could have it so much worse.  Flag rose again - how could it not!

My two run buddies.  We crossed just at exactly 40 minutes and the girls and I were super proud.  
Sunday marked an all chick's 5k race.  I talked my very dear friend, and old training partner, Tara, into running the race also.  Some long time readers (Maybe all one of you) may remember Tara's blog; she had a baby in the fall, and then fell off the blog planet, but she is a riot and makes me laugh - constantly.  Tara means the world to me and totally gets me and all my baggage; when she told me in the car on the way up there she was moving out of Colorado the weekend after we get back from Boise, I felt heaviness weighing like 5 million bricks in my heart.  I knew this day was coming, still....
Salty with tears and sweat.  I'm going to miss her like Whoooa bad 
The two of us twisted fellow Boise-bound friend, Katie, into running also (but we made her run the 10k, since running is her weakness.  Sort of like I should be on my bike 7 days a week since biking is my weakness.  Whatever, it's not always about me :)) and my Greenland crewing compadre, Julie, showed up as cheerleader.  Everyone needs a cheerleader, especially when my attitude towards running was still bouncing all over the map.  With my bleh disposition towards this race and Tara's horrendous stomachache, Julie got an ear-full of 4-letter words...but, as always, Julie just smiled and loved us anyway.

I'm not sure why I'm listing to the left, but I'm taking Tara with me
I couldn't decide how to really race this nor how much I really wanted it, which is never the best headspace place to be before a race. I decided last minute not to run by the watch and instead, turn it off and go by perceived effort.  But I had 'auto lap' on and the good ole watch beeped at mile 1: 7:04.

Crap.  Too fast?  I didn't really know.  I felt good but I had a sneaking suspicion my zippy pace wasn't going to hold for two more miles.  Right I was.  Mile 2: 7:18, mile 3: 7:40 (after slugging through some almost knee-deep waters where a creek over-flowed on the path, which left me spent and pretty much mentally giving up).  I finished with a fairly decent time, for me: 22:41, and a 5th place finish overall.
I swear, I only counted 3 women ahead of me, so not sure why I'm not 4th overall ...not that I'm being a
big baby about it or anything!
I raced it poorly, evident by my increased pace per mile, but my overall finish time was, I think, the 2nd best 5k time I've had in the past 5 years.  For a 'not a big deal' race, I didn't beat myself up over my lack of ill-paced stupidness, like I did a week ago at the Greenland 50k.  I had fun, I had a good overall finish time, and by the end of the race, I wanted that flag raised to full mast... the race, and time spent with people I care so deeply for during the past week, helped inch it closer.  I'm not really good around people most of the time, so this is pretty big stuff.

I finished the week with the leisurely sun-soaked bike ride with Kathleen, chatting about life's little hiccups, knowing that the things we're both dealing with won't always be as they are.  Suddenly, I looked at her, smiled, and knew I was ready to tackle Leadville again.  If anyone ever needs a lift in life, Kathleen can handle the job well!

My mindset may not be fully intact for the ambitious races I have in the upcoming weeks, but my training rut is officially over, just like Spring.  It's time to pursue my goals with the optimistic abandon of a child.  I feel the flag almost at full mast; I'm going for it.

Leadville, my game's back on - Maaahhhahahahahah!

P.S.  Brendan leaves Saturday (as in THIS Saturday) for 3.5 months with the Blue Knights.  So proud of that kid, he worked so hard for this...but damn, my heart's hurting, despite BK prep crap scattered from one of my house to the other.  He's going to have an incredible summer filled with some amazing experiences.  I hope he embraces the opportunity he's been given and never gets down on those days that are going to be super tough, just as Charles Swindle says (I'm going to copy the poem and put it in his backpack.  I'm sure he'll roll his eyes when he notices, but I know this kid well...and I know he'll cherish my sentiment).  Ah, the parallels between his Blue Knights and my Leadville journey ....


Kate Geisen said...

The bigger question (than the location of your motivation) is what the heck?? Two posts in less than a month?? :)

I hear you on this whole crazy busy life thing. Not as bad here as there, but it's been hard to fit in any kind of week-day training without sacrificing things I SHOULD be doing (which is why my 9 yr old and I were up til 10 two nights in a row finishing the book report that is my job to help him with bc it's not my husband's "thing". Whatever. Doesn't he know DK is coming soon? But enough about me, this comment is about YOU.

I'm sure the little motivational downturn is part survival mechanism with your crazy life and you'll come back ON FIRE. Would it help if I started telling you you can't do Leadville so you can prove me wrong? Bc I don't believe it for a second, but I can tell you that. :)

And that 5k time is particularly awesome when you consider that your training has been so distance focused. Your poorly executed race is better than my falling out of an airplane time!

No spring here either. 40 to 90 overnight. I miss seasonal transitions.

C2Iowa said...

Two in one month?!?! Awesomeness....

That 5k had to have a positive effect mentally. Hey - I wish I could be as strong of a runner as you 29ish year olds; drinking and everything!! I hope that you were using Cabo Wabo - one of the best there is you know.

Well done and I hope that the bear has been thrown from your back.

Gracie said...

Running a good race always lifts that flag!

Robin said...

First off, Happy Birthday! I think the slumps happen to us all and it's important to listen to your body...perhaps not a slump at all but a message. The rest probably did you more good then the training. Congrats to the girls in the program and to you for your slamming 5K race/placement. That's super fast to me. Glad to hear you are back on track for Leadville. All the best to Brendan in his adventure.

Matthew Smith said...

You are an absolute beast! Way to go! I didn't realize I was blog friends with a superstar! Two in one month? You're amazing! Keep up the good work!

HappyTrails said...

Despite life's hiccups, remember it is always good, even if it doesn't feel good or look good at times. The clouds sometimes conspire against us but the sun is always shining brightly behind the gray clouds. Keep your chin up, re-focus, and try to enjoy the ride (run) despite the occasional rocky terrain. You are determined and strong and I know you will perservere!!! :-)

Big Daddy Diesel said...

I cant get over how powerful that beginning quote is, something I really needed to read

Teamarcia said...

Yay for the runner's flag flying high! You keep it there Thelma because you've worked too hard to let it dip now. Fantastic, speedy race! Wow can you bottle some of that and send it over?
May is crazy busy and too many changes. Tara's MOVING???Noooo!

Beth said...

Happy belated birthday, and congrats on the race. I hear you about no spring and May being crazy.

Anonymous said...

Oh girlfriend you make me laugh. For someone who doesn't like to surround herself with people you sure manage it don't you? Races, Girls on the Run, birthday parties - and then all your virtual friends on this blog? I'm not so sure you're right about yourself there.

Love that quotation - am going to print it out as I need reminding - my attitude has not always been great recently. Need to remember that is ONE thing I am in control of.

I am SO much in awe of your training and your achievements - I am FAR behind you but you really are leading hte way. So glad the flag is at full-mast again but honestly - we all have low days and you stuck at it until you turned things around. As always my friend, you inspire.

Kathy said...

Oh my gosh, just LOOK how far you've come over the past year. You are amazing. You're my hero!
Team PB&Jill rules!!!

Irene said...

What a difference a year makes! Girl, you look so happy being back in your element 100%!

Yeah, what happened to Spring? We had temps in the 100s on Monday.

Coy Martinez said...

Reading this was totally like reading about a race report that started out badly but then ended in a PR. We have so much in common, being a mom, trying to be the best athlete we can be and just kinda rolling with the punches. And that quote is awesome. Attitude is the only thing that helps us make the best choices.

bobbi said...

LAUGHING at Kate's "2 post in one month" comment :)

Love that quote. It's something I really really believe in. Most of the time, we choose our happy.

Not even going to talk about your running, because girl, you are a beast. You don't give yourself NEARLY enough credit...

I AM going to tell you how absolutely beautiful you look in your bday party picture photos. Happy happy :)

Terzah said...

I'm with Kate--two posts in a month??? :^)

That's a great 5K time--continually impressed--and you needed it after the week you'd had. I'm glad the mojo is back. And I'm so looking forward to being in your crew!!

ajh said...

First I'm jealous of your bike ride with Kathleen! I'm jealous of your bike ride period! The party sounded oh so nice. So many people wishing you well! Your 5K time is awesome. Are you sure you turned 50? And 5th overall? You totally rock!

Katie @ Will Race for Carbs said...

You were great in the race and I have been meaning to tell you how much I appreciate you convincing me to do the race with you guys. It was just what I needed. And I am counting it as my first aquathalon! Loved seeing you ladies and sorry about my temper tantrum about the winners in my division...looking at pictures turns out they must have been getting the medals for their friends. I did pass them BUT I WAS 5th. Oh well, I will take it considering what I thought I would be. Thanks again for a lovely mother's day run/swim! (Oh and I'm reading blogs, must be the last week of school!!!)

brg said...

proud of you girl. you've come a long way in 1.5 years. looks like the 50s are off to a roaring start!!

Char said...

I thought you were supposed to lose your sped when you were training for ultras. Trust you to be contrary to the rule.

And happy 50th. 1963 was a very good year for special people.

Julie said...

As usual love you sweety! Did you see the pictures I put on FB too? I sent you a text but now that I think of it you didn't reply... :) You did awesome at the 5k!

Jenny said...

You have so much to be proud of this past year!! SO MUCH! :)

Black Knight said...

Your smiles say how beautiful was the party. Happy birthday and.. as you strong my friend.
You are very fast, congrats on the 5 km.

Adrienne said...

And sometimes...all it takes is just a little 3.1 miles to get your mojo back! Love your honest post.

Just remember, even when your motivation goes away, wait around a bit, and it will come right back.

Happy 50th!

Liz said...

Congratulations on your birthday, and on your fabulous 5K time - amazing!
I love the photos from the Girls on the run race. What a rewarding experience that must have been, I'd love to do something like that with kids in the future.

Kandi said...

That's a pretty sweet time for a 5k! Also it's awesome that you still coach girls on the run. My friend's daughter's race is this Sunday but I can't make it this time. I'm sure I'll run other 5k races with her though.
I love that quote. Thanks for sharing.

Mike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike said...

Love that quote. Positive mental attitude is powerful and contagious.

I hear ya on the lightning. Rain is no problem, lightning freaks me out. Congrats to Ryan for the PR!

Looks like a fun birthday party! Nice to have some fun with friends for your 21st, 29th birthday :-)

Coaching kids too? You are one busy woman!

Awesome on the 5th place overall and a speedy race! How old we're the women in front of you? A couple look younger than 29 :-)

Glad you got your Leadville mojo back.

Aimee said...

They say the more you are willing to do with your time. The more you accomplish. The better quality of life. Happy belated birthday and keep up the good work.

Raina said...

I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.- this is the TRUTH.. still learning how to make that 90% be good :)

It is completely understandable that you would need a down week in training. Hope your body is absorbing all the running well. 50k is no joke.

Good call on the lightning. That stuff keeps me indoors as well. Scary stuff!

Yay for your son and the blue knights-It is hard to let go though.

Hugs to you Jill.

On the Right Track said...

first of all...Happy Birthday!! Looked like a real fun, and needed time!!

That quote...couldn't have been read by me at a better time than now! Lots' going on with work (teaching) and my attitude has been, for lack of a better word, piss poor!! Perhaps today will c hange all of that!

Thanks for your kind words Jill! I have been absent for quite awhile, never intending too...but life can get in the way. but you...look how speedy you are!!! those chicks in f ront of you weren't a day over 26 I bet...You rock!

Kiki said...

Jill, If you decide to come up to Leadville and do some training let me know. I would love to meet you and do some running with someone other than my dog:) I'm starting to have a pretty good idea of the lay of the land.

MFT said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Renee said...

You are an inspiration !