Often when you tell someone that you’re planning on running more than 13 miles, all at one time and within a few hour timeframe (after they’ve give you the “you’re crazy” look), they’ll say something like, “Wow, I could never do that. I can hardly make it a mile without running out of breath.“ Well, not too long ago, that we me. I had zero endurance and a pathetic amount of strength. But little-by-little, I increased my workouts from hardly being able to WALK a 5K to completing a half-marathon in right about 2 ½ hours.
As I’ve only done two races in my life, I do not pretend to be an expert by any means, but in my time spent as an endurance athlete, there’s one thing that sticks out to me as making the biggest difference in my training: PACING. To me, this applies both to your actual speed and also to your breathing. Once I got that down, I quickly went from only being able to make it .25 of a mile before having to slow down and walk to running 2 miles, and I went from not being able to swim 250 yards continuously to over 1000 yards without stopping.
And all I did was learn to regulate my breathing and find that right rhythm that worked for me. Once I found it, it felt like I could go on forever at that pace. And that’s basically what I did for the Vegas race.
It’s like the old Aesop Fable of the Tortoise and the Hare. Slow and steady wins the race. (And “slow” is a relative term here. By it I mean not going at your top speed for those first few miles, because you’ll never make it the rest of the race. However, I realize that some people’s “slow” is actually pretty darn fast.)
I am not good at pacing myself in my day-to-day life. I want to sprint to the end and leave that tortoise in the dust. And I’m not like the rabbit who just wants to show off… actually, scratch that, I AM like the rabbit and I AM trying to show off. However, it’s not trying to be arrogant, it’s more of showing off for myself and proving that I can do it all, despite the fact that Crohn’s has tried to slow me down and despite the fact that I no longer have a colon. I want to show that it’s not going to hold me back. I think I’ve always felt that way and sort of felt like I was compensating for something.
So once again, I have taken up too much on my plate, and I’m feeling the effects of it. I’m so far behind… in EVERYTHING. I’m not being able to run like I want to; I haven’t raised the money I need to raise; I’m behind on the plans for the Walk that’s just in a couple of weeks. I told myself after last year’s debaucle of trying to train for a half-marathon, raise $3500 and study for and actually do well on my GRE that I would not over-book myself again. Well… here we are!
June 1. That’s the date after which I am going to have to calm down. No more commitments. No more projects. I apologize, but if you have something you need for me to do, I’m going to have to say “no.” At that point, I only have two months left until I start grad school and I have a good bit of brushing up that I need to be doing between now and then. I am going to try to enjoy the summer without worrying about meetings and events and everything else that I have gotten myself caught up in over the past months.
And it’s not that I don’t enjoy what I’m doing. It’s just too much right now. I need to give myself a chance to catch my breath and find my rhythm. Otherwise, I’m never going to finish this race.