We are two weeks away from race day and guess what? I am falling apart.
My track record for the past three years has been to successively shave off 3 mins per race and this year, I wanted to achieve the elusive sub 2 hour time. For those of you who have followed my running journey, last year I did 2hrs 03 mins in Savannah, GA and this year, I had no doubt about what was needed to achieve my goal. Training started back in July and we were slow, but we had taken the last 9 months off so I wasn’t too concerned. As the weeks started to tick on the pains started to kick in. First the knee and the arch, then the calf and the ankle – pretty much my whole right side was screaming at me. So I decided to put some changes in place. I got a personal trainer to help me strengthen my weak areas, added massage therapy and got orthotics from the podiatrist, checked in with my physiotherapist, changed my running shoes and added a speed work day. I felt like I was doing EVERYTHING I possibly could but I wasn’t getting any faster. In fact, I was clocking the slowest times I have ever had since we started doing half marathons. The frustration kicked in…big time!
As the weeks passed, I kept up my dedication. I kept showing up for the training and the long runs but each time, I kept dropping back further and further in the pack. I was never the person at the front but I certainly wasn’t the person at the back and now that was where I was finding myself. No matter how much I told myself to “Come On” and mentally tried to turn my legs over faster, they just wouldn’t go any quicker. I called my running coach last week and had a meltdown.
One question needed to be answered: Should I do this race and clock my slowest time or abandon it all and walk away. I was heavily leaning toward the latter.
Those of us on the fertility journey know this emotion oh too well. It’s when you feel like everyone around you is getting pregnant and having babies, but you seem to be slipping further and further behind on the ever ticking clock of starting a family. One day you have more dinner plans in a week than you know what to do with and the next moment, the only parties on the agenda are baby showers and kids’ birthday parties. Like seriously – when did that all happen? So you put the pillars in place and start to eat clean, cut back on the coffee, limit the partying, become responsible and committed to this whole “becoming a parent” thing, and when it doesn’t happen – yup, the meltdown occurs.
I said to my coach, “what do I do?” “Well,” he said, ”here you are 4 years older and injured, and you have to accept that this year is not going to be your year to bring home the sub 2. But, if you keep up with the strengthening and the other treatments that are helping, and add in some stability exercise and stretches, it doesn’t mean that next year won’t be your year. You need to stop looking at this race as the end and instead look at it as part of the journey.” The penny dropped.
He was right. I had taken this one race and put my definition of success in the frame of a time goal. I hung up the phone and thought to myself, life has an uncanny way of throwing obstacles at you that force you to take stock and dig deep, no matter if you are running a race or trying to get pregnant.
I thought to myself, I am not giving up. I have invested so much in this race that I am going to give it my very best, and even if that means that I am nowhere near the goal time I wanted to achieve, I have learnt in the words of Brene Brown, “the willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time.” The race is still on.
– Rachel De Gale