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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Remember your Training

You may not know this about me, but I'm a runner.
A slow one, but a runner.

I started in...2009, I think. I used to be very fat. Before I started running this time, the LAST time I ever ran was in gym class in 10th grade (1998), and I couldn't finish the mile because of shin splints. It was embarrassing. I've since lost quite a bit of weight, my general fitness has vastly improved, so I added jogging to my arsenal of awesomeness.

I completed my 3rd half-marathon this weekend.
That means I've run 13 miles 3 times.
That means I've run 10+ miles 9 times.

This has been just in the past 14 months. These things take time.
Listen to me. 
These. Things. 
Take. Time.

I'm ready to write you some motivational words about running. Well, again, I guess. But it's been awhile. Thanks to Howie for listening to me say these words out loud first to help me organize my thoughts.

At mile 6, we embarked on 2 miles of hills of varying sizes. I counted 6 of them when we crossed mile 8.

As I saw the first hill approaching, my brain started yelling, "Classy. Remember your training. You've done this before. REMEMBER YOUR TRAINING." I slowed down, leaned forward and shuffled up the first hill. This inner monologue continued through the rest of the race.

During this time, I also thought at lot about football. I think I can also write about performance art, too. Stay with me.

Sports teams spend training season just running plays. 
They have scenarios that involve certain moves and specific throws to specific people at specific times. 

They run those plays time 
after time
after time.

Game day, they run those exact plays.
They run the plays they practiced over and over again.
Because they have to.
Their team is depending on them to run those plays.

Groups of performers rehearse. They rehearse lines, 
they rehearse blocking. 
Timing, emotion, every step, every word.

Performance night, 
the entire cast, 
the technicians running your sound and light cues, 
are all depending on you to recreate what you rehearsed.

When I train for a race, I never know what race day will be like. 
Even on the same course, changes in weather, 
my energy, my fitness, the crowd size,
can affect how I run.

So, I train for anything.
I run in the snow.
I run in the rain.
I run speed drills.
I run really slowly for a long time.
I run up hills.
I run down hills.
I run in the grass.
I run on the road.
I run on the trail.
I run when I don't want to.
I run when I want to.
I run in the mornings.
I run at night.
I run after eating.
I run before eating.
I run when it's 100 degrees.
I run when it's 12 degrees.
I cycle through all my gear.
I try different sports drinks.
I try different socks.
I listen to my body.

My brain can handle anything at this point.
Even if it's really annoying.
I made a plan.

There's something about race day, though,
that can make us forget our training.

We know we need to pace ourselves.
We know what we can handle.
We know when it's time to take a drink.

But sometimes, we're overrun with adrenaline.
We're not on a team.
It's just...you.

It's just you 
comparing yourself 
to all the other people you're standing around
who ran their own plays this whole time.

All of a sudden, 
we just think we need to finish as quickly as possible.
We need to pass these people.
We need to ignore our bodies.

Because there's no accountability, really.
No team.
No cast.
Just you.

They won't know if you are running your plays that you practiced. 
They won't know if that was supposed to be your line.

This is especially complicated 
if we've run the same kind of race before and have a time expectation. 
You always want to beat your time.

But it's never the same race, even if it's the same course.
We're not the same body we were last time, either.

After awhile, you'll feel bad when you realize you ignored your training.
You worked too hard to run like you think other people need you to run.
You worked too hard to ignore everything you've practiced just because of the clock.

You have to remember your training.
It's all you can do.
And your body will thank you.

-C McG

PS. Most training programs only train you up to 10 miles with the logic, "If you can run 10 miles, you can run 13.1!" That's why I say mile 11 begins the wilderness in my drawing. 

See, they SAY that, but for me, training for 10 miles means I know I can definitely run 10 miles. I have to get to the race to see what actually will happen after that. Up until this weekend, it wasn't pretty.

New for 2018! Audio Commentary!


  1. Love it m'dear. :-) And you're right..once you've done a run in a downpour and then turned around and done a run in 8" of snow...you can basically say you're prepared for anything. I am proud of you for kickin' ass and taking names AGAIN this year. I wish I could have been there to run it with you.

    1. Thank you, dear. The year is still young, lots of opportunities to keep working and kicking more ass! And then I got tired just typing that.