Not sure if I should thank Adidas, Shannon Payne, Lauren Fleshman, Desi Davilla, Costa Rica, Costa Rica's running community, or the soccer community but last week was exactly what I needed to pull my head out of my butt. It was like a week full of "signs" that pulled me out of my funk.
First my bad ass mountain running teammate Shannon Payne wrote a blog about her experience with her "bad" race and it made me think. You know what. People always tell me. I saw you running it looked so effortless I am jealous. Running comes so easy to you. On and on with comments like that. But guess what....running isn't always medals and rainbows. Sometimes I hate it. I hate lacing up my shoes and going out to see how slow I am all of a sudden. Lacing up my shoes to go out and miss my paces by so much.
Next on my drive to the airport with my family I came across Lauren Fleshmans blog about her Peach tree experience. (A race I had planned on going to but didn't because I was out of shape, scared and embarrassed). Her blog talked about how every single one of us elites feel at one point or another. She wasn't competing for the win and when it started to hurt she let her head get the best of her until Desi caught up to her and made her pull it out. Any elite who says they haven't at one time lost time or a race because of their negative self talk would probably be telling you a lie. We all do it, but for some reason hearing two of my idols talk about it made me think....what is my problem they are way better than me and are ok with going to big races even if they aren't in the best shape of their life. Stop being so hard on YOU and go. So at the airport I got signed up for and booked my flight to BIX 7. Time to get back on that horse.
My final sign was showing up in Costa Rica. Coming into the race I knew I was in no shape to run fast (I'll get to that next) so I didn't know what to do. As we drove up the rode to our hotel there was an Adidas sign that read #allinornothing. It made me think seriously why not? Now was as good a time as any to just go for it and see what happens. Granted the sign was more for soccer than running but Adidas has it right it's either all in or you are doing yourself a disservice.
Why did I need these signs? Here is the ugly truth
After running Bolder Boulder, my worst 10k EVER (not just since I started this elite thing but EVER) I lost my desire to even care about running. I had worked so hard leading into Twin Cities and Boston just to not reach my goal. So add BB into it and I wanted to quit. I got my training schedule and was going through the motions. I'd do my runs but truth be told if my life didn't work with a run I'd just skip it. I was so frustrated with making running the priority for it to just make me mad. So I was being lazy, which I get I have no one to blame for my current shape other than myself. I own it I know it to be true. I had a weak weak moment. I wanted my life to be a priority for once. I spent a lot of time watching my kids play games, worked, had drinks with friends and was half assing my training. I could beat myself up over it if I wanted to, but I needed to come around again on my own. I can now say I'm back. Racing in Costa Rica was exactly what I needed a no pressure place to just put myself ALL IN and remember why I love racing and running.
Costa Rica has a special place in my heart now. It was the first time I took my kids out of the country, a great family vacation and the place that made me find my drive again. Getting there was a mess, delayed flights, long travel, no seat assignments on and on but once we got there we weren't disappointed. We drove a few hours to get to Arenal where we stayed at the beautiful hot springs resort Baldi.
Baldi did not leave us disappointed, non of us wanted to leave there EVER!
The next day we took the boys zip lining as a present for Chase's 10th birthday.
Costa Rica has to have the best areas to zipline, it was amazing! We saw some toucans and took ourselves through the jungle along the beautiful volcano. Oh and of course it was pouring while we did it. What would you expect? We all had a blast! The kids mostly enjoyed mom and dad screaming their heads off on the Tarzan swing. Wish I could put the video on here it was so fun and such a thrill!
Sadly the next day we had to leave our paradise and head back down to San Jose for the race expo and media. The expo was crazy. I felt like royalty, everyone wanted autographs and took pictures with us. The runners in Costa Rica were all so welcoming I have never felt more loved!
Saturday was Chase's birthday so we felt the need to go do something and Jaco beach was what Chase wanted to do. So we loaded up the car and made the hour drive to the beautiful coast. Granted not what I would normally do pre race but come on I was in Costa Rica I couldn't just sit in my hotel room.
Once the fun filled day of beach, shopping and Hooters was over we hit the hotel for me to get a good night sleep before my 4 am wake up call to go race.
Race day was odd. I didn't have the normal amount of jitters. I just felt ready to go see what I could do. Nice thing was I was racing out of the country if I failed who cared right? The pre race morning was a little different than normal. We got to the start with no time to warm up or find a bathroom but its good sometimes to get out of your routine. Things won't always go as planned and it just means I had no time to over think it. Before I knew it the gun went off and I was running fast. I went out way too hard for my current fitness. I was running on pace to hit a new PR but I didn't care. I was just going to go with it until I couldn't anymore. I had the lead and it was great. The guys I was running around were all so supportive! The crowds were amazing cheering for me and pushing me on. I have to admit I've never weaved through cars during a race or had motor cycles come up next to me to talk and take pictures but it really didn't bother me. It was a new thing, I kind of enjoyed it. I couldn't help but smile at the crowds they were just so GREAT! Yes I knew at some point the pace would probably start to kill me but I rolled the dice. Obviously it didn't work in my favor, at 8 I started to hurt and had to remind myself of Lauren Fleshman's blog. It's suppose to hurt you are a fighter just keep pushing. At 9 I got caught and as hard as I tried to hold on the humidity and early pace caught up to me. By 11 I had completely fallen apart and was hanging on just to finish. Luckily I finished, it wasn't pretty or fast, but Idid it. I fought through again and I remember just why I do this. I love the pain and thrill and crowds. So thank you Costa Rica! You made me remember why I do this and now I am back! The race was my first hard effort to start my fall marathon cycle and it was good. I really thought San Jose was at sea level so to find out after the race that it was just under 4000 made me even more happy! I live in the mid 4000's so it wasn't too far off and I felt like I held some good paces in there. Turns out I wasn't as out of shape as I thought. And I hope to come back to Costa Rica to race again soon!
Bottom line is my training has been spotty. I own it all on myself. You can not just go through the motions in running and be successful. I have been going through the motions and still did ok so now it's time to stop going through the motions and be me again. Do I feel guilty for the way I've been the last couple months? No because I think I needed it to happen. I needed to find my fire. Really 2014 didn't mean too much. Better it happens now than next year or the year after.
I hope this blog hits one person just like Shannon, Lauren, Desi and Costa Rica reached me. You don't always have to be on your game. We all lose it sometimes. It's how you get yourself out that makes you the competitor you are! So wether you are an elite, a hobby jogger, a serious runner, a weight lifter, a biker, a mom whatever you are just remember we all have our moments of weakness. All of us lose it. Be easy on yourself and you will make it out on the other side!
I'm off to run now......not because I have to but because I WANT to for the first time in a long while.