About Me

Saturday, June 12, 2010

facing fear

Fear is a funny thing isn't it? It's completely intangible and yet one of the most crippling things possible. I must admit that even though I am physically strong, I am still mentally weak and often plagued by fear. I won't go into my list of quirky irrational fears but trail running is one of them.

I have not the slightest clue why I was  scared to run outside or even if fear is really the correct term for it. Several times this spring I've planned to hit the trail for a run outside and break away from the treadmill for awhile. I love me some treadmill runs and get a great workout on them, but when the only thing there is to look at is the sweaty guy lifting weights in front of you, it gets boring quick. Especially because no cute boys work out at 5:30 in the morning. I've been excited to try running outdoors and even bought cute new running shoes and gear but for whatever reason could never make myself actually go out and do it.

However, today that all changed :O) I had a free morning and it was beautiful and sunny so I told myself that I could either go for a trail run or I would have to go to the gym and workout. Running outdoors won by a long shot. Instead of heading out around my neighborhood where I could quit at anytime I went down to the trail that runs by the river, warmed up and started running. I was shocked at how easy it was right off the bat, much easier than any treadmill run. Before I knew it, I had run 2 miles without stopping. I thought I would have needed to walk a lot but I took my time pacing myself and slowing down when I needed it. I had been hoping to hit 3 miles total but 2 miles in I still felt good so I went another 1/2 mile before turning around.

The second half was definitely more mentally challenging. I knew what was ahead of me this time and by now, I was starting to get a little tired and very sweaty. I kept pushing through and told myself walking breaks were okay but whenever I stopped to walk my legs just kept pushing me forward. Kind of like that feeling you get when you don't slow down on the treadmill before jumping off? My legs always feel like they should still be moving much faster, that's how it felt. So I kept running and hit 5 miles right at the trailhead. I walked another 1/4 of a mile to cool down and then stretched out and headed home.

I felt so good afterwards. It was definitely very mentally challenging on the way back. I never wanted to give up because my lungs were burning or my knees hurt, only because I felt like I would never make it back or just started freaking out about the distance. I am definitely going to keep working on my mental toughness as I increase my mileage and speed.

Things I learned:
  • I could be a runner and I love running
  • Trail running is better than treadmill running- the scenery distracted me and made it more enjoyable
  • I am tougher than I thought
  • Fuel properly- first thing I did when I got home was make a HUGE salad best loaded with protein and veggies followed by a Clif Bar. I was starving to the point of dizziness- not good at all
  • Hydrate properly- I am definitely going to have to start bringing my water backpack. I guzzled my water bottle (I had it in my car to free up my hands) by the time I was out of the parking lot and proceeded to drink at least 7 more within the next few hours (without a bursting bladder I might add). Thats 192 oz of water!!
  • Good shoes make all the difference- a day later and no foot or knee pain at all
  • Cardio can be just as effective outside as on a gym machine- I burned 1218 calories in 1 hr 8 minutes! That's insane (and also explains the ravenous hunger)
  • I don't have to live my life in the gym to be healthy- greatest revelation of all :O)
 Post run/pre-crash happiness

Happy Saturday bloggies! I'm off to celebrate my girlfriend's birthday out of town so I'll be MIA for a few days. 

love love love :O)


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