Purpose and Plugging!!

Mary and I before a little bit of fun!

I have to admit, I contemplated  making this Blog  title coincide with how some of my last few races have went. You know maybe a title like “Riding on the Struggle Bus” or “Bonking when it Counts” or even something like “Racing into Unknown Walls”. haha!!… Not that funny actually.
Of course I came to my senses and I know that focusing on thoughts like that and JUST focusing on that, doesn’t  help to change anything.  Sure, not racing well, makes things complicated, especially when you are trying to make a living.  There is no candy coating bad races. But really there has been way too many positive things going on these last few months that outweigh the negative, …so I settled on the Title; “Purpose and Plugging!”

The Zap crew after a Beautiful Run in Tallahassee

As I mentioned in my last blog from way too long ago in December, I started working with Coach Pete Rea again from ZAP FITNESS in Blowing, Rock, NC. And then in January,  I made the decision to be an official Zap athlete again. And Man!… its been a whirlwind ever since!  I have truly enjoyed rejoining Zap Fitness on many accounts. It’s been so good to get to know and hang out with the new Zap crew which is a completely different team from when I was here back in 2006- 2007.  And then having the opportunity to train in Tallahassee, Florida, and Greenville, SC throughout the months of January to March was like being a kid in a candy store. (or a “Pezz” in a candy store actually:))The variety of parks, trails and greenways to run on was soooo refreshing and the living accommodations were phenomenal. I was only there for about half the time, commuting back and forth between races and Charlotte commitments, but it was clear that wherever I was, one thing was consistent. All my workouts were going really well and I felt good.

Sarah Crouch and I before a Reebok photo shoot

By the beginning of February,  I for the most part, had felt stronger, refreshed and  physically healthier than I had in a while.  And I had a couple races throughout that time, that signaled some good fitness. The problem was just that though. A COUPLE races….As for the other 3 races,.( shuddering just to think about them), they have been beyond what you would call even descent:(
How is it that even while training weeks and workouts remained successful, I felt like I was running in quicksand when it came to race day. And so after my last race, a 5k on the track in Raleigh, where I felt like a bear jumped on my back from the beginning of the race,  it became VERY clear that something is wrong?  Things were not translating!

I never wanted to be that runner who is constantly obsessing about things and always evaluating what is going on with my mind and body. But going through what I’ve gone through the last few races, and struggling like I did last summer/fall in a few races, has really forced me to evaluate just that;  MY MIND and MY BODY!!!  You know the thoughts…..”Did I eat enough before that race?”….Did I eat too much?… Was I warmed up enough before that one or did I warm up too much? Or the big one for me, was I hydrated enough given my abnormally disgusting, massive sweat rate??!  And then there is the training aspect of things.  “Have we been overtraining, undertraining or not timing hard workouts right?”.. “Am I going too fast on my easy days or maybe not fast enough?”  or “maybe this isn’t physical, maybe its mental.” Maybe I lost the mental edge, maybe I don’t believe in my ability. Maybe I just suck. Blah.. Blah….Blah

 See! I am all about iron enriched foods now!

I think any struggling athlete does have to figure out some of the answers to these type of questions.  Believe me, I am working on the physical side of things as much as possible. However,.. I do think that if it goes too far, these obsessive thought patterns can run people right out of the sport. Actually…Out of any sport, or job, or endeavor. So what do you do? Where is the balance of thought pattern when things aren’t clicking for people who really want to be the best they can be in anything?? I’m still in the process of learning. But a good place to start may be to take the bad race or outcome, and change everything you know that needs to change.  And then you fix everything you think that needs to be fixed, but yet still know, that at the end of the day, there are some things you just cannot control. And so I’m choosing to go back  to the Purpose and just keep Plugging!

Why did I start competitive running in the first place?   I think the reasons are different for many athletes. But  the main reason I started competitive running back in 2006 is because I have a  desire to see how fast I can be. I want to see how much I can get out of the body that God made.  And that’s a pretty simple concept. .BUT who said that if I kept running, that I would never get hurt, struggle, fail, or run REALLY slow at times?? And  who said that the journey to see what I m capable of, wouldn’t come without changes, adjustments and massive doubts?

For some reason, after every race that has “not translated” so far this season, I still REALLY can’t wait for the next race??  In fact, it’s always been that way for most of my athletic career. I always couldn’t wait for the next game or the next race no matter how painful and troubling the last one was. Maybe I have failed so much, that I’m just not afraid of it anymore:)….but who knows for sure? I just think that it is good to keep plugging.  Because even though the travel is tough, the interrupted training is annoying and the pre-competition nerves are high, I love the idea that I can try again.  Or actually that I am BLESSED to try again. That ultimately, no matter  how disappointing  the last attempt was, there is a chance for something better or more satisfying in the next.
 Caution:  Now if you are seriously injured, not performing in workouts or just not feeling good the majority of the time, than there are times to be smart and pull the plug.  And there have been a few times in the past for myself where I should have and did not:(… But seeing that this is not the case, Pete and I both agreed there is no reason to call the season off just yet.  So I’m going to just keep plugging!.

In conclusion, my friend Susan Black always jokes with me about hard things that come up in life.  She’ll say “ I don’t know if you know this Pezz, but life is not always easy.”Haha  And after everything my support system and I have been through to keep me somewhat sane;), I know she is being VERY sarcastic.  But she’s right.  Life is NOT easy. I love this verse in the Bible that can be applied to  every hard situation that life brings and put into a different perspective.

In John 16:33, Jesus is saying, “In this world YOU WILL have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the World.”
I am hoping that if I go back to the purpose and keep plugging that these small troubles will be overcome.  But thankfully, even if not, it’s JUST running.  And there is so much more to life!:)