This morning, I ran ten miles in just under two hours. I ran the 7 mile loop on Lady Bird Lake with Kerry and Jenny, and I followed that up with the 3 mile loop on my own. Back on February 12, I did the same run. Then it took me 2 hours and 5 minutes and felt really difficult most of the way. This morning, I was six minutes faster, and it felt easier. It wasn’t easy. I struggled, especially the first few miles, but it was easier. It felt like progress, and I like progress.
After more than a year of no racing, I’m officially back into training mode. The Austin Marathon reminded me just how much I enjoy a finish line, so I’m planning this year’s races and setting this year’s goals. The big one will be Ironman Canada, which I’m really excited about largely because there will be a huge Austin contingent there, including some faces I consider friendly. Plus, I know the course really well. It’s one I’ve done before and spectated, not once but twice. Penticton, British Columbia, is a beautiful place, and Ironman Canada is fantastic race. I’m excited to go back this year as a competitor.
I have missed having the focus of a big effort like Ironman. Last year, I had to deal with some work changes and other uncertainties that made focusing on something like Ironman difficult, so I stepped back a bit. I think that was necessary for that time, but it kept me from working through my issues the way I normally do. I consider heavy training to be one way of dealing with my internal demons. (That word is probably harsher than I intend, but you get the idea.) Cut the heavy training, and the stuff in my head continues to swim around, unaddressed and unresolved.
My emotional well-being and my physical well-being are linked closely together. I don’t know if that’s true for everyone, but it’s true for me. If I’m heavy and out of shape, it’s a safe bet to say that I’m struggling with something in my head. If I’m struggling to get out of bed for workouts, that’s when I need the workout – and the clarity it brings – the most. Right now, I’m struggling. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been, and getting to my workouts hasn’t been easy. But I have started these last few weeks to find my focus, and I’m slowly feeling the internal fog beginning to lift. I’m starting to get excited again. That, too, is progress.