Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I Am Where I Am

I am not having a very good couple of running days, in fact, I no longer feel like an imposter, now it is more of a phony. Head Cold Hattie has apparently zapped me good. Yesterday I set out to do shoe test # 15 or whatever it is and only made it about 1.75 miles. Today, I set out again, this time 4 miles, but lots of walking and wondering if I have lost all my fitness in this short of time or does Hattie just zap you that hard? Or maybe I've lost my mental toughness to run through it? I can't even run far enough to have a good shoe test at this point.

So, I am left wondering exactly where I am and what this means for the upcoming marathon. Rather than continue the bawling and whining, I decided to do something about it. I am going to post something that could help me, if I choose to let it, and maybe could help someone else, too.

I am reading The Courage to Start: A Guide to Running for Your Life by John "the Penguin" Bingham. Even though it is about starting, it really is full of lessons about running in general, running for life, attitude, changing our definitions of ourselves, etc. Tons of Life Lessons, really, if you let them be. I highly recommend this for anyone who is starting, recently started, running regularly, questioning their commitment to running, basically any runner would probably enjoy this book. Look at me pretending I am part of the crowd. See, it's already good for me....

So the Penguin says something like this:

Runners everywhere want to be better. However, all of us are SOMEWHERE. WHERE YOU ARE IS WHERE YOU ARE. You can choose to accept and decide where you want to move toward or you can just berate yourself for being where you are. In fact, if you don't accept where you are and seek only to improve, you are setting yourself up for failure.

Moving our bodies is a good thing and for the most part we know this is the right thing to be doing. There is joy in this in the beginning, "I am actually doing it, I just ran X miles".... etc. However, the joy quickly fades and we get caught up in the "how far SHOULD I be going," "how fast SHOULD I be." According to Bingham, setting the stage for failure starts with "SHOULD".

He also talks a lot about the transformation from activity to lifestyle. {paraphrasing} For running to be a part of your life, it must become a part of who you are. For better or worse, being a runner must be part of your definition for yourself. There are no expectations that we can meet other than those we set for ourselves. Running can teach us that if we let it. Running can teach us to accept who we are and challenge who we are at the same time. Running can teach you how to be all of who you are. Each step will take you further from the expectations of everyone else and closer to yourself.

So here goes, don't I really want running to be part of my lifestyle, part of me? More so than stressing over this marathon? I want to be a RUNNER more than I want to run the Des Moines Marathon in a few short weeks. So, I am somebody with some foot issues, still to be worked out, who has also had a cold. Today I managed to do 4 miles. YES, 4 MILES, eventhough I've had a cold and had no energy and it was really hot out there. I choose to think that's great, and I choose to keep making running part of my lifestyle. THAT's WHERE I AM TODAY.


Marcy said...

Awesome Nancy!!! ;D What a GREAT attitude to have! I have his other books "Marathon Running For Mortals" and "Running For Mortals" I think they're great books and have nice little bits of encouragement.

You'll get through this :-) It might take some time to figure out what's going on with your feet but you'll get there. Just a little bump in the road :-)

And yes 4 miles IS a great, especially when you're sick ;D

Tom@RunnersLounge said...

Nancy, you are stronger than the those of us who are healthy.

Hattie will be gone soon and your energy will surge and you'll be testing those shoes with a great outcome!

More than Bingham's words, your outlook is very uplifting. Keep up your shining perspective and we're right behind you.

Rooting for you....

Running Hoosier said...

Nancy.. woo hoo, Nancy... over here jsut around the corner.. Yea, that's me, here I am. I am where I am which is where you are. Hey looks like we are here together.

I too am having running issues this week.

Single said...

Four miles is a phenomenal distance with a cold. It's so hard to be accepting of where we are--good job for giving it your all!

kate said...

Nancy, you are so awesome! I admire your ability to adopt this perspective; isn't that what running is all about?

You are doing so great, even with all the bumps in the road you've encountered lately. I have no doubt you'll pull through this.

Stay strong!

Moon said...

I've only read his "Marathoning for Mortals" (though I'd like to read Courage to Start when I get a chance!), but John Bingham has to be one of the most inspirational people I've ever read. Aren't his words just fantastic for making you feel like you can take the world on, and with one hand tied behind your back? And the best part is - you CAN. We are our own heroes, and I think SuperNancy is particularly super today for taking down 4 miles in the face of the sickness. Rock on!!

Moon said...

ooh, that Leading Ladies marathon event thing really does look great! An all-women event like that would be sooo cool :) And the course looks gorgeous. Man, it just reminds you of how much of the world there is to be seen :)

Greg Johnson said...

Way to go Nancy!

Keep pressing toward the finish line.


Bill Carter said...


Just hang in there. You have really had to deal with alot lately and that is enough to break anybody down. Let your body heal first and than find the joy in your running that I have seen in so many of your posts.
Bingham is amazing by the way.

Andria said...

Exactly! Just the fact that you did 4 miles when you weren't really feeling like it shows you are a runner. That is awesome. You have to find joy in the short runs, even if they are shorter than you want, becuase then you can appreciate how hard you worked to get where you are. Great post.

Patty said...

You are where you are and I will always be honored and proud to stand beside of you. When you could have quit (and lots of people have thrown in the towel for lots less) you didn't. When you could have hidden behind your injury/cold you stood up and said, "Here I am." WHAT A WOMAN! WHAT A RUNNER!

You are teaching all of us so much. Thank you for that.

Running Ragged said...

Great blog Nancy, very inspiring!

AND...You are not an impostor, nor a phony...I'll have to take your club and knock some sense into you! ;)

I like John Bingham's books, I own all three. I pick them up whenever I need to read about the lighter side of running; they are also informative and funny, and a good reminder of DOs and DON'Ts.

I was very relieved to read that you choose to continue to make running a part of your life, after all I enjoy your posts! ;)

Amy@RunnersLounge said...

It seems you have all the little packets of determination you need! Great post and some wise words. I was once in a similar situation and felt great pressure to do an event but my body was not cooperating. I finally decided to take it one week at a time, keep training, but leave the decision to run the event undecided until the week before and just enjoy the journey - whatever it becomes. Enjoy where you are and what you can do - the marathon will happen (or not), but have fun with the weeks in between.


Jess said...

Being ill does zap you of a lot, and missing runs or doing poorly on runs zaps you of the mental strength needed. You'll get through it in a few days, then you'll have a fantastic run and feel much better. You still have plenty of time before the marathon to recover.

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for posting this!!
I am getting the book today!
Why is it so hard to admit we are runners???

You are doing a great job!

With the cooler temps on thier way one good run will remind you why we run.

WHERE YOU ARE IS WHERE YOU ARE, great topic for my brain to kick around on my run today.


J~Mom said...

Great post!! Such a great reminder! Try to be patient, you ARE a runner and it will get better!

Scott McMurtrey said...

you're getting me all psyched up to go run right now. bye.

DawnB said...

I love that book. I've read it twice. years ago. I'm going to find it and read it again. Nancy we have our good and bad days.
this will pass, tomorrow is another day!!