“Yeah, I’m talking to you!” I say, as I look at myself in the mirror. Big smirk. Eye roll. Furrowed brow. “Seriously, pull your head out.” This is the only pep talk that works sometimes. (This and a sweet email from my running partner who knows my running psyche oh so well.)
I can be a whiner. Full disclosure; I am never satisfied. Sure, this works in my favor sometimes, like when frosting cupcakes or vacuuming, but it’s not a great personality trait otherwise. So, sometimes, when I eff up, I whine, complain and mope until I tell myself to knock it off and appreciate what I’m doing right, not what I’m doing (or think I’m doing) wrong.
I’m most hard on myself about my running. The coach that lives in my head can be a real capital B. She’s always yelling at me to go faster, longer, hillier or all three. She tells me to get my arse out of bed when it’s pouring rain, to suck it up when I’m tired, to force feed myself Gu when the thought of more sugar turns my stomach and to round my miles up and run around the house two more times if that’s what it takes to go 10 instead of 9.86. Once in a while, we get in a fight.
Like this last week.
“Coach” and I had it out on Thursday at 6:00am and the brawl lasted through Sunday. Thursday is my fabulous RMR group run that I look forward to every week. However, it was spring break and I knew most of the regulars were going to be gone. With kids out of school and families traveling, I had a strong feeling that no one would show. Plus it was pouring rain. Again. Coach and I went back and forth.
“Get up! What if someone shows up and you’re slackin?” She screams in my ear. “You have to run anyway, c’mon, move it.”
I have an Air Force basic training flashback and yell back, “Just 5 more minutes in bed. You’re not the boss of me!”
“Oh yes I am!”
“Fine. But if no one shows, I’m coming back here and going to bed.”
“We’ll see about that, missy”
I went. I waited until 6:03. No one came. I shuffled back home. I stripped off my not-really-sweaty clothes. The Garmin read 1.23 miles. Coach whispers in my ear, “Pathetic.” I crawl back in bed. I sleep blissfully for and hour and a half.
I woke up and tried to not feel guilty. Not feel weird. Not feel like the biggest, fattest slug ever. Tried to figure out how to make up 9 miles in the next two days. I tell coach it’s no big deal.
I don’t run Friday.
I drink a couple beers and eat a big coconut macaroon and give myself a slammer of a sugar headache on Friday night.
Saturday, I wake up late and and drink water with Nuun. Yeah, as a recovery drink from Friday. “Back off”, I tell coach. I run 5 miles. Ok, now I’m over 20 miles short for the week.
“WHAT??????” Coach screams at me several times on Saturday. I try to tell her that everyone needs a break, a breather, a chance to cut loose and recharge. Coach is so pissed, she doesn’t even keep track of my running clothes, my gadgets, my headlamp batteries. She doesn’t bring my Asics in from the back porch to stay warm. Only out of shear habit, she makes sure I’m drinking lots of water. I toss in another Nuun and she rolls her eyes at me.
Sunday at 1:00pm, I take a good look in the mirror. Coach grabs me by the virtual collar and says, “Pull your head out!”
“Haven’t you given me enough grief?” I ask.
“Yes. I have. Now stop beating yourself up for slacking. Enjoy the break. Spend the afternoon with your fabulous kids and hubby. I will cheerfully get your gear ready for a longish run tomorrow while you rest.”
“You mean I have permission to freak out, then move on? Be accepting of myself and not sabotage the rest of the weekend by eating more sugar, feeling guilty and being crabby?”
“Right. See you tomorrow.”
My coach is awesome. She really knows when to kick my a$$, then give me the TLC I need.
Today is Monday. As promised, coach had all my goodies lined up for me on the bathroom floor; fully charged Garmin, iPod, Glide, Gu, water, clothes, shoes and headband instead of hat (she said it wasn’t going to rain and she’s pretty good about predicting the weather.)
Nine miles later, she taps me on the shoulder and screams, “Ok, now kick it up a notch for the last mile would ya?!”