Friday, March 20, 2015

Keeping my Head in the Game

When I first started running I really thought it was all physical. As I continued training and increasing my mileage I learned that there is a lot of mental activity that keeps you in the running game. As I turn my thoughts to training for another full marathon (something I never thought I'd even say again) I'm finding there's a lot involved. My life has so many more complicated issues than it had 3 years ago!

One thing I'm already learning is that I have a tendency to just jump - and think later. But this is different - and pretty hard on me. I have to make a lot of purposeful preparations just to get ready to train. I have to get okays from multiple doctors - specifically the cardiologist. I have to work on getting my diet right and my body ready. You'd think I've been running for 6 years and should be in shape, huh? No - I have let so many things go; I'm ashamed.

One of my goals for right now is to get some form of exercise in every day. I'd like to do an hour a day - but I also have to be careful to not overdo. That could mean major setbacks especially with CHF. It's not worth the risk. I'm learning to take everything my body gives me on a given day and maximize it - without going too crazy with it. Balance is a key word.

Today I ran errands - but rode my bike. So I got in a good 4 mile ride today. I also did my knee exercises - I have to get my whole body ready for this journey - I'm determined to do it. But I have to do it right.

This weekend  I have my second half marathon since the congestive heart failure diagnosis. I take that as a challenge really. Every step is a victory. I plan on taking 13.1 miles worth of victorious steps. It may be slow - sluggish or ugly - but I plan on doing it right! I have an extra challenge for this race though. My cell phone died late last night (a whole new set of challenges and stress right there!). The company shipped it out tonight but there's no way I'll get it before next week. That means I've got to do this race with no technology. I won't have a phone on me if I get in a bind. One friend told me that means I have to be really good on the course; something I intend on doing anyway.

It's really hard mentally to think about what it means to have trouble on the course. I ran all last year with chest discomfort not realizing there was really something going on that needed attention. I pushed it sometimes when I shouldn't have. Now I have slowed down and am more purposeful in my training, running and walking. Stress is rough on my body - I'm totally stressed out - there's always that what if in the back of my mind now.

What if I don't sleep well before the race?
What if I have an episode before the race?
What if my chest starts hurting on the course?
What if I can't finish this one?

You get the idea - my mind goes crazy! Today I don't have to worry about all that (I tell myself). Today I have to handle the stress as good as I possibly can and get my head back into the game. It's a game I plan on winning.

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