Fukumoto Friday: Week 39

Folks…it’s the end of an era. A 2+ month era of running up and down a hill.

Over and over and over some more.

Not just one hill, but many within the same hill.

That hill laughed at me. Taunted me. Even gave me anxious tummy thinking about what could be waiting for me at 5:30 every Tuesday at…you guessed it:

The Hill.

Now that the dramatic urge I’ve been stuffing down all week is gone, we can move on…

Up and down and around and around.
Up and down and around and around.

So we finished out summer hill training season. I went from never having run up those hills once in my life (but have run past them MANY times over thinking that I  *should* run up them and then running faster before I felt accountable to actually do it) to running up and down them hundreds of times. All in the span of about 10 weeks. I went from barely being able to sprint up half the hill to confidently running my guts out (almost literally a couple of times…stupid heat) to get as close to the top as I could in 5, 10 or even 20 seconds. Sometimes, even succeeding and being able to work my way back down a bit. That’s not to say the hills got easier because honestly, they didn’t. They stayed hard and my legs burned with every ascent right through to the end.

What changed in the process was my focus and my determination and my goals. The first few weeks, I always had Spartan on my mind. It was always there and the unknowns were always bugging my poor task-oriented brain. Unfortunately, a lot of it got the better of me and I paid a good mental price during the race and not having the confidence I probably should have had more of running between obstacles. However, there was much to be learned from that (as there always is. God bless life lessons!). I needed to shift from thinking about what was coming and focus more on what I was doing that day, in that time.

I struggle a lot with the mental game. Part of it is self-confidence and part is that I’m a thinker. I analyze ev-er-y-thing. I don’t mean to but if there’s an angle to explore, you better believe I’ll be poking around it. Sometimes, the thinker in me overrules the doer. Such was very much the case in the hills. I’d hear myself saying “just walk down the hill, get your energy back, you need it or you won’t get back up”, “go slow, you can’t catch the next person anyway so save your energy to get through to the end”, “if you push, you’ll run out of gas”, and my favorite, “fake an injury and you won’t have to run anymore”…

Sometimes, it was just telling myself to run one hill at a time before thinking about the next one. Sometimes it was telling myself to run down the hill even though it felt unsteady, uneven and like I might fall. It was never easy to do but there was definitely a lot of freedom in starting to push ever so slightly past the point where my mind is screaming at me to stop or slow down. The past 3-4 weeks, I’ve felt so strong on those hills, so capable. Part of that is conditioning and actually being stronger than I was 10 weeks ago but a big part of that is starting to tear down the mental barrier I have up and not worrying about how I do in the eyes of others but just working my butt off to finish what I’ve set out to do that day. That’s huge and that’s an ongoing journey that we all have to go on in one way or another.

Hopefully, these are things I can take with me into the unknown world of Dirty Donkey, a race I’ve never run but that I’ll be doing tomorrow. Running an unknown race, of unknown distance with unknown obstacles and penalties thrown in. Yep…definitely growing…

Follow my weekly updates:

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Week 2                         Week 6 (no update)     Week 10             Week 14               Week 18

Week 3                         Week 7                         Week 11             Week 15               Week 19

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Week 23                      Week 27                       Week 31              Week 35

Week 24                     Week 28                        Week 32              Week 36 (no update)

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Stephanie is a Canadian Mom of 3, Runner, Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC), Christ-follower and all around reeker of awesomeness. When she's not chasing after her kids, you can find her dreaming big dreams and bringing them to life.

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