I have been doing Crossfit consistently 4-6x a week since February and I will not deny for a minute that there has been progress both physically and mentally. I have been able to complete WODs that look impossible on the whiteboard and complete lifts at weights I would never imagine being able to do. In the beginning, everything was so new; nearly every week I was hitting new PRs or making new milestones, but eventually things came to a bit of a plateau. But even more recently it’s like I hopped right back on that PR-high train; I have been able to link 20 double-unders in a row (one time ever, but it counts!), 9 kipping pull-ups in a row, complete handstand push-ups without a mat, and PRed my back squat and clean and jerk.
It seems the more that I progress, the higher the expectations I set for myself. Not a bad thing, right? You will not get better if you are not pushing yourself.
Alongside my Crossfit life, I have the bucket list goal of completing a half marathon so have been reluctantly waking up at 7:00am on Saturday mornings to join my Crossfit family to run. Despite my consistent whining and grumbling about the runs, there is no other group of people I would rather run with, nor would I receive such awesome coaching as I do from Coach Kate. She has so much confidence in her athletes and pushes us weekly to strive for more than we would do for ourselves. My hatred of running has elevated to a slight dislike since she has much more confidence in me than I do for myself. My form has improved significantly and even though I still have the #twomilesuck and my legs never seem to want to cooperate, I almost look forward to the runs each week.
Crossfit is about being prepared for the unknown and the unexpected, so it should not have come as a surprise to me that during one of our weekly WOD classes, the workout of the day was posted and it was a 2 mile run (20:00 cap); preceded by a strength and skill portion of the class to determine your 1RM for heavy back squats (sorry, glutes/legs; I know you were still recovering from pistols earlier in the week). I dreaded going to class and dreaded the run, because no matter how many Saturdays I have run and now matter how much my mile time has already improved in the two months of training, I still struggle with the mental preparation. I rarely run a 10:00/mile, but had a pipe dream or running it so quickly. A friend of mine sent me a multiple motivational pictures and tried to provide some positive thoughts when I was stressing out about this run. While super inspiring and motivating and coming from someone who has a 50-mile run coming up soon, you would think it would be helpful. I kept that in mind as well as a pep talk from a fellow athlete about reciting positive affirmations before and during WODs.
So all I could do was suck it up and run, right? Similar to my #twomilesuck post, this run had the usual mental conversation, which is sadly full of much self-doubt. After I PRed my back squat (whoo!), I was feeling good, but still not looking forward to the run. Our 2 mile route had the 1-mile point back at the box where our coach gave us our split time before we continued on. I ended up running the first mile just over 9:00, which is the second fastest mile I have ever run. I should be ecstatic, right? Optimistic, hopeful, positive?
Nope.. I felt defeated, just as nearly ever other training run lately. I turned around to start the second mile and just when I was out of the coach’s eye, I walked. I gave myself a minute to breathe as I knew I pushed hard for that first mile so likely just went out too fast. I started jogging again and seeing not one other athlete within my sight (speed demons..) I instantly put negative thoughts into my head.
I think about how even though I can run a mile (and heck, I can, and did, run 6), two miles is HARD. I love the quote that things don’t get easier, you just get better. But I still feel so many times I am not getting better.
Knowing that negative thoughts were not going to make the next 11:30 of my life any easier, I tried to push the negative thoughts out and shift focus. On the second mile of the two-mile run, I told myself I am strong, I am confident, I can run a freaking mile, I can out-lift most girls my age, I look and feel awesome, and then I walked. And then I cried.
This isn’t the first time this has happened to me. It is almost as if I have some sort of exercise-induced anxiety attack and then I just cry. While it has happened a few times before during a WOD, it has happened nearly every time I ran in the past few weeks. I get so full of self-doubt about this upcoming half marathon and just freak myself out. I think I imagine injuries and pain that isn’t there; things I would normally push through otherwise but because it is running, I just have it in my head that I can’t do it. I follow countless bloggers who have inspiring stories of couch-to-half-marathon type plans; so many runners hitting their longest runs ever as they train for upcoming half- and full-marathons. And here am I, feeling fit and athletic in every aspect of my life, crying at 1.25 miles in to a 2 mile run. I was supposed to do Tough Mudder this weekend with some girlfriends out-of-state, but I canceled because I was not only terrified of the race itself, but also of the mental and emotional pressure. If a road race is scaring me, I know I am not quite ready for an obstacle race of that distance!
I managed to finish this run in under 20:00 (RunKeeper counted 1.94 miles, but since I stayed on the road and my RunKeeper map had some off-roading lines, I am pretty sure now that I made 2.00 miles).
2 miles or not, in 8 weeks I am supposed to complete a half-marathon. That’s 13.1 miles.
Yet on every run of much shorter distance, I struggling mentally to push myself through it, which makes it even more discouraging to think I will ever be able to complete the half. I run. I get frustrated. I cry. I get more frustrated.
Why is it so much easier for me to push through WODs and have the mental strength to finish every workout yet when I run, I cannot get into that same mentality?
Perhaps because I am not following a traditional training plan, I am suffering. I opted to keep my Crossfit schedule of 3-4 WOD classes per week, plus at least one Crossfit Endurance class, plus a long run on the weekend (often followed by a team WOD)..
There are three days left of registration for half, so likely three days left to transfer registration..
Will this feeling eventually just go away?
I feel so strong and positive so often, until I run.
Do I need to listen to countless motivational videos and inspiring stories to help me believe in myself?
I really cannot explain it and really do not know how to overcome it!
8 weeks to go.. help! 🙂