Over the past few months of training for Boston, I've learned a lot about running, training, and racing. It's not my first time running a marathon, obviously, but it's my first time to "properly" train for one. By properly I mean having a plan, following a plan, and sticking to each specific workouts like intervals, tempo, long, and recovery runs. As I'm writing this (4.10), the result of my training is unknown. What I do know is that it has been a wonderful journey with equally wonderful people. I've learned to be (somewhat) disciplined, to run with less fear, and to trust my coach. Let me unpack each one.
It all begins with having Jamey Yon as my coach. He's a former pro, a humble athlete with tremendous talent and achievement, hardworking, a father of five, a faithful Christian, a knowledgeable and caring coach...all in all a great human being. When he started to write my training plan for Boston, the first thing he said was, "You need consistency." Knowing that it's always been something I lack, I took it to heart. Since January, I started dragging myself out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to run with the TRi-Yon Team in Freedom Park area every Monday and Wednesday. Getting up never gets easier, especially in 27-degree weather. But gradually, seeing the team becomes a habit of mine and these 5:30 a.m. workouts become something I look forward to. I'm especially thankful for a couple of people that I get to know more and I love chasing them around. Though I think I'm going to revert back to winging my training after Boston - at least for a short period of time - this bit of consistency/discipline is something I'd preserve.
I hate speed work; but it'd be more appropriate to say that I am afraid of running uncomfortable. As humans, it's our tendency to avoid pain and pursue pleasure. (Yes, I'm blaming it on simply being human.) I've read that our brain tells us to stay still out of self-preservation, which explains our laziness. Running and running hard defy that. I've grown to appreciate intervals and threshold runs a little more now with the TY team who suffers with me and pushes me. There are moments I remember distinctly that I have to tell myself not to fear the forthcoming agony and let my legs go without limiting myself within the comfortable zone. I call it finding peace in the midst of agony. C'est la vie.
Beside the fear of being uncomfortable, there's a deeper fear that I've come to face. I am afraid of disappointment. What if my fast is not fast enough? What if I couldn't run what I think I could? And what my coach thinks I could? Sometimes it paralyzes me to even having a goal. This, I'm still learning... With that said, I haven't commit myself to a time at Boston though I have some expectations. The thought of pushing my pace (even a little) for 26.2 miles turns my stomach. "Grow into the workout," Jamey likes to tell us. I'll let myself go by how I feel and hopefully "grow into" the race.
Lastly, trusting my coach and the training we've put into the race. There are so many variables at a race and I could only put my faith into the fact that my training so far will bring me through the miles. I'm relatively new to running and could only trust someone more knowledgeable, who is my coach Jamey. Ultimately, I trust the Coach up there who has gifted me (and us) an amazing body to do incredible things. Sometimes I feel that chasing after a time is vanity, but not if it is a celebration and testimony to virtues, discipline, and His creation. He deserves all the glory.