Hello again! I don’t quite remember where I left off last but I know it’s been a while. Well, there was that crazy mile I jumped into a few weeks ago. And there were a couple 50 mile weeks post-Columbus Half that were solid. But in between the quality, there was also defeat.
It’s not the snow. Yes, I typically can’t stand running in the snow. But after running all of my runs this week in the fluffy white stuff, both during the day and at night, I realized there’s something warm and bright about nature’s pillow.
It’s not my gloves. Yes, I finally realized that mittens, fleece-lined ones at that, are almost 100% guaranteed to keep your hands warm at all times on the run. So far, I’ve had no close calls with hypothermia post-run.
It’s not even running itself. In fact, I’ve found that when I decided to throw the watch (and training plan) out the window, again, I’ve had more inner peace. This was not an easy decision, though, seeing as I have a wonderful coach who puts up with a fair share of our injuries, life debacles, and disagreements.
But I’m not an elite runner. I’m not even close. If I was two minutes faster, I might be on the cusp of becoming decently fast, yes. But still not even close. When I began questioning why I even run, something had to be done. Because I’ve invested more money, time, and energy into my degrees than I have running, the choice was quite easy.
My full time job kept getting more challenging and rewarding while running was starting to feel more like a second job, a job I didn’t look forward to going to anymore. I wasn’t even doing that much work compared to the sub-elite training group I have the privilege of joining at the track each week. Yet, I knew what was going on. I was trying too hard to be one of them when the reality is, I’m not (yet) cut out to train heavy, especially when my heart is somewhere else.
Biggest lesson in 2012? You don’t have to be fast to be a runner. Or even a fan of the sport!
I haven’t done a single track workout or tempo in two weeks. I did a long run last week, a classic hour and forty-five minute run with James and our friend, sharing conversation. And this entire week has been filled with beautiful runs in the snow. I like running again.
Monday: 6.5 miles at night with James after lots of holiday eating. I thought it would affect my run in a bad way but it actually made it feel effortless somehow!
Tuesday: 5 miles at night with another stuffed belly. And still feeling effortless!
Wednesday: 5.5 miles during our baby blizzard. No one was out and roads weren’t plowed yet so it made for a great surface.
Thursday: 4.5 miles at night, solo.
Friday: 4.5 miles in the morning with James.
Saturday: 6 hilly miles around the neighborhood with a nice pick up at the end. It could have been 8 minute pace. It could have been 6 minute pace. Oh, the mystery!
Sunday: 6 miles total. 1.5 with James for the start of his long run but then went into support mode and drove along side him for the rest because I wasn’t feeling good. Ran 4.5 miles later in the day after refueling and drinking coffee.
Total: 38 miles
So what does 2013 hold? For now, I’m going to continue running for fun and for stress relief. As the seasons change, I’m sure I will naturally want to run even more miles but I’m not going to worry about that right now. I also have a marathon in the Fall and you better believe it, training for that has been on my mind. But with my current hands-off approach, I believe that just running base miles will take care of a bulk of the work and allow me to run an enjoyable marathon (oxymoron, right?). Coach and I will still work together and he offered the suggestion of helping him time his athletes at practice and possibly act as a team manager.
Lastly, I am running a 5k tomorrow. One last chance to officially break 22, right? I guess we’ll see. It surely would make for a great story. But part of me does not even want to race it while the other part (my legs in particular) have felt fresh all week. I know the fitness is there to break 22. But is the heart? I shall take this internal battle with me into 2013.
Here’s to a Happy New Year, everyone!