Monday, November 8, 2010

What Running Means to Me

(Or, why I'm not running the Cowtown Marathon in February).

What running is:

2.) An encouragement. This is not to say that I expect to feel wonderful before, during, and after every run, but the good runs should at least outweigh the bad.

3.) A stress-reliever.

4.) Motivation. At age 25, I'm still young enough to strive for improved times and distances. Running is an activity that drives me toward new personal bests. Training for a race can help me push myself and realize that I'm stronger than I give myself credit for. Like I said, not every run is great, but every time I safely push myself through a bad run, I grow a little stronger mentally and physically.

5.) A reminder to exercise moderation in all things.

6.) A way for me to find a "new normal" that's more healthy and balanced than I have been in the past.

7.) Fun! A race, when you're adequately prepared, is a great celebration of training and hard work.

What running is not:

1.) Punishment. 

2.) A way to "make up" for eating too much the day before.

3.) An "excuse" to binge eat afterward.

4.) Another stressor.

5.) A way to measure myself against anyone else, for better or for worse.

For today's run, I had this quote in mind courtesy of Dale Carnegie: 
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. 
If you want to conquer fear, 
do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”

Last night, I had a really stressful dream in which I kept encountering hurdles that kept me from going on my 13 mile run today. But I did not sleep through my 7am alarm, I did not eat a 5 course breakfast, and there was no snow on the ground (thank goodness)! All of these things happened in my dream, but I woke up feeling okay and the weather was beautiful. I read that quote and realized I just needed to get out and do the darn thing, and I'd feel better about it.

13.1 miles later. (The layers are for my ice bath, not my run in the 60 degree sun!)
That ended up only being part way true. This was a long long run, mentally and physically. I don't doubt that I can finish the Gobbler Grind half marathon in 13 days, but I do have doubts that it's going to be an awesome celebration of my training like my 10k was in September. 

I've really only had 4 "long" runs (over 5 miles) since the 10k: an 8-miler, a 10-miler, a 12-miler, and today's 13.1 miles. I would say that's irresponsible of me, but for the most part my lack of long runs is not due to me just being lazy. Depending on the week, I've been out-of-town, almost-injured, moving, and dealing with asthma

I don't mean to list these as excuses, and I really don't see them as such. Since my goal in becoming a runner is to create a healthy, life-long habit, I have to accept that I'm not always going to run exactly what's on my training plan. In fact, given the circumstances, I'm pretty proud of myself! I have increased my weekly mileage slowly and steadily. I know I'm not over-training. Yet I don't sleep well at night, I don't recover quickly, and I feel like I'm getting slower. I don't know if it's the weather, the new apartment, or what, but my asthma has been getting worse again and it's time to pay a visit to the doctor and figure out what's going on.

I really didn't mean for this to be another self-indulgent post. I guess typing this out helps me organize my thoughts, though. Today's run was only 1 mile longer than last week's long run, but it took me 20 more minutes to finish! That's actually not bad considering I had to resort to a run 5 minutes/walk 5 minutes the last 5 miles because I couldn't catch my breath.

I still plan on running 26 miles to celebrate my 26th birthday! The race will probably just be closer to home and closer to my actual birthday. I need a few good months of healthy running before launching into a marathon training plan.

Something for me to think about: There once was a man who cried because he had no shoes, until he met a man who had no feet.

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