In ten days I will run my first trail 25k. And I’m not afraid. In retrospect, I wish I would have found myself here sooner.
Like walking past that cupcake a hundred times before losing all your self control and jamming the whole thing down your windpipe, the woods have been calling out to me for some time. I tried to stifle my urge to get out there, my inner voice saying “you mustn’t run! You will become weak! You will become fat! You are a terrible runner and so you just should not do it!” Now that I’m here I don’t think in terms of weak and strong, fat and thin, can and can’t, but instead “Where are we going today?” It might take us a long time, or maybe not.
In ten days I will be scratching my itch to go somewhere, I will be eating that giant sprinkle covered cupcake with reckless abandon as I scale 15.53 miles of backwoods trails with my only hope being that it’s as good as I envision. The countdown is on, and I cannot wait.
Just one of those days…
Sometimes I fall out of love with running. Between aches, the urge to roll back over in my warm comfy bed, and months of stagnant progress, it’s not hard to do. But days like today, when the weather is perfect, the trail is mellow, and the stars are aligned, I’m right back in love. Two podcasts, a dead cellphone, and 15 miles later, life is good, and this accomplishment and inspiration will resonate throughout my whole day.
The Sucky Runner in Me
So, I had an epiphany the other day, one that changed my whole mindset on my quest for 30, as well as my approach to running in general.
Most basically, it is that, as a runner, I suck.
I don’t suck at running itself. At least, I don’t suck compared to how badly I used to be at it. I don’t hate it. I find it relaxing. I like hills and crappy terrain and the occasional shoe soaking that happens on the trails. Even when I’m running as fast and hard as I can and I still am slower and not as far away as I would like to be, I still feel accomplished when all is said and done.
The only time I hate running is when I HAVE to run. When I’m armed with a bullet proof training plan that will deliver me my goals on a silver platter, running goes from FREEDOM to FML.
Hence, I am a sucky runner in that I don’t want to do the things I need to do to be better at it.
When I get into a training plan, it always seems like 2 things happen. One being work starts blowing up. The other seems like the weather turns to crap. Call me an asshat, but I’m not going to go on 3 hours of sleep for a 35 minute tempo run with lightening bolts getting launched at me.
Then it turns into a vicious cycle.
“Well, I skipped yesterday’s run,” I think to myself. So now I’m behind and I might as well just throw today out the window too because what the hell?
Then a rest day pops up. Then it rains again. Then my dogs eat my headphones and I left my shoes outside in the rain. Within the matter of a week I’ve done a handful of hill sprints, a long slow run, and maybe phoned in a little yoga because I felt like my legs were falling out of their sockets from falling asleep on the recliner for the nth night in a row.
All this leaves me wondering – when did this stop being fun? And how am I going to get back there again?
Well, as of today, I threw the plan away. Sure, I have a 25k in less than a month (and a 14k this weekend!). Sure, I could probably be more proactive towards being better prepared, but right now my game plan is being able to cover the distance in a respectable (for me) amount of time. Also, running because I like to do it and want to do it.
I will probably continue being a sucky runner for awhile, but at the core of it all, I’m a lot more than a runner. I’m a business woman, I’m a fiancé, I have two biscuit breathed babies who need to cuddle in the morning, I’m a matriarch to my employees, I have a house to keep. If that means I don’t take my sport seriously enough, then I guess I’m just a big goofy goof ball. But I will be out there on race day, all smiles, because essentially if running is something that I love – then racing is just a natural extension of that, no?
So there you have it… My training plan is to run fast and hard some days, slow and far other days, up hill, downhill, some days not at all, and all days with the joy and peace that comes from doing something that makes me happy. Some days I don’t even bother to bring my GPS along because I just feel like running whatever. And the day that stops working for me… I will bite my tongue and eat my foot, and all those wonderful things, and go back to the drawing board. But until then, I’m cool with being fairly sucky in the name of love.