>> Friday, June 25, 2010
I realized the other night that it's been seven years since my first road race, a 5K on a steamy mid-June evening in 2003. Wow. Seven years of racing under my belt . . . and eight years since I started running regularly. For someone from a previous background relatively void of physical activity, this feels like a tremendous accomplishment.
Here's me at my first race. I finished in 25:30. I loved every minute of it.
So, seven years. Am I now bored with running and racing? Nope. Our relationship is stronger than ever. And that's because we keep it interesting.
How, you ask?
I try my best to avoid falling into a rut. So, I vary my training from week to week. Running the same mileage would be dull and boring. Not only for my mind, but for my body. I also mix up my goals from season to season. Having a marathon goal in the fall, several half marathons in the spring, and then 5K and 10K races in the winter and summer months means different training and different intensities year-round. So, falling into a rut isn't really a concern. The frequent training plan changes keep the passion alive.
I celebrate our love. I take the time to really think about what running has done for me. It keeps me fit and healthy. It keeps me sane. It allows me to enjoy a ton of food :) There are so many reasons I love running, so I try to devote at least a few seconds each run to reminding myself of my affection.
I recognize that from time to time, I need my space. Yeah. Even the best of relationships have their issues. Whether it be injury or mental burnout, a necessary shift in priorities or a multitude of other things -- there are times when I just need a break. So, there are at least a couple weeks a year when I take it totally easy or even totally OFF from running. Though it may be difficult to stay away, the break allows me to refresh and remember why I love running so much to begin with.
I invest in our relationship. To me, racing is like going on a date with running. We set a time and a place, I get dressed up, there are drinks and food, and we ultimately share an intense experience together (kind of like making out? OK. I need to stop this analogy now . . . ). And sometimes it's fun to take these dates to exotic locations -- romantic getaways, if you will. Like Lake Placid. Or the city of brotherly love (well, Philly isn't terribly exotic, but you get my point!). Whatever keeps me pounding my feet on the pavement.
I experiment with new things. Yeah. That's right -- sometimes I get kinky. I make it a threesome and run with my husband, too. I try new routes in new cities or other locations I've never tried before. I sport a new bra, running skirt, or shoe. Basically, I keep an open mind to new things that might enliven or enhance my running. Sometimes all I need are a pair of new socks to get my sweat flowing.
I don't make running my entire life. I don't run and only run. It's not the only thing I do. Just like when you're in a relationship -- you need outside interests so that person isn't your entire world. So, I add in a little yoga or cycling to turn up the heat. I cook and bake. I take photos. I embroider and do other crafty things. I read magazines about topics that aren't related to running. I hang out with friends and family. I (very often) go out to eat. I try my best to make myself a well-rounded person, which -- in turn -- helps me keep my relationship with running strong.
Here's to another seven (and hopefully seventy!) years of running! And if you're looking to start your own relationship with running, we have a ton of posts that can help. Just head over to our running tips and tricks page!
And we just have to ask! How do you keep the fire burning for your favorite fitness activity? Please leave a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com. I'd even like to make this interesting. So, if you'd like to email us a photo of yourself running (or biking or dancing or doing whatever it is you to do stay fit) and tell us your top way to keep the romance alive, we'll post them here on the blog!
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