Running These Days

>> Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I know some of you are probably wondering if running will ever make much of a comeback on this site. The answer is yes . . . and no. When I started writing, I was in the thick of my craziest high-frequency racing phase. We would spend most weekends running local events and sign up for all sorts of bigger races up to the marathon distance. I probably used to do 20 some races a year, and I loved every minute of it. Because I had lots of minutes to spend.

After we had Ada, a lot of things changed both with circumstances and mindset. We aren’t able to travel as frequently, sleep is sometimes elusive, and money is tighter for extras. Stephen still kills it at lots of races near and far. And I, too, started out getting into running and racing again less than two months postpartum -- a 10K in 51:25. Stephen lapped me that day. Jerk.

I tried continuing my usual pace with racing for that whole first year, often pumping and dumping before the start, doing long runs during naps, and otherwise finding all the time I needed to get back out there. I did a solid job. But somewhere along the way it stopped being as important to me. And I don’t consider that defeat.

What’s funny is that nothing with my training frequency has really changed. I still run just as many miles as I used to, depending on the season. Granted, I’ve scaled back a bit recently while we’re TTC and plan to treat running much differently in pregnancy #2. But I had been running 30+ miles a week, which is pretty normal for me. I still keep up with a few key events and try to run at least two half marathon races a year to keep my motivation up. I’m still PRing most every time I lace up, but the act of racing itself holds little excitement for me anymore.

You could say my running is silent, but not stagnant.

And I sort of like it this way. Whereas I used to track my times and blurt it out for everyone to see, I’m hugely content heading out sans watch and not even tracking my mileage for any given week. I have a loose training diary online, but I keep forgetting to enter data into it. I know I’m keeping up, and that’s really all I need at this point. Running gives me something big . . . but it’s far different than it used to be. A healthy body, yes, some times to feel good about, too, but the mental and spiritual aspects are much more important these days.

So, if you’re like me and you run a blisteringly fast 10-miler but no one is there to see your time or plot your route, it’s just as important. It still happened. You’re just as much a runner if you’re not out there pounding the pavement every weekend and pinning countless race bibs onto your tech shirts. To me, running is all about me -- my journey apart from anyone else's. It gives me time to think. Time to celebrate myself and my physical accomplishments.

Yay, me!

I have this strong sense of security by now that I’ll have running with me for life, barring any physical ailments. I don’t know if I felt that way back when I was racing all the time. I want to keep a steady stride into the next several phases of my life, and I think evolving my way of thinking about the sport is all a part of that. Or maybe I’m just soft and have lost my competitive spirit.

Whatever the case, I’m extremely happy and moving my body. I feel good in my body -- head, heart, and bones. I’d say those far less tangible prizes are better than more race metals cluttering my closets! And who knows, maybe the tide will change and I’ll go crazy racer again. I’m up for anything so long as I’m still running.

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