Wednesday, November 6, 2013

What I Learned About Running from Not Running

After MCM, I took a nine-day hiatus from running. The last time I took that much time off from running was after the NYC Marathon in 2011. Prior to my break, I had these grandiose thoughts that this break would be glorious and that I'd be able to accomplish all these things that I put off during my training.

In reality, it was not as glorious. I grew antsy and started itching for a run. I grew slightly irritable, despite doing other forms of cardio. (I say slightly because I noticed it, but nobody else commented on it. Maybe I just need some brutally honest friends up here.) And then it dawned on me. I think I just missed running. After 16 weeks of training, not running just feels odd. Every time I'd see someone running outside or on the treadmill, I'd wish that I were running. Seeing others running just reminded me that I was on a forced break, and though I knew that I needed that break to help with recovery, I didn't want to be reminded of it. During my training, I griped about having to run and didn't want to do it some of the time. And when I was on break, I griped about not being able to run. Ultimately, I suppose I have a love-hate relationship with running.

Running seems like one of those family members you see for a couple multi-day spans every year. You seem to get annoyed by them when you're with them, but you miss them when they're gone. (Okay, that's probably one of the worst analogies ever, but you get the idea.)


Speaking of being annoyed, it seemed like everyone assumed that I had/have races coming up on my calendar. What makes you think that anything is next? Because you know me to be kind of obsessed with the sport?

As strange as it sounds, nothing is next at the moment. However, I'd be lying if I said I weren't thinking about my next move. I’m thinking of doing a 5K in December, the Shamrock Run in March, and a half-marathon in the spring, but I haven’t signed up for any of them yet. I’m also thinking about a late spring/summer marathon. A few ideas: BMO Vancouver Marathon (5/4); Newport, OR Marathon (5/31); Santa Rosa Marathon (8/24). (I welcome other suggestions too!) I’m forcing myself to wait a few more weeks before signing up for one. I’d rather not fall into my usual cycle of “training, off-season running, training, off-season running.” That’s probably how I ended up burnt out in the first place.

A couple of friends have even asked about the sub-3 marathon. To them, that seems like the next natural goal after breaking 3:05. Without a doubt, that's my next goal. (It's actually been on my list of running goals since before I broke 3:20.) Does the thought of running a 2:xx marathon scare me? OH YEAH. But does the thought fire me up and make me want to sign up for a race and resume training? You bet your lucky stars it does!

I ended my break last night with a 6M run. The first three miles were ~7:45/mi, and the last three were ~7:15/mi. Chalk it up to nine days of pent-up desires to run, or simply good fitness. Whatever the reason may be, I'm pleased with it, and I'll take it as a confidence booster.

Whenever I start training, I think I need to print this and hang it on my fridge to serve as a reminder/motivation to do my workouts.

Have you signed up for any races yet for 2014? If so, what? And would you mind a slightly nutty Oregonian crashing your race party joining you?