My run coach, one of my favorite bloggers and all around amazing person has embarked on a 30-day writing challenge. I have made no secret that in another life, I would be a writer (or professional reader – maybe both?) – so maybe it’s time to flex those muscles a bit more.
It’ll be no surprise to anyone that my first post is running related. I want to talk about where I am with running right now, and my mixed emotions. I’m coming out the other side of a mild Chicago winter (well, mild by Chicago’s standards, even though it snowed today). I’ve run more this winter than the last two winters combined, and yet I’m feeling less motivated going into running season than I have since moving back to Chicago in 2014.
The previous two winters, my running hiatus has been somewhat self-imposed. I had come off a hectic fall and marathon training, respectively, and needed to step away from the pressure of running perfectly all the time. It worked. By March, I was chomping at the bit to get back out there – and have run two marathons since, getting faster and faster the older I get.
The downfall of that approach is that I often feel like I’m starting from scratch come March. To train safely, I have to start with looooooooowwww mileage, and increase it gradually. I had to do all the work I had already done again and again.
This winter, I cut back my training/runs significantly. Didn’t sweat it if I took a week off. Used my treadmill more than I have in the last 4 years. My mood this winter was noticeably better than previous winters. There were some winter blues (mostly election related), but on the whole I avoided the mild seasonal affective disorder I’ve experienced from time to time.
But I miss that feeling of chomping at the bit to get back there. Since I’ve had some more consistency this winter, I haven’t craved running like I did last year – because it’s always been with me. When training kicks up in the next few weeks, I’m just continuing to run. And weirdly, this is impacting my motivation.
I have never regretted a run in my life (well, except for the training run that injured my IT band, which caused me to DNF the Austin Marathon in 2010… those were two shitty runs). Even if I can barely walk after an 18-20 miler. I feel better, stronger and clearer than I did before I started. I do my best thinking when I’m running, which a lot of times is no thinking at all.
Today, I flew away from a snowy city to Albuquerque for a work event. I unexpectedly had 90 minutes to kill this afternoon before a client dinner. I was not expecting to run today and was mentally preparing to do it tomorrow. I don’t know if it was the thin air, beautiful setting or warm weather – but I was chomping at the bit to get out there. And I did!