I've volunteered at a few races and I had a blast. But I didn't have the need to run them. Didn't feel the least bit weird about not running them. I've been running. About 30 miles a week, which for me, isn't too far off peak mileage. My long runs haven't been too long. But I've had a few 13+ runs, so what gives?
I mean my runs sometimes just turn into a walk. Not a power hike, just a walk. And I have to remind myself that it's ok if it needs to be a walk. Because I get that macho voice in my head telling me I'm doing it wrong. There's no wrong. I'm a grownup, I can do what I want to! But if I just want to walk and run a little, am I still running? Am I still a runner? Do I even care anymore?
I've felt disconnected. From racing, from running, and from myself some. I met with a doctor a few weeks ago for some blood work HOPING that there's some "thing" wrong with me. Like, can't all these symptoms add up to SOMETHING? Something other than, well you're almost 40 and you know.... Yes, yes I know. But why does everything feel so "off" and it has for months.
I did a race last weekend. A ten hour loopy thing. You know, run as much as you want kind of thing. For some reason the lack of mileage rules and casualness was appealing. I went into it cautiously excited but also terrified. Because, if I don't want to run a bunch, have I failed? I was greeted with 75-80+ degree weather and 75-100% humidity. It was awful. I felt sick, I took naps, I walked…. A lot. In the end, I got 19.5 miles officially (because 20 would be ridiculous) in a ten hour race. Granted, I slept for at least 3 hours of the race, but to say this was disappointing would be a massive understatement.
It’s funny, this month I actually had a blurb from a blog post I wrote about being in last place at a race published in Runner’s World. RUNNER’S WORLD! My words! In print! I should be on top of the world. Instead, I am published in Runner’s World, and I’ve never felt like less of a runner since I started running.
A few years ago, a friend of mine did a mile time trial with my running group. I didn’t go to it for many reasons, one of them being that I’m not fast and I didn’t want that to be put on display. She and I were talking about it and she had a lot of the same thoughts going in, but she said everyone in the group was so sweet and encouraging. And it turns out the only person being an asshole to her about her speed and ability….. was her. We are the biggest assholes to ourselves… every time.
Maybe it’s time for me to reassess my running goals for the year. Maybe it’s time to stop worrying about mileage and time and start focusing on not being such an asshole to myself. Maybe it’s time to start working on being grateful for the runs I have, even when they’re more of a walk.
I suppose it’s just a different type of training.