As you may have noticed, I have checked out on the running thing lately. For two reasons. One, I have reconciled with the fact that this parenting thing is fleeting, as evidenced by the kid that I birthed who is now in his second year of college and doing FINE without me. (Believe me, I don’t take this for granted.)
My middle son now has one foot out the door, as he is beginning the search for the college where he will land in a short while.
And then I have my youngest, who is still okay hanging out and watching Olive Stone’s The Untold History of the United States with me.
I have been quite careful in taking the time to soak all of this up, and therefore not get too crazy with selfish and time-consuming tasks, like training for marathons.
Running hasn’t been the escape for me that it used to be. During the darker days, I would run just to get away from home for a while. I needed to catch my breath, and the best way to do that, apparently, was to run until I was out of it.
I’ve had to do some soul searching, to figure out if goal setting and racing still makes sense to me, if it still has a spot to fill in my life.
Anyway, the second reason that I have been checked out of running, so to speak, is that I have been afraid to fly. The two injuries that I suffered over the summer were, in hindsight, beneficial (I hate that!). I learned that I was human, and I learned that my body needs more strength work and more rest.
But a side effect of those lessons, unfortunately, is that I literally began to fear running. I did it, yes, but I was terrified of getting hurt again. I would cut runs short if I felt fatigued, I would skip workouts if I didn’t feel 100 percent, and I ran all of my miles far too easily. In addition, I was also ashamed of my fitness level.
Through it all, I continued to coach athletes of all ages, and in a way, I lived through them.
A few weeks ago, I ran across this workout and post from Julia Webb on Instagram.
I realized that my attitude toward my fitness level was horrific, and that there was nothing more intimidating to me, in my current state, than speed work.
I often tell athletes that the workouts that scare us the most, the ones we hate, are the ones we need the most. Our weaknesses are exposed, and we are forced to deal with them; consequently, we improve.
It’s so easy to fly through a workouts that emphasize our strengths. But heading out to run a measured distance when our fitness level is feeling a bit shameful? Nothing worse for a runner.
The first time I attempted the above workout, I made it through first 200. (I was also pressed for time, but believe me when I tell you, those 200’s were not happening.)
Today, armed with two girlfriends, I finished the workout.
The paces weren’t too bad.
I may need to take two days of easy running to recover from it, but I did it.
And I left it feeling a slight craving to race.
That feels good.