I went for a run at the arboretum today. I started out hoping for just 30 minutes of walking. I was walking along a small trail that is sheltered by trees, looping around and around and around until I was dizzy.
I looked at my Garmin and it said .30 miles. Isn't it always like that? A watched pot never boils and all that. My compulsion kicked in about then, so I decided to branch out, so I headed up an exit trail into the main part of the arboretum for a longer trail.
That's when I saw a woman coming out of the trails area.
She wiped her nose on her sleeve and had a familiar hunch to her shoulders as she walked along the grass. I felt the familiar stabby feeling I get when I see other people run. I thought, "She just ran the trails" and my compulsion went wild. Insanely running, hands flapping, eyes rolling, the people who talk to me in my head screamed that I should run, too.
I've been trying to run while I've been in Dayton. It's been three weeks. I had loads of possibilities in mind.
I've run three times. Three. I'm pretty disappointed in that. It's been cold, it snowed, it rained, it's too windy...the only legitimate excuses I've had is that I've been seriously tired and my mom needed me. Otherwise, I've just been whiny about it.
But every time I've run, I've overdone it. I haven't run more than three miles at a time. How am I overdoing it? So frustrating.
It wasn't until today, for crying out loud, that I realized I have been trying to run a 10-minute mile even though I've been "on a break" and really there's no such thing as a break for a runner. You're either running or you're not running. And let's face it, I've been not running and doing a lot of it.
I began to walk (brisk) and I ran (sloppy) and I walked (b) and I ran (s). As I was becoming more frustrated, I decided to walk and contemplate my future. I even had the grim realization that maybe I'm past it and I will walk the Air Force and Des Moines half marathons this fall.
I hope to someday
mock myself have a hearty laugh over the "past it" comment.
Then I think something came to my mind. Something happened, anyway. I remembered how ugly things were when I began training last summer. I started from nothing due to my
laziness overeating foot pain. I started out last August doing 12-minute miles! What in the world is wrong with me thinking I should run 10 or better now, in April? I haven't done much running since November, after all.
After my epiphany, I started to run. I paced myself. I put one foot in front of the other at a plodding pace.
It felt wonderful. I ran and I ran and I ran. It felt like it did during the half in October. It felt like I had a pace, I had mojo and I could keep on going. That's the feeling I enjoy. I want to run fast, but I want that feeling more, much more.
I just can't find that feeling at 10 minutes. Not now, not yet. But I will.
I had reread an article from Running Magazine earlier in the week. I've included a paragraph below. I read this paragraph three times.
Perhaps it sunk in today.
by Marc Parent (excerpt, emphasis mine)Far worse than having to admit to this hiatus is having to admit how painless it was. I wish I could honestly say I missed it (running) more than I actually did, but not running for three weeks was the easiest three weeks of my running life. It wasn't the best three weeks, but it was the easiest. The worst thing about a three-week break is not that it feels like quitting, it's that it feels like you've already quit. Three weeks is not a break. Three weeks means that if you do decide to run, you won't return to it as much as start it again, which makes it all the more difficult to go back. I imagine quitting a sedentary lifestyle is probably a lot like quitting smoking or drinking or any other unhealthy thing, in that the failures are indelibly embedded into the eventual success. The good news in that endeavor is that you don't have to avoid every setback, you only have to succeed one more time than you fail.