Remember how I freaked out there for a minute after Henry went to rehab and agreed to run a half marathon? Yeah… that happened.
It’s still two months away, and it’s probably a good thing that I entered it because otherwise I doubt I’d still be running much. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely needed the exercise. I’m stronger than I was before, and I’ve lost a little bit of weight (kind of. if you squint.). I’ve always had a huge mental block with running; I just don’t like it. Even when I was heavy duty into triathlons the running part was still like torture. Swimming, awesome. Cycling, even better. Running? Just effin’ kill me. So this time around I’ve tried a different approach – keeping it casual.
First: the schedule. I’ve been sticking mostly to a 3x per week schedule, trying to avoid running two days in a row. I need that day off in between so that it doesn’t start feeling like a job, and it helps keep my compartment syndrome in check. Sometimes I run 4 days a week, if I had to cut one short because of time or something, but 3 has been pretty standard. I do two weekday morning runs that are 3 miles (aka 2 cupcakes), and then I do a long run on a weekend morning. Right now the long run is at 6 miles (aka 5 cupcakes).
The second vital part: I don’t track my pace… I have a few set routes that I know the distance of (a couple different 3 mile loops, and a 6 mile loop), but I don’t turn on runkeeper or mapmyrun to track it. I just can’t. I’m so overly competitive (yes, even with myself) that I have the most amazing ability to take the fun out of literally everything. And there’s already basically no fun to be had in running. I know how long each run is taking me anyway, total minutes-wise, so it’s not rocket science to have a decent idea of what my pace is. I’m not worrying about negative splits or heartrate or any of that other overly analytical crap though… I just run however the hell I feel like running in the moment. It’s liberating.
And the last, but equally vital piece: I run alone, in private. I’m up early so that I can run in the dark, before dawn, just me and our big black dog. I don’t want people looking at me, I don’t want to be forced to make eye contact and say good morning to anyone, I don’t want to talk to anyone, and I sure as hell don’t want to run with anyone. Leave me alone to suffer in peace with Twenty One Pilots and Bastille, please. I need to pretend like I still have some damn dignity.
I burned myself out on all this stuff when I was doing triathlons, making myself crazy with my obsession with the numbers. Always trying to be faster and faster and faster. At the end of the day though, running isn’t my number one thing, I’m not that good at it, and I don’t particularly care that much. My new approach is a little bit unconventional but it seems to be working so far, since I’ve actually managed to keep up with it and don’t hate it yet.
I do think that it’s helped my riding though, especially while Henry has been recuperating. I’m still strong and reasonably fit, which has definitely helped. Will I actually keep running after the half is over? Who knows… we’ll see what happens in the next couple months…