All things are relative, right?
For me, "letting it rip" is probably for others a nice comfortable jog. But, the beauty of running is that you only compete against yourself and the stop watch. Or don't "compete" at all and just enjoy the activity. Unfortunately, I was born with this innate desire to crush my opponents (in this case, the stop watch) whenever I participate in a sport despite my complete lack of extraordinary physical attributes (i.e. height, weight, bicep bulging vein popping muscles).
I'm a not quite 6 foot tall, 160 pound, skinny dude with marginal jumping, running, and throwing skills who seeks to dominate 6'10" behemoths with exceptional strength, quickness, and ability to feast on used automobile parts. (editor's note: no, this is not a personal ad) You can see where that gets me. A lifetime of futility.
However, the stop watch? Ha! Puny little thing...sits there and ticks all day. Can't stop ticking, can you? I can and will beat you. Nay, destroy you. I will crush you with the heel of my foot if you bother to tick at me the wrong way.
Russ's response to my last post got me thinking again about what I really enjoy about running. Frankly, I enjoy the competition with myself. I enjoy going after PR's. In a weird way, after obtaining the BQ, I think I started to force myself to be happy just participating in the races. I lost my motivation (henceforth referred to as "mojo"). What drives me is the chase to obtain my goal. I had stopped setting a goal. Inadvertently, I had removed the spirit of competition - the very thing driving me - from the events. So, the races have turned into long training runs based solely on reaching the finish regardless of time. That's simply not me.
I know many others really enjoy the pursuit of the finish line without concern with time. I am not one of them. I really wish it were so. I tried to force it that way but it is simply not the case.
So, I am going to actively set time goals again and pursue them diligently. I may or may not reach them. I'll enjoy the chase however. I guess I would rather feel a bit tired, potentially disappointed, and, possibly, injured aggressively pursuing my goal rather than running defensively (i.e. running to NOT get hurt but cross the finish line). This is my choice recognizing the potential obstacles that exist.
To that end, I let 'er rip last night. I haven't gone hard in a really long time...several months in fact. I've been content with building mileage for the Goofy Challenge with little regard to speed. It felt great to sustain a LT run for a bit. And it also showed I have a little work to do to get back to BQ shape.
First step towards regaining the mojo. It felt great.