Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Let 'Er Rip

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.

3.29 miles
22:32 time
6:51/mile

First step towards regaining the mojo. It felt great.

Happy trails.

6 comments:

Doug said...

I have to say I'm the same way in terms of competition; gotta have it! It feels great to be back from injury and actual ABLE to push my limits again.

Although a stopwatch can be a good method to compare today's self to yesterday's, I'm have to retort one of your points with a quote:

"You don’t run against a bloody stop watch, do you hear? A runner runs against himself, against the best that’s in him. Not against a dead thing of wheels and pulleys. That’s the way to be great, running against yourself. Against all the rotten mess in the world. Against God, if you’re good enough."
- Bill Persons

Mir said...

It's definitely letting 'er rip to me! :)

How is Don Quixote going for you? I finally finished it last week. I enjoyed it, and now I can use quixotic in a sentence!

Russ said...

hmmm...i guess that's not exactly what i had in mind...the point that i was trying to get across was if you are not having fun doing something, you need to reevaluate why you are doing it...so i guess in a round about way you took my advice...

for me, i've had to fight my urges to set aggressive goals based on what i know is my natural talent...i need to first spend a couple years getting my fitness back and also dropping down some weight a BQ marathon would be a lot easier if i wasn't tipping the scales at 205

how is the gordon ramsay book....i think a lot of people get turned off my the @#$%ing language, but don't realize he is one of the best chefs in the entire world.

glad to see you have your mojo back

nwgdc said...

Great post! I know my "mojo" is directly linked to a BQ and I haven't given all that much thought to what happens after...besides trying a 50 miler, of course...

sRod said...

Have you thought about cutting down your race schedule in order to be better able to focus on PRs?

aham23 said...

i miss the mojo. i hope you find yours!! later.