(You will not find a Dave Matthews reference here. The post title is just a coincidence with his song title. I retain original rights to the concept. Sue me.)
I’ve been reading about lack of motivation on several blogs lately. It’s viral. It’s sweeping the running blogs like STD’s in a retirement village. What’s the deal? What happened to your motivation? Don’t you have a race on the schedule or something?
Apparently not. At least, the common theme I see falls into one of two categories:
(1) No race planned yet or
(2) Race planned but don’t really care to train that hard for it (i.e. bored with it.)
Now, don’t leave it up to me to supply motivation. I’m the over-the-counter antidote to motivation. I’m De-motivation served in a chiseled, rugged, broad shouldered bottle. When a doctor recommends me for Acute Motivation Overabundance, he says "take two and then… relax with a cigarette." When my filly asks if our puppy is the cutest in the world, I respond with "She’s cute but I’ve seen better." When my colt approaches with those eager, hoping-for-approval eyes after he finishes 4th in a mile race, I tell him "Good job…but those three kids over there did a GREAT job."
I don’t like to be a wet blanket. I don’t even want to be a dry blanket. Heck, who wants to be a blanket of any degree of moisture? I just don’t want excuses. Recently, my colt has been complaining of pain near his left ankle. He just started in with spring soccer as well as the school’s Mileage Club (running laps around the school during lunch recess.) The pain isn’t going away. He might have a stress fracture. We are keeping an eye on it but, for now, he must continue to participate. The way I see it, you either have a fracture or you don’t. “Stress” is just a qualifier for “fracture.” I don’t like to equivocate. Either it’s fractured or it’s not. Many times, I overhear people talking about me and asking if I’m “mildly retarded.” Don’t qualify it. Either say I’m retarded…or not.
Motivation. I guess it comes down to why we run in the first place. Do you run to satiate your competitive drive…to secure PR’s…to challenge for race awards? Do you run for general fitness or fun? Do you run to calm the voices in your head that keeps telling you to set fire to the neighbor with the Siberian Husky that howls and howls all day and all night every single day 24/7 while the owner is out whooping it up at the bars all evening long and then pulling into the driveway with the red Ford Explorer at 3 AM and waking up your two kids with the growling muffler and the car doors that apparently won’t close unless they are slammed really hard…?
Zhit, zorry about that. I just broke my ‘z’ key zomehow. I’ll use ‘z’ instead.
I alwayz make zure I’m not ztuck in that void, that weird zpace, between racez. I alwayz have zomething on the calendar to keep me motivated and looking ahead. If I don’t, I ztart wondering why I’m bothering with a run on a drizzly Tuezday evening. I’ll zkip it and make nachoz. I adhere to a ztrict Race Muzt Be On The Zchedule policy. It keepz me motivated. It keepz me running towardz zomething. It keepz people and thingz from burning.
Hooray, for replacement ‘s’ keys!
To those stuck in The Space Between, I highly recommend getting a race on the schedule. Try one you’ve never done before. Don’t keep running the same old races. If you find yourself not training as hard, maybe you’re simply bored with the event. Push yourself…sign up for a race slightly longer than you’ve gone before. Run a completely different event. Only do large event races? Try a small event. Only run road races? Try a trail race. Or a relay event with friends.
Whatever you need, do it. It’s depressing the hell out of me to continue reading about it. (Consider that I watched Requiem for a Dream back to back to back and was still smiling and trying to light my farts with a Bic lighter by the end of the third showing.)
What’s happening is that The Space Between your races is crawling into The Space Between your ears.
And I can’t set fire to that.
So, how did my make-up 20 miler go on Monday? It didn't. If you want to know why, you'll need to ask my lying local weatherman and a group of stubborn, polyester sweatsuit clad septuagenarians that like to read magazines while walking on a treadmill at my local gym. Walking!?! That's what the mall is for.
I did manage to take on the 20 miler on Wednesday evening. Imagine an out of control wagon full of flaming hay barreling down hill until it slams into the side of a barn. That's how it went. I went out way to fast...didn't control my pace...and then crashed and burned after 16 miles in a pile of dehydrated human wreckage. I was dry as the hay. I staggered on for one more mile and decided it wasn't worth it to continue to push so hard 2 1/2 weeks before the marathon.
17 miles @ 7:21 pace (first 14 miles @ 7:08 pace before the wagon hit the barn)
I reviewed my training logs and it seems I always have one terrible training run before every marathon. This was it for this one. Hooray.