Friday, April 17, 2009

The Space Between

(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.

Happy trails.
_________________________________

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.

25 comments:

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

For me I think it was straying from why I started running and such in the first place.

Having figured that out, I'm hoping to have happier posts forthcoming about how much FUN I am having. :-)

Marcy said...

I have what you call general motivation. Meaning I WILL run, bike, whatever because I'll get pissy pants if I don't partake in exercise. As for PRs and the likes . . .yeah gots me a ticket fo the lazy train. I get motivated to do better for a time and then um nope don't want any part of it. I guess I'm just happier just doin than doin better *shrugs shoulders*

Vava said...

Nice pozt, and good ideaz.

I registered for seven events this year, months in advance, for the reasons you mention. I recognize that as a running newbie all of this stuff is still tinged with the novelty that comes when trying a new thing, but I agree that a goal race or event is a good motivator.

Great pace on that long run! I would have crashed and burned within the first half-mile at that speed.

Viper said...

I think you hammered the nail on the head. Now I wish you'd hammer yourself on the head. Cheers.

Lauren said...

Do I live next door to you? And why would anyone watch Requim for a dream more than once? I still can't look at Jennifer Connely.

Stuart said...

All good points...but some space in between events is important too!

Sue me!

Xenia said...

Okay, I won't qualify it--you're retarded.

You know there's another way to not be depressed by others lack of motivation. It's called not reading their posts. Though I realize there's a bit of a catch 22 there since you won't know they're unmotivated unless you read their posts. Eh, such is life.

Spike said...

if only there was a 5K that concluded with you burning something large and at great public peril...that would really crank up the motivation!

Lily on the Road said...

Oy, glad I'm not motivated nor able to participate...

But, I am loving hearing about everyone's out control wagon full of flaming hay barreling down hill until it slams into the side of a barn kind of run. Makes it sort of special...LMAO...

Vanilla said...

Was it as painful to type the Z paragraph as it was to read it? I sure hope so.

Spartan7 said...

Wus. You only had a 5K left and you'd have finished 20. Now I'm in a runners funk just thinking about you falling apart at mile 16.

...

Ok, I'm over it. Good luck with your marathon! I'm still on cloud nine after killing a 5K last weekend

Jess said...

I run for all those reasons, but especially to calm the voices.

At least you got that bad run out of the way.

Roisin said...

Maybe it's Zee Germans?

This is presupposing that you enjoy the movie "Snatch" as much as I did. Ritchie pre-Madonna. Those were the days.

Viper and I weren't in the same major, so that's a good thing, right?

Richard said...

Calling all runners. Try a tri! that gets you out of a funk, and Nitmos stay on dry land, do the duathlon.

Irish Cream said...

At least you got the bad run out of the way, eh? And good thing you listened to all of us . . . if you would have skipped that "20"-miler, the bad run might just have manifested itself on race day! You're welcome ;)

Jess said...

Look at you being all motivational! Sorry the run was crappy, but at least you got it out of your system!

theloosemoose said...

Fourteen miles at a 7:08 pace?

You're not even human.

Beth said...

Very, very funny. So glad you are back as I needed a chuckle today. If it's any consolation, I just had a craptastic final 20 miler. At least now we get to taper!

aron said...

must be why i keep signing up for races right?? already have the whole year planned out pretty much :)

happy taper!!!

joyRuN said...

served in a chiseled, rugged, broad shouldered bottleWell when you put it THAT way, sounds damn appealing.

Helen said...

Great post! I completely subscribe to the race-on-the-calendar motivation.

Good Luck on Monday!

I hope I'm not your neighbour.

Ms. V. said...

Great hay truck imagery.

Great post. I'm calendared for the year...

X-Country2 said...

People walking on treadmills kills me too!

Ted said...

ROFLMAO.... sweeping the running blogs like STD in a retirement village. I tend to lose my motivation in the winter and not in the spring. When its spring, I tend to spring out.

John at Hella Sound said...

Recurring themes on blogs and on Twitter seem to be:
1. lack of motivation
2. the weather
It seems these two things (as well as the occasional #3, which is injury) sabotage most runners' efforts. It's too hot, it's too cold, it's raining, the local volcano is spewing molten lava on my village, etc.
I reckon being on the hook for a race could help; setting new speed goals could help; mixing things up with a triathlon could also help expunge that not-so-fresh feeling.
One thing's for sure: knowing that Nitmos DOES NOT want to hear us whine on our blogs about lack of motivation will surely keep us from doing so. That's enough motivation right there.
In an unrelated note, I think I'm gonna skip my run today. I'm just not feelin' it.