Monday, June 27, 2011

Why Am I Running?

What the hell am I running for?

This thought occurred to me about 7 miles into yesterday’s Sunday 10 mile long run. It was over 80 degrees; sweat pouring off of me; my saturated wrist band crying mercy. I don’t actually have a race on the schedule. I have no training plan. I just kinda ran the half marathon over Memorial weekend and then…kept going with the same basic schedule as if I had another half marathon coming up. Which I don’t.

So, what exactly am I running for anyways?

Well, besides the fact that I love to run. And I get moody and (more) sarcastic when I don’t get my scheduled miles in. Plus, it sure makes my butt tight. I don’t have any desire to be imprisoned long term but, if I were, I just know I’d be the belle of the ball.

The annual Cherry Festival 5k is coming up in less than two weeks. I’ve run this race 9 out of the last 10 years. In fact, it was this race that I got me started running over ten years ago in the first place. It’s been a tradition for me. But I don’t think I’m going to do it this year. I just don’t like where I’m at for a 5k right now. Some folks sign up for races every few weeks and, whether they trained hard for them or not, go right ahead and run them. I don’t. I like to focus in on just a few races a year and work hard to PR those races. I’m not a race whore. If I can’t (or haven’t) put in the work to make a PR effort, then I simply don’t run the race.

I know, I know, there is a subset of the running crowd that likes to roll out the hippie-dippie themes Time Doesn’t Matter and Can’t We all Hold Hands And Run Together and Love The Feel Of The Motion Not The Ticking Of The Clock. Hey, whatever floats your boat. My boat is floated by my competitive spirit. I’m not going to pretend otherwise. I’m not necessarily competitive against other runners – though I do like to see if I can age group place – but against the clock and myself. This, my friends, is where the FUN resides FOR ME. I love to mentally abuse myself if I don’t reach my time goal just as much as I enjoy a virtual high five between my cerebellum and medulla oblongata when a PR falls.

In order to set these time goals, I have to have a plan. Also, I need a race. Currently, I have neither. So, I ask again, what the hell am I running for?

I better get a race on the schedule to focus the training. I’ve been running 800’s, 1200’s, tempos, limbos, etc. Basically, whatever I feel like that day. Heck, on Friday, I went out for a tempo 7 miler and, on my way past a track, decided spur-of-the-moment to do a few mile (1600m) repeats instead. Why? Well, why not? When you don’t have a goal or plan, the answer to “what should I run today” is “anything you want”.

It’s fun – I’m not going to lie – to make up workouts during the first mile of a run. But I’m not sure it’s helping me work towards any specific goal. There are a few 5k’s I’ve normally done at the end of July. Maybe I’ll work towards that. Maybe I’ll choose some new races. Or maybe I’ll just continue to do a random smattering of 800 – 1600 intervals until inspiration strikes.

I guess I really do know why I run. I just don’t know where I’m going to race next.

What about you? Do you know what the hell you are running for anyways?

Happy trails.

Someone order a CAT scan. Mrs. Nitmos and I must be crazy. We let BOTH kids try out for premier level soccer teams. And both made it. Now, we are “soccer poor”. Forget weekend plans…we will be standing along a pitch somewhere watching the seasons change. I miss the days when we could throw a pacifier in their mouths, set the swing to ‘fast’, and still sit on the deck with friends and beer. As long as their little heads didn’t tilt sideways and clang against the rails, you could go on for hours…Now, when the weekend comes, we are busy. I don’t even set up a schedule planner. We are busy somewhere, somehow. Just assume that is the case and life is easier….we’ll figure out the where and how on Friday.


Vava said...

That's a fantastic question. Timely in the sense that I was wondering the same thing as I struggled through what was a really difficult PMP run on Sunday. What the HELL am I doing this to myself for anyway?!

I'll have to get back to you on that one. Even though I have a race that I'm training for it simply does not answer the question adequately. Yes, for the marathon. But it's not a satisfying and too simplistic a reasoning.

Leauxra said...

I realized last week that I run better when there's no race on the schedule. Races distract from the REAL reason we ALL run... to be prepared for the zombie apocalypse. DUH.

Jamoosh said...

" saturated wrist band crying mercy."

Wrist band - were you channeling the 70's?

Xenia said...

Florence marathon is at the end of November. Isn't that on your running bucket list? Sell the kiddies into soccer slavery and buy yourself a plane ticket.

Razz said...

See what you get when your kids play commie sports?

I have no idea what I'm running for right now. Probably not to do serious damage to family and friends.

Viper said...

I had a hard time coming to grips with the idea of not trying to PR at my two planned races this year. I still don't know if it will be possible once I'm at the starting line. I may act all hippie-dippie during my training, but I'm a competitor at heart. Cheers!

Chanda M. DeFoor said...

Oh, it was in the 80's? You poor thing. It was like 99 here yesterday. HORRIBLE.

Jill said...

I always liked to be race ready in case a marathon popped on my radar I wanted to try yet didn't want to go through months of prep work. I'm a long way from there now, but I always felt my best when I was. Someday, I hope to be there again.

One day your kiddos will be done with soccer phase and you'll be wondering what to do with all your time. I guess there's running! :)

Aka Alice said...

My whole goal...race pending or to have a 10 mile run within reach, so I have to have at least an 8 mile run in weekly, whether I'm "training" for something or not.

Sorry about the soccer thing. Your life is over.

Grouchy Karen said...

Oh man, good luck. I had "soccer parents" growing up, and boy, they bother were turned up to 11. The real downside is dealing with "zealous" soccer parents. Don't become one of those tools!

Danielle in Iowa in Seattle said...

I don't sign up for a race if I don't think I can PR. Why waste the money? I'm only doing it so that my PR is out there on Google associated with my name. No shameful bad races associated with my name. That's the goal. I can do a fun run without shelling out $30.

But... falling into hippie dippie category... If I can't PR on the road, that's when I take to trail races. Every course is different so you can't compare times so I'm a winner every time.