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?
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.