Friday, November 17, 2017

Run Happy ✌

I've often heard that when you're in your twenties, you think you know it all; when you're a thirty-something, you freak out because you realize that you don't know it all; and in your forties, you chill out and accept things as they are. I'm 38, so I think I'm starting to approach that chill acceptance stage. I'd like to share with the Interwebs how that acceptance relates to my running "career." (lol)

BARA Half, 08.26.2017
About a year ago, I decided I was over the constant PR pursuit. I was absolutely killing myself to nail down certain paces to run certain times that certainly didn't matter. I mean, a PR is a nice achievement, but I was chasing times because that's what I thought I should want as a runner. I surmised that if I didn't do my best and run my hardest every time I toed a start line, I wasn't doing it right. However, it turns out that constant speed chasing was causing me to fall out of love with running, not to mention stressing my Crohn's-disease-weakened bones. 

Removing the time goals from my mind allowed me to relax and enjoy running for running's sake. I entered some races and tried some new things—like running a trail race—just to have some fun, with no worries about how long it took me. I paced some friends in their events, which actually fulfilled me more than racing ever did. In some races, if I wanted to run a little faster than usual, I did. Not once did I PR in 2016, and I didn't care. In 2017, I had one PR, and that was in the mile. It was the only time goal I sought in 2017, and I pursued it because I wanted to, not because I thought I had to. 

I'm a lot happier since I removed time pressures from my running.

Twin Caves Racing
This summer, I asked a few friends to join me for one of those fun races I mentioned earlier, a cross country 10K relay. Becky, Larry, and Jocelyn, friends of mine from Mitchell, agreed to "cross the river" and join me for the race in Bedford. They even said they would make me an official Twin Caves Racing member, but I had to join them on some trails first.  

My first run with them at Spring Mill State Park was on June 4. I was hooked on those trails and the stellar company immediately! I spent the summer getting stronger on the trails in the park. When we saw something pretty, we stopped to take a pic.When we were a bit tired, we stopped to rest. When Becky announced that she would be running Tecumseh, a crazy-hilly trail half marathon, I said I'd give it a try, too. I had a blast at that race in October, where I ran the 13 most beautiful miles I've ever experienced. 
Jocelyn, Larry, Jo, and Becky

I've continued running trails with TCR into the autumn. We still run, rest, take pics, and have fun. Sunday, we're going to some trail race in Kentucky. Prospect, or something like that. I don't know where it is exactly. I don't know the course. I have no "race plan." I just can't wait to get into the woods and spend some time with friends.

I'm a lot happier since I found the serenity of trails with friends.

Prior to 2017, the most miles I've ever run in a year has been 1,170. As I type this blog, I'm at 1,364.54 miles for 2017. Yes, I know it to the hundredth of a mile. :-) I've had a LOT of volume this year. It's been great. I've loved every mile... almost. Around September, I really started to feel worn down. The cure was a week off running, but the simple suggestion of time off terrified me. My thought process went something like this: I'm averaging 30 miles a week. I have to keep it at 30 or above. I haven't had a month with less than 100 miles since November 2016. I have to keep it at 100 or above.

First time to kiss the bricks at the Mini
No, you don't. And no, you don't.

I've recently decided to bag the weekly/monthly/annual distance requirements I put on myself. Guess when I'm going to run? When I want to. Guess how far I'm going to run? How far I want to. I may run 10 miles in a week, or I may run 40. I may run 50 miles in a month, or I may run 150. Whatever the volume is, it'll be because that's what I want to do. When I train for a marathon/half-marathon/5K/whatevs, it'll be because I want to.
Zach, Jo, Mitch, and Ryan
I'm a lot happier since I decided I can run when I want, how far I want.

The conclusion is as follows: I am so much happier and healthier when running is my passion and not my requirement.  I run to stay fit, I run to be with friends, I run to enjoy the outdoors, and I run to be happy. I don't run to write a distance and pace in my running log (though you know this data-hound will still keep a spreadsheet, kids). "Liberating" is the only way to describe it.

Every December, I write goals for the upcoming calendar year. I've always included some time goals and at least one distance goal. Last year, I scrapped the time goals. When I write my 2018 goals, I'm scrapping distance goals. In fact, I think I'll be narrowing down my annual goals to one:


PS - Happy Pics...

Fun moment at the Mini

Beautiful sunrise at Patoka Lake

Tecumseh FUN!

Monumental finish

With Wendy and MaeBe on my birthday

With Schanzel and Jill at the Monumental Mile

Twin Caves plunge on a hot day


Spring Mill beauty with Becky and Larry

At Patoka with Larry and Becky

Another Patoka shot