I decided to skip long runs and run however far I felt like. I was still trying to stick with a 5 day/week schedule. Then, during one of those weekday runs last week, my mp3 player died. It was in the middle of this song:
It was a bit of an end of an era. My little sansa clip that I bought in September of 2010 (thanks Amazon for reminding me when I purchased it when I went to order a new one) died. That's right, my little player that's been with me clear back to my first marathon. It's been through a lot of miles, a lot of races and been there to help me solve a lot of issues when I went out to pound the pavement or a trail.
But, you'll never feel happy until you try, so if running long wasn't doing it, then why was I doing it? Since then, I'm even more relaxed on when and how far I feel I 'need' to run. Most of my running has been short. I take I dog when I feel like it. I go on my own when I feel like it. No music (still waiting for my new player which kind of sucks), usually no watch. In the near future, I'll have some new scenery to explore from time to time (foreshadowing!) which sounds more exciting than grinding out a 20 mile run. I'll stick with running just because I enjoy it and it makes me happy.
Last weekend, at our Miles and Mutts run (one of our largest groups yet), I ran back and forth to the van and covered close to 4 miles. I ran out with a new attendee who seemed a little nervous, ran back after she seemed comfortable, got the water ready for runners and dogs, grabbed the camera and ran out again. Waited a bit, walked a bit and then ran back. It was great!
What does this mean for the Baltimore marathon? I have no idea. I'm still signed up, my husband is still building up to run the half so I guess it's still a go for now. I know I can cover the distance even if I'm slower than I ever have before with lots and lots of walking. I also know this is part of the reason I wasn't into the training. It's no longer exciting. There's no "I just ran longer than I ever had before" moment. I thought trying to get faster would help but I'm just not into it. It doesn't matter to me, at least not now.
I notice a bit of the same trend going on with those around me. Is the 3-4 year mark after starting to run from ground zero when we all sort of burn out? With my circle of running friends, many seem to be fizzling out, the spark no longer there while a new wave is circling through. Many of us hit goal after goal and kept going more and more and eventually realize there comes a point where it's just a routine. I think we all tried and felt guilty for not keeping up and not pushing farther to the next goal.
I'm sure the spark will come back in time but for now, there are more important goals where I want to spend my focus. I'll just keep running to be happy...and to exercise some shelter dogs...
We are still fundraising, please help support us!! This is one of those goals that is more important right now!