Monday, August 20, 2012

No Wonder Why

I was perusing some blogs today when I came upon one particular one. It was all about getting out and doing a race for no reason other than to just get out there; no agenda, no expectations, just go have some fun. And like the proverbial ton of bricks it hit me, no wonder why I've been so depressed about my lack of running, it 's not just that I haven't been running, I haven't raced since October 30th of last year.

One of the first things I tell new runners is to go out and pick a race that they want to run. The reason is that this gives them a goal, something they can remember when they are sweating their asses off at 4:30 in the morning. It's the reward for all of the time and effort that you have put in to getting there. Basically, it's the fun part. Now I know some people are saying, "Racing, fun? What the..?" But it really is. You get to throw caution to the wind and just run run run as fast as you can while chasing down and fending off opponents. And some times they have prizes too!

So yes, I like to race. It is the only part of my life that I get competitive about and I can be super-serious when it comes to race time. At the end of the day though, whether it is a marathon I've trained months for, a fun local 5K, a run up a mountain, or an Ultra relay across New England, the one thing I have always tried to find in every race is the fun. Racing has always made me happy because of the challenge it brings; what else in our lives gives us the opportunity to see how far we can push our limits?

With that part of my life gone for so long now it is no wonder that I've been feeling so low. There are studies out there that have shown that running can be a form of addiction which could explain my attitude the last few months. Race time was always something that I could look forward to and get excited about but this morning I suddenly realized that not only have I lost anything to look forward to I've actually come to be depressed about the races I do have on the calendar. My last post is a shining example of this!

It's time for an attitude change. I am signed up for the Providence 5K in September and up until now my attitude towards it has been, meh. It shouldn't be like that, I need to remember the fun and excitement. Now I know I'm not going to PR it, at this rate I just hope to be able to run the whole thing, but I can use that knowledge. Since a PR is out of the question, and in fact I can't even run fast, there is no pressure at all for this race. Maybe I can do something that I haven't actually done in years; take some time during a race to enjoy the course, the other runners, the spectators. In short, to go out and have some fun.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I'm giving up

This is not the post I wanted to be writing. Even though I've put it off for a while now, it's time to face facts.

About a month ago I was feeling pretty good, good enough that I decided to start running again and see how things went. So I started running, slow, short runs to test the water; think one mile runs. It definitely proved that I wasn't yet 100% but it was encouraging. Then came that run one Monday; it was about 2.5 miles and the pace was faster but not crazy. I could tell during that the Achilles wasn't good, and it wasn't, and it continued to not be for days afterwards. Not painful per se, but worse than it had been. All of which just proved to me that I still wasn't ready to run. And I have no idea when I will be.

So what, right? I've gone this long, what's another month or two? What changed is that I happened to look at my calendar the other day.  This is what I saw:

I put those entries into my calendar within days of running my qualify time back in October. With ten separate alerts tied to the appointments to remind me to register I would say that I was a bit excited. Now, reality is crashing down on me.

At this point I am all but out of time to start any sort of training regime. I kept telling myself as one month of not running turned to three which turned to nine which now has no end in site that there was time. Always more time. Maybe I wouldn't be shooting for a 2:55 but I'd be ready to run a nice solid marathon. Now I need to realize that those dreams are rapidly fading away. If I was 100% ready to run right now I could still be ready, but I'm far from that point.

So I'm left with only a couple of options. Register as planned, hope for the best, and maybe put in a weak showing during the marathon. All the while hoping that I've healed enough to not make things worse during training and the race. Or, scrap all plans on running Boston. This second option really pisses me off though. Not running means that all that work and training was ultimately for nothing. Yes I will always be thrilled with my last marathon time and I'm happy I ran it, but the intent was to qualify for Boston. Not being able to run is, in my mind, a failure. Whenever I think about the situation all I can hear in my mind is this clip from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory:

Except, unlike Charlie, I did nothing wrong. In fact, I did everything right and yet I still lose. So when I said that it was time to face facts at the beginning of this post what I meant was that it is a growing fact that no good will come of this situation. The silver lining I tried so desperately to cling to is slipping away and I can see that at best I may be at the starting line this April. Or not. Either way it's a shitty situation I find myself in right now and I'm really tired of it.