I will be the first to admit that I focus on the major goals and pretty much nothing else when it comes to my running. I have my schedule all planned out and on my calendar so that every day I know how long and how hard I’m supposed to go. I really don’t leave much room for the “let’s see what today brings”.
While this has served me quite well in my quests for reaching certain goals, it also has probably taken some of the fun out of my training. Trust me, I enjoy running harder and faster each time out, it’s kind of what drives me. But at some point, that is going to stop happening. Either the drive is no longer going to be there or my body is going to stop responding. Either way it won’t be a pretty site. I don’t expect to change over night, but this is something I know I need to address.
A couple of things brought me to this post today.
I’m part of the Run Chat community on Twitter. Great group of runners who share a passion for running. The last month or so there has been a scavenger hunt that you do while out on your runs. A list of 10 things you are to look for, take a picture of when you find and then post to Twitter. Seems simple enough. Not for me obviously. The thought of stopping, or even slowing down, during my run to take a picture just irks me for some stupid reason. I mean, come on, I’m training for a marathon here…I don’t have time to stop. See, it sounds absolutely ridiculous. But this is how my mind works. In one thought I know it would be a fun exercise in taking in the scenery and will probably make my run that much more enjoyable. And a second later I’m thinking that all the training I’ve put in will come crashing down because of this one run. Again, a ridiculous concept. So, tomorrow, I will pledge to run slower, with my head up, the scavenger hunt list in mind, and my Ipod at the ready to take pictures. It’s just one run, dumbass, get over yourself!
The second thing is a message I got today from an online running buddy. I “met” Chris Haworth when he sent me a twitter message a few months back. He wanted to be “friends” on Nike+ since we were both pretty active and to use each other to stay motivated. Loved the idea. Chris was training for a marathon and was logging some pretty good miles. We would exchange messages on Twitter, and eventually become friends on Facebook, to keep each other going. I loved seeing his posts as he would enter new territory for himself on longer miles. It made me want to run longer as well. As he was approaching the infamous 20 mile points of his training, he started developing some knee pain. He did everything he was supposed to do, cut back, rested and even went to the doctor. Nothing seemed to help. No matter how much he rested, how slow he ran or for how short of a distance, the pain persisted. A couple weeks ago it seemed to look like things were picking up. Chris told me that he was changing from the marathon to the half marathon as he was sure he could do that. Then he was hit again with the pain. He sent me a message today saying that he has been diagnosed with sciatic nerve issues and has nerve damage. It’s so bad that he can’t straighten out his foot. He is not sure if the damage is permanent or not. I know how committed Chris was to reaching his goal. Can only imagine how he is feeling. Speedy recovery Chris, my thoughts are with you.
So, tomorrow I go out for 11+ miles along the beautiful Sandy River, about 20 miles east of Portland, Oregon. It will be sunny and about 50* when I hit the road just about sunrise. My head will be up and I will be engaged with my surroundings and enjoying every minute of it. For as Chris said to me in closing today, you just never know when the opportunity to run will come to an abrupt halt.