Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Do What You Love... Love What You Do

I had posted this last year.
Guess I should have taken my own advice...
I have been MIA on the blog for a while. I have also been MIA from my training. I had some good training going earlier in the spring, ran a few  over 50 PRs for 5ks, and then basically lost interest. I had committed myself to running the Playmaker's Race Series for the season, but just this weekend skipped one of the races (after I had already gotten up and was ready to go) because I just did not feel like it. To put it mildly, I am in a running slump.

I would like to say that it is because I have been too busy. I have been busy, but not too busy to run.  I managed to watch the live version of the Tour de France every day last month, the whole three hours of coverage most days, but I did not manage to find the 40 minutes to run. 

To make matters worse, I didn’t even care, except for the fear that I would lose all my fitness and have to start over. As I have gotten older, starting over has become something I really dread and that fear is usually enough to motivate me to do at least maintenance level running.  So where did the love of running go?

That was the question I needed to ponder.  The problem is that my best pondering happens when I run.  Catch-22 there for sure.  My progress on the issue had come to a standstill.  

Then I was having an offhand conversation with a non-running friend I hadn’t talked to in a while.  He asked about my running. I said I was in a slump. He asked if I was still doing marathons. I told him about my year last year, and my quest for the belt buckle, and all the trail races I had run. Then I somehow began to talk to him about the Western States 100 and my desire to run it someday.

In response to all this, he said “Lori, this may not be my place to say, but you need to be trail running. Your voice got so excited when you were talking about it that you were almost giddy. You should be doing what you love.”  And, as soon as I heard it, I knew it was truth.

What did I do next?  Well of course I went out for a run, on the trails, to ponder that statement.  I asked myself as I ran “What do I love about running?”  Well the immediate answer was running trails, of course. And ultras. And competition. And my running friends.  And the cycling that I am doing on the side. “What don’t I love so much?”  Road miles, especially long road miles. Road marathons.  Large races.  Road 5ks.

So how can I put this into practice to get re-motivated and do what I love? 

Well, first off, I need to refocus my trail running/ultra running goals. If I am going to make the Western States 100 in this lifetime, I need to get going on that goal now, as it is a major one that will take at least a couple of years to accomplish. It requires a qualifying race (either 50 or 100 miles), a lottery to enter that can take years to win, and probably a practice 100 miler or two to prepare. (If I don't make the lottery, I have to re-qualify each year until I do.)  There is also a lot of preparation that will need to be done in the 9 months leading up to the race if I do make the lottery and gain entry. This is a long term process that will require a lot of focus and perseverance, but rather than sounding incredibly daunting, sounds like a heck of a lot of fun! That was a goal I could get excited about!

Next, I want to stay in touch with my running friends and continue my commitment to the Playmaker’s/New Balance Masters Women’s Racing Team. That means that I need to keep my speed up a bit even as I take the focus away from road running and racing. That will also help me to be competitive in the ultras, which is a win-win. I will also probably stick with cycling and possibly duathlons. I think the cycling adds a component, mentally and physically, that I would like to keep in the mix.

With every decision made, though, there are things that one gives up. When one door opens, another closes. I will probably never run the Boston Marathon or New York or Chicago, or any of the other popular runs that a lot of runners have on their bucket lists. I am just not into road marathons enough to do something like that again. 

I also will not be running many local 5ks or other “popular” races. I think Facebook is great for keeping a community in touch, but it also creates FOMO (fear of missing out) that causes some people, at least me, to sign up for things that they aren’t really into just because everyone else is going.  More than once, this has led me down the path of committing to something that I really was not into. I need to learn to say “no.”

I guess it is official then. I am switching my focus back from roads to trails. (I think I will finish out the Playmakers Race Series races because I am leading in my age group, but they will not be my focus.) My focus now is to lay out a plan for meeting my Western States 100 goal. I think I will go for a run and ponder my plan of attack… I will let you know what I work out. 

If you would like to learn more about the Western States 100, or if you just love running movies in general, check out either of these: 

Unbreakable: The Western States 100

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