Thursday, July 28, 2011

Questioning Running

On my run yesterday, and probably a fair number of other runs in the past, I was sort of wondering what I was doing. Why am I getting up between 5 and 5:30 to start an hour-long run (say) around 6:30, all before a full day of work? And maybe running in the evening? And probably waking up earlier on the weekend to run even longer?

These aren't particularly comfortable questions to be thinking about less than an hour in. Running on my own, around town, it becomes pretty easy to bail early on whatever mileage I had in mind for the day. Not exactly a good training strategy.

But then, what, exactly, am I training for? I'm not currently signed up for any runs at a mileage I'm unsure about. I've now got a 10k in a few weeks (as part of a team relay triathalon), and the Tough Mudder in October, but that's all I'm currently signed up for. I'd like to do Boston in the spring, but that's still a while.

The big race on my mind is the UROC 100k at the end of September. I know I'm not one of the "Champions", but the race is for anybody, and last year I decided that my goal for this year was to do the GEER 100k, which has become UROC. Of course, my goal also included the Bel Monte 50 miler in the spring, which I bailed on pretty early in. That means my longest run to date is 36 miles, and lately I've only been averaging about 60 miles a week. I'm supposed to translate that into 60 miles in a day, 2 months from now? I kind of doubt it. And my thought is that if I'm not sure going in that I can finish, and that I want it enough, that I'll just quit again. It's sort of what I do. "When the going gets rough, I'm getting out of here."

So I think maybe I've been questioning running a bit because I'm antsy about that race, afraid of failure and all that.

Yesterday, I was thinking that maybe the ultra running I've had my eye on for a while isn't something I actually want for myself as much anymore. Sure, I want to want it, but I'm pretty lazy. I was thinking that maybe I've been thinking for that past few years that I wanted to run ultras because I didn't like grad school. My last few years of grad school were... not good. Probably I was "running away," which, I reckon, ultras are probably good for (not that that's why everybody does them). Perhaps I'm not actually "running toward" any sort of goal like "testing myself" or for some sort of "real" experience. Now that grad school is finally over with, and I've got a great job that I love, maybe I don't actually feel the need to try to run 50, 60, 100 miles in a day. Maybe I could be perfectly happy spending some of the time I'd need for training on other things, like more programming, reading, learning to cook, being home so my cats aren't quite so lonely (and therefore obnoxious when I am around). Maybe I could be pretty happy running 50-60 mile weeks (less?) and occupying my other time/energy other ways. Stop stressing about making sure I get whatever miles in.

Maybe I'm just tired, either from not enough recovery time in my running, or the 57 hours on my last weekly timecard at work. Or maybe it's just the heat talking. After all, running to the tops of "mountains" makes the views that much grander, and whatever large meal afterwards practically justifiable.

Well, whatever. I took today off (from running). Perhaps I'll get my shoes on in the morning.