Friday, September 30, 2011

A day of revelations

Yesterday was long and busy, but a very great day.  I did my last long run before the half and took the kids to the zoo (and no flat tires this time!).  It was also a day of epiphanies about running, my relationship with running, and where I want to go with running in the future.  I had all kinds of deep thoughts yesterday.

My revelations began on Facebook of all places.  Someone posted a picture that totally got me thinking about success.
Okay, so it wasn't this picture, but I did see this one too.  I don't care what your political flavors are, this is just funny.  Success= figuring out before you go to print that this headline is bad!
Here is the actual picture:
I love this graphic.  This is me with running.  I went into this half marathon thinking I was going to kick butt and run so much faster than last time.  The truth is I am not up at the top of the arrow.  I am in the tangled mess.  I have been struggling with running lately and I am afraid that I might be slower than last time.  I was really upset and devastated.  As cheesy as it sounds, looking at this made me realize that progression isn't always a straight line.  There are twists and turns and set backs.  That's life and you have two choices: you can cry about not being on top or you can make peace with where you are.  I made peace with my pace and ran my last long run.  I was kinda slow but I enjoyed the run and I was happy at the end....and that felt really good.

My next revelation was at the zoo.  Since I was a science teacher, going to the zoo isn't just fun it is educational.  And yes my kids will probably be total dorks because of it.  While viewing the cheetahs, my 4 year started asking questions about how fast cheetahs can go and how far they can run.  I explained that cheetahs are really fast but they can't maintain that speed for a long distance.  A horse or a dog are much better at running for long distances.  He asked why (he's 4 so of course he asked why) and I tried my best to explain that some animals were made for speed and some animals were made for distance.  It seems to be an either/or type of thing.  A cheetah can't mate with a horse and get some new animal that can run super fast for a super long time.  Although if it could I am sure it would look something like this:
As I am explaining this I am realizing that I have been committing the cardinal sin of running-trying to work on speed and distance at the same time.  This has not made me a better runner, it has left me burnt out and slower.  I should just stick to distance now and work on speed after my half marathon (too bad this revelations comes a week and a half before the event).  Again, I made peace with my pace.

My last revelation came when a friend asked me what race I was going to do next.  I have really been pushing the idea of a marathon on myself.  Why?  Because I read blogs and it seems like everyone has run/is running a marathon.  I guess it was just the next step and to be a "real runner" I needed to do one.  But when I really start to think about what it is I really want to do, the answer is not a marathon.  I am not saying that I won't ever do one, but I am saying that this spring I won't do one (and I reserve the right to change my mind).  I have a great opportunity to have a tri coach and I would love to focus on triathlons (sprint and Olympic) next year.  I totally made peace with postponing a marathon. 

Yesterday was a great day and today I can say I am more at peace with running than I have been in a long time.


  1. Katie - great post - seriously, you're funny.

    I feel the same way about the marathon - it's this looming "must-do" in my head, but do I really want to do one? I'm not sure yet. I've trained for and not started two marathons (one pregnancy, one injury), and it had me so down. Now I feel I hopefully have a good fifty years left running, and I should be able to squeeze one in later on if I'm so inclined. :)

  2. After Boston last year, I wasn't sure I'd be running a Fall marathon. Seems like the cool thing to do, once you're in the club. I thought about instead focusing on speed and try to work on my half-marathon times.

    Trust your gut on how you feel about the intensity of marathon training. Figure out YOUR goals (not others' goals) and "run" with it :)

  3. Great that you know yourself so well! I was just telling a friend that once the Boston monkey is off my back, I want to NOT do a marathon for a while. I will always run, but I don't think it has to be that far for it to be rewarding. You are right that it does seem like everyone online is doing a marathon, and that's probably because it's so daunting that you know you need extra support for it so you start a blog (that's what I did!). But marathons aren't the only game in the running/endurance world--other events can be equally satisfying and less hard on your body and your time.

    Like I said, good for you!

  4. That headline made me laugh at loud!!!!

    You seem to be self aware. Marathons aren't alway the best for your body. Not going to lie. I did one and my knee has NEVER been the same.....I'm actually into Yoga and mastering that. Challenging, fun and won't KILL my knees.

    Get Up & Go

  5. I get caught up in everyone else's marathon excitement, too! I've run two and really...they are not my favorite thing in the world to do...but then I read a blog or two and it gets me thinking that some day I should run another one.
    Now... I'm not saying I won't ever run that distance again, but I think we should start a club for people who are happy doing shorter distances. You can join!
    Our mission statement: Shorter distances are just as important, fun, accomplished, and worthy!
    There! I said it.