There is the weight issue. I never really got down to racing weight, ever, last year. I hovered around 156 pounds all year and only got down to 154 for Western States. I can usually get under 150 for races. I ran Autumn Leaves 50 miler in October at 158 pounds and swore I would never race at that weight again, it feels like pulling an anchor around. After taking a few low mileage months through the Winter my weight hovered around 160. Lately I’ve been between 155 and 157, but with Eugene Marathon 4 weeks away, it looks like I’ll be racing in the 150’s. Maybe this comes with age too, I don’t know.
2 things have really troubled me, and ultimately forced me to take a few days off and really think about why I am doing any of this. One, I’ve cheated, and I’ve done it more than once. I run a weekly 10 mile tempo run, on a track. It’s just 40 laps, all supposed to be exactly the same time. Ideally, those laps should be 1:57.....but consistency is the key.....if they were 2:00 but consistent, that would still be a quality workout. A few times in the last month, I’ve cheated. Somewhere around mile 6, when it starts to get hard, I’ve stopped my watch and stopped running for a while, enough to allow my heart rate to drop and get some oxygen through my body, then started up again. Might not seem like a big deal, but it is. I’ve recorded the times in my log as if I ran them legit. I’ve even shared my times with others as if they were legit. The second thing happened on Sunday. 20 mile run planned, and the wind was 20 mph and cold. I headed out, into the wind, so that I could get a tail wind coming home. The first 3 to 4 miles, it was just incredibly cold, then the rain started. 40 degrees and a hard wind driving rain, right into my face. At the 7 mile mark, I could not convince myself to go another 3 miles into the wind. I started bargaining with myself, “what if I turn around now, take the tail wind for a few miles, then figure out where to add another 5 ish miles to the route after I’ve warmed up etc”. I turned around at 7.5, but I knew I was lying to myself. I knew I wasn’t going to add 5 somewhere else. I knew as I got closer and closer to home the magnet would just get stronger.
So, I’ve taken 3 days off. I got a fantastic massage on Wednesday. Deleted this week’s planned workouts in my schedule. Last night I ran what sounded fun. I ran to the Baskett Butte and had Jeanne pick me up at the trailhead. I didn’t wear a watch, the pace felt playfully fast. I saw a red tailed hawk, some osprey, a white tailed kite and a small herd of deer. Tonight I’ll run what seems fun too.
More troubling than failed workouts or low mileage or aches and pains has been the fact that for the first time, running has not been an absolute joy in my life. I’m going to find the joy, miles and times will just have to come along for the ride.