Happy Wednesday to ya’ll – well I guess it’s over but that’s another day closer to the weekend, right?! Yesterday, I finally completed my 200 hour food service requirement for my nutrition internship program and so I mailed off my evaluation plus other paperwork today. That was a relief! I’m still going to my volunteer internship a couple of times a week because I’ve really grown to love working there and have made quite a few friends in the process, and so I couldn’t just “not go” anymore. It’s become a part of my weekly routine and I actually look forward to my time there with with chefs and the other volunteers.
The title of this post though, doesn’t refer to my volunteer work or anything related to school. It refers to my goals for running. I know I’ve written about my struggles with running this year, and dealing with strained hip flexors and now a strained ankle, and it’s really forced me to take a good, long, hard look at my relationship with running. I realize that in the last few months, I really haven’t been running enough to be able to do races – and yet I’ve still signed up for them, or gone ahead and done them with inadequate preparation. I’ve sustained injuries because I’ve tried to jump back into training at a pace that I used to be able to maintain when I was running more frequently – but let’s face it. If you don’t run, you lose practice and you lose your pace. Ideally, I would have started out at a much slower pace since my hip flexor injury in February, and not simultaneously tried to train for races and start a program of learning to run naturally. But – given my Type A personality, that’s exactly what I did, and that’s why I kept getting injured and ended up with a strained ankle. For the last few months (and it’s totally my own doing), I’ve felt a constant pressure (self-imposed of course) to get faster, be a better, “natural” runner, register for more races, get back to my old pace etc, etc – without taking the time to actually recover and pace myself (no pun intended). And yet, through it all, I don’t think I’ve really enjoyed running at all. I can’t even remember the last time I ran just because I loved it – and not because I was “supposed” to be doing a 4 mile tempo run that day, or sprints, or a long run, or training for such-and-such a race. I think I liked running more when I didn’t have a Garmin and I couldn’t keep track of my pace; when I registered for races for the fun of it, just to be able to do them and finish them – not to get faster or beat a certain time. I miss those days. I miss the days when I ran because I could, because I loved it so much.
So I’m redefining my running goals for the remainder of this year. I’m not going to set any. I’m not going to register for any more races (sorry NYC peeps) till I can run again injury free, without worrying about my pace, form, whether I’m heel-striking or maintaining a mid-foot strike. I just want to run again – without thinking about it so much. I want to re-kindle my love for the sport and not feel so overwhelmed or stressed out by it anymore.
It’s a hard decision to face just before a half-marathon. Oh yes, – I have a half-marathon coming up this weekend – the Rock n Roll Half-Marathon in Providence, RI on Sunday. I feel so un-prepared for it and anxious about injuring myself that I don’t really want to do it. But I’d also feel like a wimp if I didn’t at least try it (Part of me hopes that it’ll rain on Sunday so I can be justified in skipping it due to “bad weather” 😉 ) In all honesty though, I will probably give it a go but leave my Garmin at home (so I don’t obsessively check my pace), and go in with the attitude that if I need to walk or stop because something doesn’t feel right, then I’ll walk or stop. I’m OK with taking a DNF (Did Not Finish) at the race – but I don’t want to face a personal DNS (Did Not Start) for the sake of my own pride. (By the way, whoever said that pride is a dangerous thing was SO right).
So we’ll see what happens this weekend. My goal will be to not get injured and then take a break from races. (Though, like I said, I also hope that it rains on Sunday ;))
My other goal will be to find headphones that don’t fall out of my ears whenever I start to run 🙂