Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sometimes you just need to slow down and wait for yourself to catch up.

I’m not sure when It happened, not exactly sure what it really is for that matter but at some undefined point on some trail or during some race I reached a milestone….or better yet…Call it a mid life running crisis. Right now I’m cancelling a running race that I’ve been waiting to run, I’m cutting back my scheduling for “meeting up” not because I don’t like the venue or the people I run with but it’s more of a defensive posture, a sort of reverse engineering of my running self to save what little I might have left of my past desire to run. A time long ago I’d get up every morning at some crazy time when only spiders and their dew covered webs would be on the trail…… my legs fresh and my mind clear just bursting with excitement to run.

I’ve always ran; at least as long as I can remember. I would run when ever my schedule would allow and when I ran I would run without much gear, no compression shorts, running watch, handhelds or packs….I ran without toe socks, just standard whities. With a dab of Vaseline I was gone, sometimes just taking off in any direction and running for an unknown amount of time, turn around and head back. At that time I would only run one race a year… the L.A. Marathon, but that was it. I also didn’t have as much responsibility as I do today; three children and a wife later, my bills and responsibilities are a marathon in themselves. And my gear; I’ve got drop bags full of gear, bottles, tubes, baggies, shoes, clothes … overload of stuff.

In the beginning I’d create a log of my running that I sometimes read to revisit for fun… and as I progressed to trail running I would always take my camera, stopping many times to take pictures of various interesting things along the way…

To the present…. and many marathons, 50ks, 50milers, 100 miler, Grand Canyon and Badwater experiences later I’m worn. I realized that I’m running to “run” and not “experience” anymore, I’m not getting up and looking forward to the experience because I view my running lately as a schedule to meet, trying to advance myself beyond my “last run or race” and not stopping to enjoy where I am but rather how fast I can run through it…..let’s face it when you advance past 40 your PR experiences dwindle leaving only the value of running in the “Experience” of the moments rather than pure performance.

So… I’ve decided my cure will be on multiple levels.
1. I’m going for deep muscle massages to wake my legs up
2. No schedules, no races, no long range plans, no commitments……..
3. Day on, day off with compression gear.. ( I feel looser, cool and free that way, my strides feel unrestricted bring me back to pre-injury mentality) it was after my hip flexor injury that I began using compression gear while running.
4. I’m running more consistently but closer to home, old stomping grounds, 5-8 miles daily with weekend runs of higher mileage. Running, walking and intentionally stopping to enjoy where I am…… note: clear your schedule before running long…don’t push your finish due to expectations or prior commitments.
5. Mentally rewinding, de-racing, de-stressing to find out why I loved to run in the first place….

It’s beginning to work, I can feel myself again and I’m looking forward to hitting the trails that earlier seems to have become drab and unexciting… Oh, one more thing for my list of remedies……

To just slow down so that I can just simply catch up to myself……….