Friday, August 18, 2006

Running Goals

Since I've been reading blogs, I've been amazed at the focus that some runners bring to their training. I've been wondering about myself - what kind of a runner am I?

I have read Runners World and a local running magazine for years - I read about the latest training plans, about intervals and tempo runs and race paces and easy runs, but I don't do anything with it. I go to the track with the group every week, but I just log another run. Once in a great while, I will consciously add in an interval or two, but that's it. I run five days a week, twice on Thursdays. I head out the door, walk to the entrance of the neighborhood, and start running. I follow my favorite routes, sometimes alone, and lately, always with friends. I just run - how I feel (or how my companions feel) on any given day dictates the pace.

Is that why I'm at the back of the pack? Maybe. Maybe if I gave it some thought and worked a little harder I'd pick up some speed and move to the middle of the pack. Do I really care? Nope. I don't. I get everything I want to out of running. I find peace, I find friendship, I find fitness, I find weight control, I find solitude, I find joy. Everything I want is already there. I don't care about competition, I don't care about placing, and I don't care about moving up in the pack. Sure, I enjoy it when I do better than I expected, but it's not a requirement. Lazy runner? I don't think so. Satisfied runner? Yes. Joyful runner? Yes. Consistent runner? Yes. Relaxed runner? Yes. Running fits smoothly into my life and fills me with satisfaction and happiness.

Had I written this six months ago, there would have been one desire that had not been fulfilled, and there was more frustration in my running because of it. I wanted to do a marathon. I wanted to run longer distances. I wanted this so badly, it was almost a need. I'm afraid I whined about it way too much (thank you to all my wonderful friends who let me get away with it). Finally, my health improved and I set out to achieve my dream. At this moment I am feeling complete. Completely satisfied with running. I've had a successful half, I'm training for and signed up for a marathon.

The question has already come up about what will be next. I don't know. I am surrounded by Marathon Maniacs. Will I try to become one? I don't know. I've got to finish one marathon, one goal, before I can decide. I do know that I will at least keep myself half-marathon ready. I want to be able to sign up on a whim and be good to go. Maybe if I love it at Portland, I will decide to run more marathons. Maybe I'll sneak up to a 50K. Maybe I'll decide it was fun once, but not twice and that the half is the distance for me. We'll just have to wait and see, won't we?

Monday: rest/Pilates
Tuesday: 6.2 miles, 1:15:42, avg hr: 141, high: 161
Wednesday: 6.0 mile hill run, 1:14:09, avg hr: 140, high: 168
Thursday: 5.8 miles, 1:09:53, avg: 135, no high, Track: 3 miles, 36:52, avg: 141, high: 153
Friday: rest/Pilates

On tap: Saturday 16 miles, Sunday 5 miles (hilly)

16 comments:

Wes said...

I'll tell ya what kind of runner you are: THE BEST. When you are really comfortable with where you are, you can go in any direction you want, can't you? Congratulations. That's a place in life we should all aspire to.

Wes

D said...

I love your attitude!

TryAthlete said...

You put running so in perspective.

Good luck with the training for Portland.

angie's pink fuzzy said...

what a joyful post, I love it!

robtherunner said...

Ignore all the MANIACS around you. If we try to pressure you into running more marathons it is just because we think you can and will, but we know you have to get through the first one first and you are well on your way.

I, of course, hope that running long distance becomes a part of your future running path, but I'll still hang around you even if it does not. Besides, I'm going to need an expert crew chief for future races.

Sarah said...

I like your running goals!

"Running fits smoothly into my life and fills me with satisfaction and happiness."

I doesn't get much better. : )

Sarah Elaine said...

I think it's good to ponder goals and ask ourselves why we do what we do. The answers are less important than the fact that we ask the questions.

matt said...

i like the idea that you talk about here of being ready to go at a moment's notice. i hadn't considered it that way before, michelle. i think i want that kind of approach to what i am doing, as well.

i am excited to see what distance fits that mold for you. i love being on the journey with you. thanks for letting me be a part of that and for coming along for a ride on mine.

wonderful post, michelle...fills me with joy!

olga said...

I am with SarahElaine - the questions are more meaningful than answers. I may disagree with some and agree with another, and to me it seems you are unsure yourself. At the end we are alive only if we are asking. And I'll be your friend whether or not you run at all.

E-Speed said...

looking forward to your reaction to marathon! I know you will do great regardless of whether you decide to do it again!

Nicole said...

You are extremely inspiring to me all the time. I wish I didn't care what others thought about my pace so much. I really need to get back to just the joy of running - I'm headed that way again though.

JustRun said...

Sounds great to me! I think if you looked a little closer at some of the maniacs or competitive ones, you'd find that they're trying to reach the same balance and calm that you have, but in a different way. The quest for that satisfied feeling is a common thread among us.

Sue said...

Hi, what a great post - a reminder to us all what running is about - personal satisfaction.

Rose said...

I completely understand where you are at - there is more to running than "time." In all the years I have run over my life time, I've never been a money contender, so my "competition," such as it is, is whatever I make it. I love running now and I always want to love running. I already have a job - if running becomes a job, I'm not likely to want to do it anymore.

Jack said...

Personal satisfaction, that's what running is all about. Each person has their own flavor of running. I enjoy being my number one competitor.

Anne said...

I'm not sure I can really add anything to what everyone else has said, but I did want you to know that I loved this post and you speak well for all of us that don't need to be chasing medals to be fulfilled.