BAAAAAD attitude for yesterday’s long run. I was NOT a joy runner yesterday. I ran nine miles, a repeat of last week’s length, because I was accidentally a week ahead on training. Something just wasn’t working; I woke up tired, didn’t want to run in the first place, but being a creature of ridiculous habit of discipline about these things, and having plopped down my $85 for the upcoming, half-marathon I made myself go.
I did choose a great route, though it would have certainly helped to coordinate a run with friends. All those solo motivational tips I wrote about last week couldn’t quite penetrate the attitude yesterday. My mind and body were united all right, but united in rebellion against this whole running idea, and against the gloom of the day, even as I ran through one of the most beautiful spots on planet earth.
This water fountain has always been a little oasis in my many runs in this park, and it looked especially inviting today. I paused here for a whole bunch of gulps and a few minutes of not running, which gave me just enough juice for the last two miles.
Today I poked around the blogosphere looking for other runners’ motivation, and it cheered me up to find some new blogs to follow, and to hear that these dips in attitude (which I didn’t experience much in my previous trainings) are kind of par for the course. Many of the same things that get me through, the mental discipline of breaking the run up in my mind, the focus on the benefits of running, and just sheer determination, are the ingredients of many other runners’ ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Some people seem to be a little more motivated than I am by personal best times, and excellent race performances, whereas I’m not so much. I’m more of a zen of running kind of gal, so when I don’t have my running zen, I’m not so sure what I’m doing.
But this is where having lived through my mind’s (and body’s) ups and downs for 47 years comes in handy. A bad run is like a bad day. You can’t judge your larger goals and decisions (a 9-mile run, a half-marathon training) by one bad run, just like you can’t judge your life decisions by a bad day. I still got the job done. And in the last mile and a half, after seven and a half miles of resistance, I knew I was close enough to quit worrying about the road ahead. I even kind of enjoyed that last little bit.
And if I couldn’t have the zen of running, I at least had the extraordinary relief of being done running, and of walking over one of my favorite bridges, one that’s packed with swallow nests in the summer, and a great place to spy egrets in October and to see majestic bluffs in three directions. At this point, though I’d dropped my sweaty cell phone in my parked van and was wandering over the bridge cameraless, so I can’t show those egrets. I also felt lighter, and accomplished, and very deserving of the juicy few hours I was planning for myself of curling up in the Saturday afternoon, freshly showered, and reading a novel.
Lesson learned here: I’m probably reaching the limits of my personal motivation for doing long solo runs this time around. It’s time to call in the reinforcements. Next week, however much schedule maneuvering it takes, I’m going to snag myself a running body for the 10-mile challenge of the weekend. I have several good options, including my friend who’s training for the same race.
It’s also worth noting that this week in running had its ups as well as its downs. When the sun was out on the marsh trail near my house, my four-mile run on Tuesday seemed like a cake walk. Nine-mile struggles aside, I am truly getting in better shape. I think I just need the sun to come back out. While I’m waiting, I can remember this, and know what I get to look forward to next time, when, hopefully, my inner runner will be more willing to wake up and power me through.
In the meantime, though I know I have a very tiny band of followers here, I’d love to hear what other runners (or bikers or trail hikers or any kind of exercise enthusiasts) do when they hit those plateaus and moments of low motivation. Please write if you have something to share!