One of the things I love about running is its objectivity. You can pretty easily tell if a run was better or worse than another. It’s not an opinion; it’s in the numbers. Sure, the numbers don’t tell the whole story. Weather, terrain, the food you ate, how crowded a course is, they all play a part. We, the runners, the owners of the numbers, know the full story.
When I see 5:37:39, I think about my first full. I don’t think about barely making the cut-off or being embarrassed. I feel damn proud. I think of shouting, “Oh crap! I’m running a FULL marathon!” when the half marathoners split in another direction, I think about trying hard not to trip on a billy pot, I think about the last six miles (which took forever) and how much Stephen and I kept each other going. I think about crying as we jogged our way to the finish with our arms up in the air.
For the most part, I’ve done a fairly good job of not comparing myself to others. I might try to catch another runner in a race, but I’m usually plenty happy to see others do well and concentrate on my own progress. It doesn’t hurt that for the last few years, my times have gotten better and better mostly by just running consistently. You’d think that comparing present performance vs. past performance would be a good thing. But lately, that’s the thing driving me crazy.
Back in 2011 (just two years ago), I was running with ridiculous regularity. I’m talking about the kind that Jamie Lee Curtis is promising you in the Activia commercials. Every few days, I was pounding the pavement. If you couldn’t find me, chances were, I was squeezing a few miles in. These legs were made for running and that’s just what they did.
Now? I’m struggling to run three times a week. I’m struggling to make the full distance in my long runs (which aren’t even that long yet!). It’s not because I can’t do it. I’m just not doing it.
Instead of making the runs happen, I’m making excuses: it’s too hot, I’m too tired, I’ll do it tomorrow, I want to spend time with Stephen, wah wah wah.
While some of the excuses are more founded than others, they are all excuses. (The time it takes me to run a few miles isn’t taking that much away from the time I’d spend with Stephen.) I don’t really like how it feels to punk out. I’m goal oriented. I smile with glee when I get to put a check mark on my training plan and enter my runs into Daily Mile.
I’ve tried to figure out why. Why am I slacking and not motivated and not giving a crap this time around?
I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m sick of it. So I’m putting it out there now: I’m done with excuses and skipping runs and giving myself a pass. All I need to do is run three times a week. Totally manageable. So I’m going to do it.
Part of the reason I’m okay with that 5:37:39 marathon is that I knew I put in the time during training. That’s something to be proud of. I want to feel that way again.