Several years ago I made a post about being a real runner. Here's the link if you'd like to read it. Strangely enough, even though I wrote that post when I was in my running infancy I think it still pertains to the way I feel about running.
What I'd like to add to it, at this point, is another reason why I think I must be a real runner, and that is, my solitary state. I run alone. Everyday when I run, I run alone. Now don't don't get me wrong. I actually like it, for the most part. I get to set my own pace. I don't have to make conversation while I'm trying to run (which I'm not very good at anyway). I don't have to work around anyone else's schedule. You get the idea. But it has really hit home this past week or two as I face running an actual race alone.
The Santa Barbara 1/2 marathon is coming up in a couple of weeks. I kept waiting for someone else to say they wanted to run it with me. Brad was game, but ended up pulling his hamstring and getting a horrendous case of poison oak that derailed any sort of training on his part. In the end no one came forward. Last year it was just me and a bunch of the guys that ran it. It was kind of weird but, I loved knowing that there was someone else out there that I know running the same course, someone that I might catch a glimpse of, even if we weren't running together. It just wasn't in the cards this year. So, then the question begs the answer, should I run it anyway?
Well, I guess the answer is YES! I signed up and booked our hotel last week (luckily I have an awesomely, supportive husband who will at least accompany me to the race, even though he can't run). I am running the race alone! I don't know whether to cry or whether to raise my arms over my head and and roar.
I envy those who have training buddies, who depend on each other, who motivate each other, who have similar goals, who can talk about aching shins, or being chased by dogs together. I envy those run in groups or pairs, who inspire others to want to run with them, who get others to say, "Well, if you're doing it, I want to do it too." It sounds sad. It is for a second I guess. This is they way life works though, right?
Don't pity me... It's Ok, this has just proved to me that I MUST be a real runner. While looking at a blog today I found some words that truly inspired me. In the end it doesn't matter what other people are doing. I choose this. I feel good when I run, especially long distances. It makes me feel self-masterful. It makes me feel like I've achieved something. And I have. And somebody, somebody who wrote this, out there understands.
So really, I'm not a die hard. I struggle EVERY single time. I've learned I just can't think about it too hard. I just have to tell myself, I'm going, determine how far and make sure my gear is prepared. Then I just have to go. No rechecking my email or Facebook. No warming up just a little more. No fiddling with my iPod. I just have to start the workout and GO! Seriously if I think about it too much I end up not going. I also have to remember not judge a run by the first mile, and in most cases by the first three miles. I have to remember that I am never sad I got out there to run AFTER I'm finished.
Positive self talk is important and there has to be lots of it. I think I've learned a lot of life's lessons by running.
1. Be positive
2. Be prepared
3. Don't give up
4. Pay attention
5. Keep it simple
6. Endure to the end
7. Enjoy God's creations
8. Count your blessings
9. Some days are harder than others
10. Good stuff comes after you push through the hard stuff
Here's a picture that just kind of says it all. Pretty much how I feel everyday before I go out.
Here's another thing that has happened to me recently, but sadly, instead of continuing on, I turned around and came back (only a mile shorter than intended, but still) I'm going to do better in the future if this happens.
It's also my intent to enjoy things more. Look around me, maybe stop to take a picture or two. Make it into art. Artist inspire me. I want to be a running artist.
Here's to running 10 miles tomorrow! Wish me luck!