Sunday, April 6, 2014

Slow (on the uptake)

I ran a 5K downtown this morning. It was attached to a more prestigious 10-mile course and back in November, when
registration opened, the 10-mile had sounded like a great challenge for me. Running the 5K today was a downgrade from my registration but I wasn't ready for the 10-mile I had hoped five months ago to be ready to run.

I'm trying to find my place in running. I'm short and slow. I'm not lithe and I don't even know if I like it, although I always very much like having done it. I like to run by myself and I don't like to listen to music. I don't want conversation or motivation. I want to beat only the voices in my brain, the ones that say "why are you working so hard? This isn't fun. You could just walk a bit. Take a break." In the lore of running, where you make a music mix with a certain number of beats per minute and have a best running partner and look like a runner and keep running because you're in love with running, I'm doing it all wrong. It is far harder for me than it ought to be to remember that what works for most people doesn't have to work for me.

My brain is my best cheerleader and my worst enemy. I'm trying to live in the narrow middle third, but it's like when the lovely husband is out of town but two kids climb in my bed. Sure, I got the middle, but it's so thin I can't touch both hips to mattress. The kids have the margins but the margins are most of the surface.

In my brain, it's

accept myself

and that middle third is a tricky, tiny path. It makes me take my already slow steps even more ploddingly. Just after the November registration was when my work life went all kablooey, and I've thrown myself at the change, and it led to promotion and opportunity and I'm charging at it full force, and I'm happy with myself for doing so. But I didn't anticipate any of that in November, and it's taken mental and physical energy from the finite powers I thought I might have been able to apply to endurance training for 10-mile runs. So I downgraded to the 5K, and if I sound apologetic for it it's because I feel a little so, it's just a 5K, that's not impressive, right? But I ran it. But I didn't feel proud today, not proudproud like I wanted to feel today, like
I expected to when I signed up. Because it was just a 5K.

I could have overextended myself (BE A MARTYR). Objectively, I'm satisfied with the reasonable boundaries I set this winter, ones like get some sleep. It's a skinny middle, though, see? I don't regret that I didn't run the 10-mile, but I am wistful that I couldn't do it all, that I couldn't find the wherewithal to push myself to new challenges simultaneously at work and out of it. If I'm not trying the hardest at all the things, am I really trying at all? It's not so easy here.

My legs are tired tonight, in a well-worked-tired way. My just-a-5K was a minute-per-mile faster than last year's spring 5K, it turns out. I am progressing, even if it's not how any other runner's progress-in-a-year would look. I'm not telling you this, I'm telling me.

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