Getting My Groove Back

I used to really love running.

I would roll out of bed, push my contacts into my eyes, tie my running shoes – and just run a certain distance not caring a bit about pace, HR, or running form.

I was just happy to be out there, it didn’t matter if it was dark, cold, snowy, or pouring rain. 

I didn’t have to head out the door and come back 6 times because I forgot my watch or my HR monitor strap or whatever gadget I was supposed to strap to my body to monitor my vitals.

I just ran for fun.

I liked to run far.  The 15 mile runs were my favorite.  I loved to let my mind wander and feel the world move by below me – never once checking to see if I was in the right zone or on pace.  I just knew the loop I was running or the turnaround point of my run.

And to be honest, I believe I was rarely out of Zone 2, because I just ran slow, long, and relaxed – totally by feel.  When I ran in races I pushed hard, I could hold that faster pace for a long time, and always was surprised at my finishing time.

It isn’t like that anymore for me. 

 I dread the run I used to be so excited for. 

 There is just so much STUFF to remember (I have a wee tiny brain)… Plus, I know I am going to be always staring at my stupid wrist checking my HR (or waiting for the dreaded BEEP BEEP) and stressing about whether my HR is in the right “zone” or not (am I 2 beats in Zone 3? 4 Beats over Zone 2?  Wait. What was my Zone 2 again?)

 I know, many of you do it successfully and love it – and that is great.  But I swear for my entire life I have been the single square peg surrounded by a bunch of round pegs sitting comfortably in their round holes…and I keep trying to shove myself into a place I just don’t fit.

 I colored outside of the lines in Kindergarten too. 

When I stop trying to shove my way into something, and do what my gut tells me, I find the place I fit. 

I think this is where I am with running right now.  Trying to shove myself someplace I just don’t fit.

 I completely get the science of HR training.  Honest, I do.  It totally makes sense to me.  It works. 

I personally think that I was HR training (without the HR monitor) way back when I loved running just for the sake of lacing up my shoes and heading out the door to run the dirt roads and trails around my house.  

But right now, I would rather go and beat my buns on hill repeats or 800m sprints then stare at my watch for 2 hours trying to stay in Zone 2. 

Coming from someone who doesn’t have a single fast twitch muscle in her entire body, that is really saying something. 

I don’t really care so much about getting to the pointy end of the stick.  I have my own goals, and to be honest, not one of them includes a podium spot at any event.  

Crazy right?     

Don’t get me wrong, it would be really cool, but I don’t really train or race for that reason.  And if getting to that place means that I am not having fun in training, it just isn’t worth it to me. 

I train because I find it fun (some would call me sick for saying Ironman training is fun) and I like the way I feel when I am in shape, it lets me do the things I REALLY love (hike, ski), I love the people and close friends I have made through training, and I love the buzz you get when you cross that finish line that you worked so hard for.   

 It is all just fun.

But running hasn’t been fun for me for a long while.  Pretty much since I started messing with it.

So anyway.  I am making a change.  I am going with my gut.  It has always worked out for me before.

I am ditching the gadgets and just running by feel for a while.  I can see my coach and all other coaches and those in the “know” cringe when I say that. But I need to do what is going to keep me running happy.  Right now, I know this is it.

About caratunkgirl

Short spunky girl from the tiny town of Caratunk, Maine. Active outdoor girl. I am a forester, whitewater raft guide, Ironman and 5x marathoner with Ultra dreams. Always ready for the next adventure with my dog Porter by my side.
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35 Responses to Getting My Groove Back

  1. Regina says:

    I totally understand. I don’t feel that way about running, I feel that way about ALL of it: SBR. I am sans coach any longer and training is pretty crappy in terms of time put in right now, but I enjoy it so much more with no watch, no cyclometer, etc. just doing it for me. I’m not very competitive anyway. Color me happy…..and outside the lines.

  2. I think it’s awesome that you decided to go with your gut! You have to do what’s best for you..and if that means ditching the gadgets, then you should ditch the gadgets!
    Aimee (I Tri To Be Me) recently posted..REVIEW – PureFIt Nutrition BarsMy Profile

  3. Megan says:

    I am right there with you. I’m dealing with an injury right now and it’s really brought me back to WHY I do this. I do it because I like to sweat, I like to be fit and I like to drink beers after sweating. No, I am not the fastest, nor will I ever be, I’m just doing this because I want to. I have been stressing way too much about my pace and it’s really making me not like running. I need to leave the garmin at home and run just to run.

    Thank you for this post!

  4. Robert says:

    I’ve been running by feel for the last 4 months or so. Never been happier, or faster (but I’ve also been running a lot more). I still won’t give up my bike gadgets though.

  5. Christina says:

    Isn’t this the way that all middle and back of the packers should approach this sport? I mean, if you are on the verge of making a podium and you really want that hardware…then I get the whole hog approach to doing everything you can to shave some time off. But some folks take this so serious that I wonder if they have any fun anymore. Yours looks like a really healthy approach to me.
    Christina recently posted..Solid Bike RideMy Profile

  6. Coy Martinez says:

    This is fate that I read this today!! I’m so glad you wrote about all of this, I swear we’re cut from the same cloth. I lack the fast twitch myself. I HATE staring at my watch and I swear that it makes running such a bummer. I want one that only does distance, period. Even at that I normally know how long I’ve run :) I have another half marathon coming up in two weeks. The Garmin won’t be running with me.
    Coy Martinez recently posted..Ice Cream Giveaway – You Know You Want ItMy Profile

  7. Jeff Irvin says:

    You’re awesome Mandy – do what the gut tells ya!

    I am the opposite with this stuff – love my gadgets! I get stressed out running without my garmin. And each workout has a zone/pace goal that my OCD makes me hit!

    Good for you getting back to what you enjoy!
    Jeff Irvin recently posted..Ironman Mont-Tremblant Training Week #1My Profile

  8. Follow your heart (not your heart rate!) and the rest will fall into place. Life’s too short. Ditch the gadgets and get your passion back.

    One of my favorite things in the world is to run through the woods with no idea what time it is, or how far I’ve gone or what zone I’m in. :-)

  9. Christi says:

    You are doing the right thing my dear. If you are not happy with your training you will eventually not have fun. Trust me, that is where I was all last year. No fun. So trust your gut and do what works for you.
    Christi recently posted..Friday LyricsMy Profile

  10. Matt Oravec says:

    dude, my gut has a big mouth :)

    Hey, totally got that running funk too, just don’t like it, anything about it haha. Go by feel. Screw the HR shit, this should NOT BE A JOB!!!

    I just go out and do what I want. Once in awhile Heather’s incessant telling me that I am a lazy S.O.B. and I need to workout get’s me outside and training ;)

    Enjoy the runs (minus the beepy stupid gadget crap)!
    Matt Oravec recently posted..Ready… Aim… Fire!!!My Profile

  11. Anne-Marie says:

    Great job on sticking with your gut! You have to do what’s enjoyable for you… and if training with the HR monitor isn’t fun, why do it?
    Anne-Marie recently posted..2011 in review!My Profile

  12. adena says:

    Just do it because you love it and who cares about the rest!!! You don’t have to do anything just cause the other are, colour outside the lines, run without gadgets, as long as you love it, THAT is what matters. Life’s too short.
    adena recently posted..randoms..My Profile

  13. It has been over 30 years since I liked, forget about loved, running. Doubt it will ever come back.

  14. Kevin says:

    Love all of this. Running is supposed to be first and foremost fun. When it stops being fun, you are doing something wrong.

    I run with my Garmin everyday simply because it is the only way I will keep track of my workouts, but 95% of the time, I never even look at it until I get home.

    Good luck with running naked!!! ;)
    Kevin recently posted..Foto Friday: Don’t Laugh At MeMy Profile

  15. Matt Smith says:

    Well, although I’m not a pro or coach, I think you’ve got to follow your heart, and it’s telling you to run for fun! Do it! Hopefully it’ll put the fun back in so you can get back to the plan your coach is setting for you. Go, Mandy, Go!
    Matt Smith recently posted..Hello Spring…Where Have You Been?My Profile

  16. Katie says:

    I know everybody else already said this, but you’ve got to go with what makes you happy. If you don’t you won’t do it anymore, and then where would you be? I love your healthy attitude! Have FUN!

  17. I can deal with the gadgets though I’d be lying if I said I pay attention to what they say all the time. If feel and HR out of synch, HR is subordinated feel.

    I can totally understand where you are coming from.
    Patrick Mahoney recently posted..Oceanside Training Diary – Week 14My Profile

  18. Old school! I like it. The more you train by feel the less obsessed you can get about staying in a certain pace range or zone. it does make training much more fun.
    Carolina John recently posted..It’s Maniac Time!My Profile

  19. Molly says:

    I totally get it. I don’t have any major races this year, so it’s about having fun again. I ran without my garmin twice this week. GASP!!
    Molly recently posted..The Ultimate Beginner’s Running Guide: Giveaway!My Profile

  20. Beth says:

    I think that’s a great plan! HR training does NOTHING if you’re hating it so much that you don’t run at all. Enjoy the long runs!

  21. Erin Lane says:

    And this is why I love you and you are my dear friend.

  22. shannon says:

    Definitely gotta remember why you got into it in the first place :) Enjoying what you’re doing is the most important!!
    shannon recently posted..Chicken Stir FryMy Profile

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