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.
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.