I’ve been in marathon training mode twice yearly for the last three years. I’ve run more miles around my neighborhood than I have driven, seen more Lycra than should be legal, had more chub rub than my fair share, and gained, I like to think, some wisdom and perspective.
I don’t run marathons to win. Or better stated, my win means showing up on dark, cold mornings, hot afternoons, and then again on race day. My win means crossing the finish line with a smile on my face, or thereabouts. I don’t care as much about my time as I care about my performance. I want to feel strong, hit measured goals and find all the kernels of goodness I can.
About eight weeks into this session, I knew a fall race was going to be out of the question. Too many Saturday soccer games. Too many late nights meant missing too many early mornings. I knew Route 66, in my neck of the woods, was off the table because of work obligations. But an early December race would be even more challenging for my family, with hopolidays and December birthdays.
I kept up the illusion of training for nine more weeks, and then, oral surgery sidelined me the week of what would have been my longest run. I kept thinking something crazy would work out, even while I knew the truth. And so I finally shrugged off the vague, lost hope and learned to run again.
There is a difference between running and training. Running is fun. It opens my lungs while I meander and dither. I can go as fast or slow as I want, as far as I feel. I can skip a day without thinking I’m negating the all my other workouts. Training is fun, too, but it demands so much more, and the regimen can drain a person.
When I finally gave up the race idea, I felt joy rerun to my wings. I didn’t know how tired I was of dictated schedules until I stopped following them. That used to be the only way I ran, wheels on fire and pointed any which way. Marathons are no joke, though, so I had to buckle down. I adapted to the routine, grew to crave early morning track and late afternoon tempos.
And then I stopped. I stopped because at time, and in this year, the needs of my family take precedence. I stopped because I didn’t need to run 20 miles. I stopped, really, because I felt like it.
There is a time to rest. For me, it looks like resting from training, but not from running. What is your time to rest?