I never thought I’d be one of those runners who obsesses about split times and speedwork and PRs. In my short high school cross-country career, I was never fast enough to really give that stuff much thought. Swimming provided my competitive fix, and even after I graduated high school and quit swimming, I was happy to keep my running in slow-and-steady mode.
Then, I started running longer distances, and simply running a 5K or 10K wasn’t enough. I had to run them faster than I’d run before, and the need for (relative) speed started to seep into the longer races, too. This can be exhilarating — the transformative power of the clock can make us realize that if we can run a half-marathon faster than we imagined we could previously, we can do just about anything we put our minds to.
But right now, I need to do the opposite, and my motivation this week comes from easing up on the pre-run pressure. I am pulling back from time goals, and trying to go back to a time when running was more about the joy of motion. I am running how I feel, and marveling that “running how I feel” often yields the same pace as when I’m consciously pushing it.
Here’s what else is motivating me this week:
Brooks’ Run Happy ad campaign fits perfectly into my new, chilled-out approach.
The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Turkey Trot 10K on Thanksgiving morning does, too. Is it possible to take yourself too seriously when the word “trot” is involved?
A runner-friendly Thanksgiving later that day. My contributions to dinner: a roasted turkey breast, sweet-potato stuffing (made with whole-grain bread), lemon-orange cranberry sauce, roasted butternut squash and a harvest salad with pears, dried cranberries, and blue cheese. And a pumpkin pie. All homemade, mostly from goodies procured at the farmers market. Since I enjoy the cooking, I’m deeply excited about this (recipes to follow …). Looking for Thanksgiving inspiration? Check out Deena Kastor’s Thanksgiving recipes here. (Thanks to Heather, a runner and nutritionist, for pointing them out!)
Our amazing trip yesterday to Sugarloaf Mountain, a lovely landmark less than an hour from our apartment in Silver Spring, Md. If there is a better way to spend a sunny fall Sunday than by running up and down a mountain a couple times (literally, a couple — it was so much fun, we ran the paved part twice!), then hitting up the vineyard at the bottom of the mountain for a wine tasting, I’m not sure what it is.
Finally, I’m motivated by all my friends who ran the Philadelphia Marathon over the weekend. Marci and Jenn in particular ran gutsy races that had nothing to do with the transformative power of the clock, and everything to do with the power of finding out who you are as a human being.
What’s motivating you this week?