Saturday, June 14, 2014

Come Back to Nowhere

Six(!) years ago when I first began this blog it was entitled My Runners Feet and was a place where I would reflect upon my efforts training to run local road races. It's now been just over two-and-a-half years since my last road race (a very pedestrian performance at the 2011 Rochester Half Marathon), which was itself my first race in a year. There were periods 5-6 years ago where I would compete in a road race a weekend at distances ranging from 5-40k. Of course, this was when I was younger, and lacked other outlets for my need challenge myself to improve and occasionally test my mettle against like minded individuals; a need since filled by coaching three seasons a year and watching my own kids compete in a variety of activities.

From the Finger Lakes 50k Trail Race in July 2009.
This past December, after electing to step away from coaching for a season for the first time in four years, I joined a local gym. My intent was to hit the treadmill more frequently, a plan which worked as long as I could convince myself that I wasn't too busy to workout. After going to the gym in fits-and-starts over the past five months (an event that was much more regular during long breaks from school or the late winter months when I wasn't coaching), I've found myself outgrowing the production available with running in place in an enclosed room.

And now I am back on the roads, though shuffling more than running, and putting in significantly less mileage. This might seem to suggest a comeback of sorts, but I'm unsure just where I coming back from or to the exact location I am travelling. A coaching-mentor of mine, who even at the age of 60 still runs daily, once shared with me his displeasure with running road races. "I did one of those about fifteen years ago. Why pay," he would ask when I would tell him I'd signed up for a race back-in-the-day, "to do something you love to do and can do for free?" With his words resurfacing in my head, and my own pride at such low mileage and pace, I don't envision myself signing up for anything anytime soon. The goal right now is to work the same plan I gave my prospective high school girls cross-country runners for the summer (basically 20-35 minutes, 5 days a week), in hopes of being more helpful in helping them meet their competitive goals. But I know myself, and at some point a more tangible target/goal will be necessary to my continuing to get up and out.

This morning I "ran" just a little over 3.5 miles as a LONG run, a distance that years ago would have been an early Sunday morning warm-up. After struggling through, though, there is still a tremendous sense of accomplishment in doing something, that I had not done in my recent past, and, I suppose, therein lies the comeback.

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