The morality of running seems like a stupid title, and it is. There is no morality in running. You either run or you don’t. In your life, this year, this month, this day. It just is. And it is not good or bad.
So why is it that I have inserted all sorts of morality and personal judgement into my running? I have been running/ triathaloning (is that even a word?) for 10 years now. Not consistently, there have been days, months, years when I didn’t do any training at all. But I always seem to come back to it as an activity I really love. The major problem with this inconsistency is that I have developed a lot of “shoulds”
- I used to be able to run 8 minute miles, I should be able to do that now
- I should be able to run further than that run, I used to be able to do that
- I gained 30 lbs, how did I let that happen. I should have watched my food better.
- My favorite workout used to be a 6 mile tempo run. I should still be able to do that.
All of those shoulds are stealing my joy of the run. While plodding along today, I wasn’t happy to be out on a brisk morning enjoying the sunshine (finally!) and feeling good that I was working towards a goal. I was feeling bad that I was much slower than I used to be. I was feeling fat and not worthy of calling myself a runner. I was judging myself pretty harshly. My effort was bad because it was slow. Good runners would be going farther than I was this morning. I injected morality into my running. And my running is no place for morality. I am not a good person because I am a good runner, and I am not a bad person because I am at the back of the pack.
So I am leaving the judgement at home. For the next 2 weeks, I have no other goals than to run every day. I can run slow. I can run short. I can take walking breaks. I am leaving the watch at home. I don’t need to know how far I ran, or how fast. I need to learn to love running again. I think that since inconsistency caused the shoulds, that consistency will be the cure. That and learning how to leave the morality out of running.
Act 1: Iditarod
The bridge over the Stones River is covered in ice. Jenx is not happy about this. However he has traction and I don’t, so he pulls me across the bridge while I skate. We make it the Civil War fortress and continue our run to the park.
Act 2: Ignoring the Warning Signs
We jog past the playground, and head toward the trail head. Next to golf course, the sidewalk slopes steeply toward the river. There were 2 orange barrels there, but they weren’t blocking the greenway, just sitting on either side of the trail. We happily jog past the barrels, and hit the crest of the slope. Then Jenx’s feet come out from under him. Immediately followed by my feet coming out from under me. I hit the ground, and slide 6 feet down the hill – which can be best described as an ice slide – Opryland has nothing on the greenway today. I am not sure how I managed to get the two of us back up this ice hill.
Act 3: In Which Jenx Lays down the Law
Despite our relatively short run, I am ready to call it a day, and we turn around at the top of the ice slide and return to the car. Things go well until we arrive back at the Stones River Bridge. We make it about 10 yards on the bridge when Jenx lets me know he is completely over the ice and will not be continuing this run another step. He does this by dragging me backwards along the ice to the safety of the paved sidewalk. Then he lays down. And refuses to get back on the bridge. I try dragging him – doesn’t work. I try coaxing him – doesn’t work. Each time, I get slid back to the sidewalk. Short of swimming across the Stones River, there is no way to get back to the car without crossing this bridge. I pick the dog up. The 60 lbs dog. And CARRY him across this extremely long, extremely icy bridge.
I have had a hot shower and am drinking a cup of coffee. The dog is showing his appreciation for carrying him across an icy bridge by running like a maniac through the house while ripping pages out of magazines.
Bling is motivating. And I saw this picture of the Disney Princess Half Marathon Bling that I am doing in February. And I suddenly got my mojo back.
I went for a run this morning. Jenx was beside himself to get outside again. That poor dog. It has been 3 weeks since he had been on a run. It was a big deal, because it was raining. Starting a run in the rain takes some dedication. I like running in the rain, it makes me feel hardcore. But it is hard to convince yourself that you really do like running in the rain.
I am trying not to focus on time or distance. Which is also hard. But do you know what makes it easier? Losing your GPS watch that you love running with. (Yep, I did that) So I did about 3 miles in about 30 -40 minutes. And I am trying to be ok with that.