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Wise Running

Train smart, eat well, and enjoy the run.

Tag Archives: dreams

Renewing Your Love for the Run

“Keep your love for running as your highest priority,
regardless of your running goals.”
— P. Mark Taylor

I am tired.  Since the end of 2009, I have been training.  I trained for marathons.  I trained for Ironmans.  For just over 8 years, I have raced 800 meter races, mile races, 5Ks, 10Ks, 15Ks, 10-milers, half marathons, marathons, half-Ironmans, Ironmans…

…and now…  .. I am tired.

Yes, I have taken breaks.  Sometimes I have gone a week without running.  Sometimes I have gone a month without any serious training.  The breaks were scheduled for my health and for my long-term success.  I have planned so carefully, done the calculations countless times, and my breaks were very much designed to lower my cortisol levels and give my body a chance to recover so I could go hard again safely.

…even so… ..I am tired.

I am the only one putting pressure on myself.  I want so badly to succeed.  I am fifty and I hear the clock ticking.  It haunts me like the crocodile chasing Captain Hook.  Time is ticking loudly.  It taunts me:

  • “You will never reach your goals!”
  • “You are too old to make it to the next level.”

The constant ticking of the clock is not the only taunting I hear.  I hear the same old negative thoughts that everyone hears:

  • “You just don’t have it.”
  • “You must not want it bad enough.”
  • “You are doing it wrong; no wonder you always fall short of your goals.”

The worst part of the taunting is that it has my own voice.  I hear these things and I hear myself saying them.

…and I am so tired, so weak, so disheartened…

secret-city-2012__SQUARE.jpgRelighting the Fire

I am not physically tired.  I am healthy and strong.  I am just washed out emotionally as it relates to my athletic pursuits.

I have heard it said that the best way to handle your kids in sports is to say, “I just love to watch you play/run/throw because I see how much you enjoy it.  It makes you happy.”  The same experts say that the worst thing you can do is make your kids practice and/or compete as if it were a chore.  A lifelong love for a sport is fueled by the love of doing it.

The same is true for running, triathlon, and any other sport you do as an adult.  Whether you are training to finish a 5K or training to qualify for Boston or Kona, it still remains true.  You can keep a strict running schedule, but always keep your love for the sport primed.

Happy Place Number 1

In my first book, I had a little section about rekindling the love by going back to your happy place.  For me, that means cross country.  Run in the grass.  I love going to parks where there the local high schools have cross country courses set up.  These runs are nearly never compatible with my current training for various reasons.  When I run cross country, I run for the love of it.  I am happy.  I have only run one trail race in the entire span since starting to train in 2009.  That was last week.  I let my goals take me away from my happy place… until now.

Happy Place Number 2

My other happy place is the long run.  I have always enjoyed the longer distances, especially the marathon.  I get into a zone where I am relaxed and the world is a great place to be regardless of any present circumstances.  The thought of it brings a smile to my face.  I let my knowledge of the sport of running and triathlon take me away from more frequent long runs, rides, and swims.   I carefully balanced my training for minimal wear and tear along with maximal performance.

In my planning for minimal wear and tear, I took myself away from my happy places.  I stole the me-time that fuels my passion for running and triathlon.

…and that has worn me out…     … and I am oh so tired..

Renewing Your Love for Your Sport

Some people reach this point and just give up.  This is not a solution.  Giving up running is a way to stay permanently away from the things that bring you joy.  Not good.  The solution for being tired of your sport comes from rearranging priorities, not from giving up.

Remember the things about your sport that made you love it.  Go there early and often.  Prioritize it above performance, above the logical things that lead to being great.  Plan your training, but always keep in mind what keeps you in love with the sport.

Put “love of the sport” days on your weekly calendar.
Allow yourself flexibility on distance, pace, and time.
The goal of those training days is to smile.

Enjoy the run.
just P Mark__my signature

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It just hit me! Bucket List Item #1 is Done!

Most of my posts are written to give advice and help my fellow runners.

This one is personal.

________________

Tonight I was sitting in my comfy chair watching the X-Factor and thinking about the conversation that I had with my son tonight.  He just finished his last cross country season.  He was not the fastest runner on the team during his senior season, but he saw vast improvements in his personal record.  He just got to the point where he really started enjoying running and now it has come to a close.  I was talking to him about continuing to run.  I really do not want to see him stop now and then regret it a decade or two down the road.

But now, it was just me sitting in the living room and thinking about my own path.  I was watching another singer hit another awful note as I remembered how an unsolvable case of tendonitis had kept me from my dream of being a competitive marathoner.  I never thought about being world-class, but back in 1984 I thought I had a shot at gradually getting fast enough to win some smaller marathons or at least being in the top ten.   That dream faded as several doctors looked at my tendonitis and could not find a cure.  By the end of 1985, my dream was pretty much done.  18 years old and my biggest dream was dead.

I ran a few miles on and off through the years, but I did not run regularly again until late 2009.  I went to the doctor, this time about knee pain and he said it would be permanent.  “Run less than 3 miles and never run hills,” he said.  Thankfully, I did not listen to the doctors this time.   I gradually increased my mileage and survived the Oak Ridge Half Marathon in 1:59:27.

It has been nearly 3 years since that race.  I have completed 4 marathons since then.

Marathon 1 – Knoxville Marathon – April, 2010 – 5:34:38
Marathon 2 – Knoxville Marathon – April, 2011 – 3:55:59
Marathon 3 – Seven Bridges Marathon – October, 2011 – 3:27:27
Marathon 4 – Seven Bridges Marathon – October, 2012 – 3:22:44

The reason I only improved by 5 minutes between the last two is because I was sick for most of this year.  After 6 months of guesswork, the doctors finally figured out that I have become gluten-intolerant.  Despite this setback, I have managed to figure out how to get much faster.  Unfortunately, I cannot process all of my food effectively at this point.  If my gut heals well, I “should” see another significant jump in time.  I am always thinking about the next race.  🙂

What hit me so hard tonight, so deep down in my heart, was that my dead dream has been revived.  I am a marathoner.  I am not elite, but I am a good marathoner.  When I first started dreaming of being a marathoner, I thought this would happen well before 1990.  It took a few more decades than I planned, but I am a marathoner.  I haven’t made the top ten in a small race just yet, but…

  • I have placed 20th and 22nd in my last two marathons
  • I have won my age group in one marathon
  • I have qualified for the Boston Marathon (2014)

I am who I set out to be.  I am not done, mind you.  I will continue to train hard and aim for PRs for a while.  I would like to run 2:45 or better before I am done, but right now…

…to tell you the truth…

…I am a little choked up & trying not to cry…

…It happened 11 days ago, but it just hit me…

My dream was dead, but now has come to pass.

Bucket List Item #1 has been completed.  I am a good marathoner.

___________

Train hard. Race easy. Happy Running!

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The Gift of Running,by P. Mark Taylor, is now available in both paperback & e-book

Paperback Version – Amazon.com $9.00

Ebook Version – Kindle Store $2.99

Ebook Version for Nook $2.99

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