Ever have those days when you feel like you just need to slap some sense into your thick skull? No? Is it just me?
I've been carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders lately allowing frustrations to turn into stress, stress into anxiety, and anxiety into exhaustion. Staying focused on my goals ahead has been wearing me down mentally and physically. The constant need for progress greets me early in the morning and flows through my blood all day long leaving me sluggish and tired.
Maximizing my workouts has been the fuel that has been feeding me, but for the past week or so my tank has been extremely low on gas. Running has become more of a chore, something that I just need to tick off of my to-do list in order to move on to the next task. And I don't want my running to feel like this, EVER.
With the idea of progress comes the need to constantly distract myself and not let my heart be silent and still. Notions that relaxation and silence are a waste of time are rattling around in my head lately. Truth be told, life is good. There really is no need to be making myself into a tizzy. I have a wonderful husband and family, a job that while isn't a perfect fit for me right now still meets a majority of my needs, my health, love, support, and the ability to run like the wind...some of the time.
No secret here, I want to run fast. I want to fly and feel strong and powerful doing it. But lately my desire to be fast has trumped my desire to run and feel free and uninhibited. I have taken all of the fun out of running and have been making workouts serious business filled with pressures and stress to make progress. Dang you progress, why must you torture me? I appreciate that there any not any worthy achievements in life that do not come with out hard work and dedication, but for some reason my heart lately has been paying tribute to this lovely manifesto incorrectly.
Last night I decided to postpone my planned mile repeats and instead run just for the hell of it, like the olden days. I made a running groves mix, popped in my ear phones, laced up my shoes and headed out the door. While I was sweating like a beast and rockin out to the most random mix of tunes imaginable, I took a moment to pay tribute to what I was actually doing. I WAS RUNNING. Yes that sounds silly, but I was engaging in an activity that some can only dream about at a leisurely 7:40 pace for 11 miles. Dusting the dirt off my shoulders and reminding myself that pace is relative and numbers are not definitive of who I am was necessary. The pressures only exist because I put them there, and I have the power to make them fizzle away.
Running is just like every other experience in life, there are peaks and valleys. Right now I'm in a valley, a very desolate and barren valley that I am eager to get out of and pushing hard to get past. Running is not easy and if it were then everyone would do it; world records wouldn't hold significance and Ryan Hall would just be a normal guy. This valley will pass and it is a sign that progress is being made, and I just need to have a patient heart and give my body time to make adaptations...and let the pressures go.
So today I headed out for those mile repeats, pressure free. The plan was to just take them one at a time and not be concerned if I was off pace or needed to put a kibosh on the workout. No stress or pressure, just enjoy running fast. That attitude left me feeling strong and confident and able to live in the moment.
Goal pace: 5x1600's @ 6:18
Actual pace: 6:19, 6:16, 6:15, 6:11, 6:17
There are far more people in this world that endure far worse then I; those that I am focused on raising money for in Africa with Team World Vision, my friend Nicole whose running journey never seems to be easy, those that are jobless or homeless and are hungry on a daily basis. Life isn't about one day or one experience, it's about all of the moments when our character is put to the test and how we choose to move forward into the future. Running isn't the end all be all for me, it's just something that I do to bring me joy. I'm moving on to the future with joy in my heart for the life that I've got.
Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews couldn't have summed up my feelings any better