Monday, December 17, 2007

What was the turning point?

This morning I took a quick break from work and walked to the post office to get some stuff mailed out. On the way out, I saw these two guys using the steps of the post office to do some stretching before they continued their run. It was below freezing today with the wind chill factored in. Their cheeks were flushed red. But their laughter was unmistakable. I was instantly jealous.

Then I realized that I consciously decided to take a little break from running. After all, I just spent a good part of last week in bed nursing what was a really nasty cold, which no doubt was caused by the high intensity work load I get about this time of year. (The past two weeks of crisis management at work didn't help much either.)

I can't believe how much I actually miss it. I remember last week as I listened to my first running podcast, listening to Marathon Chris and how she deals with being a mother, flying to different states to work AND still find time to run.. AND podcasting while she's running! It made me think about my own turning point. Suffice it to say that I can't even put myself anywhere near the level of MC, but still, we all have that defining moment we can recall.

I think mine came around 2005 during the first Nike Run Hit Wonder race. At the time it was for pure bragging rights. A few of my friends did it and I place 19 seconds behind my friend John. (He's tall and skinny and younger than me.) But it didn't stop there. From a partial friendly competition, it fell away to a test of self-determination. I signed up for Road Runners that year and started entering races.

Running shorter races was one thing. But training for endurance became something much more. I waged inner battles with my conscience. I told myself I hated running and recalled the days in HS when I skipped out on the runs and just did the field events. But somehow, the other part of me asked what if. What if? What if I ran those nine races to qualify for the NYCM? What if I actually decided to do it? The what ifs turned me on. As this year wore on it was more about battling my inner demons. I was in competition with myself and no one else.

The problem with completing the marathon now, is that, I'm actually at a lost for what I'm going to do for a New Year's resolution. For the past five, it's been steady steps toward this goal. And now that I'm done. I feel like... What next?

Okay, I think I babbled on long enough. I think once the wind dies down and all that ice melts from the pavement, I'm going to strap on my running shoes and go for a quick run. It's time to get back into familiar territory!


peter said...

There's lots to go after, always. When I did a marathon, I wanted to do marathons (plural). When I broke five hours I wanted to break four hours. Now I want to break 22 minutes for a 3-mile race (22:09). I want to break 12,000 meters for an hour track run (11,600). I want to run an eight mile race at a sub 8-minute pace (8-mile races are hard to find). I want... I want... I want... It keeps me out there, so long as I'm not injured. Going places to run (marathons in NYC, Columbus, Minneapolis, Chicago, halfs in Disneyland, Disneyworld, relays on the Chesapeake and at Lake Tahoe, Race for the Cures in Princeton, Baltimore, Philly, Denver, etc.) jazzs up my travel. Running with a buddy makes my day. There's so much to do with running, it doesn't ever dry up.

Susan said...

Wow - Lisa! You are so accomplished! All I've ever had to do to run my races was just sign up -- not qualify!

I say pick a new race to be your New Year's goal. Maybe one you have to travel for -- like the Little Rock Marathon!!!! I can provide an excellent pit crew! :)

And ENJOY your break from running. I always plan to, then get swamped with other things (including colds). I am consciously trying to enjoy this break and focus on how my muscles are recovering, etc. It feels good!

Susan said...

AND -- a resolution for my that will be easy to keep is going to be -- brace yourself -- GROUP RUNNING. I have decided to take the plunge and do longruns with others, consistently!

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Hmmm, let's see, you could coach a Non-Runner, runner wannabe? :D

Great post. I love reading how people caught 'the bug'

I know you'll find and embrace the next challenge.

(how bout embracing another virtual race? I'm thinking of announcing another one...)

CewTwo said...

I do know what you mean. I will be driving along when I see a person running. I start asking myself, "how far in their run are they?" "What is the distance they are going for?" "Shouldn't he not raise his knees so far?"

Then I think I'll just pull up and ask. I never do but I do think about it.

Running is contagious!

Take care, friend!

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Email me and we can chat!

9 on the 9th is a Virtual Race. Bloggers all over the world (okay, really just a few that I correspond with!) take part in this Virtual race. We'd love to have you. We can talk about the nonrunner and marathon stuff too. :D :D

Non-Runner Nancy said...

I'm still waiting for the coaching :D