In case you haven't noticed, my last run was over a week ago. I've been in DC chaperoning a trip for my 8th graders. We had 70 kids go this year, and over three days we saw the important political sites, memorials and monuments, and museums. Basically, we were up at 6am and in bed after 11pm, going nonstop. I didn't run all week, and the pain in my knees, legs, and hips was so bad (and our weekend was so packed), that I took both Saturday and Sunday off.
I mean to run tomorrow, and my next 5k is on Saturday so I really need to get back into things, but I'm plagued with doubt. For one thing, I haven't run a full run (3 miles or more) since last Tuesday, because of the shoe dilemma. For another, I finally have new shoes but I haven't worn them yet, so if they cause any pain or trouble, I won't have time to figure it out before the race. The biggest reason for my self doubt is probably that the difficulty of finding new shoes has left me doubting my ability to even run at all...and this has led to frustration and the unfortunate effect of me forgetting to have fun while running.
I'm in need of a reminder that, while I took a week off from running, I didn't sit on a couch and do nothing. I've found myself constantly reminding myself that I spent three days walking all over DC; I certainly wasn't sedentary. So why do I still feel like I haven't gotten any exercise?
Touring DC definitely pushed my comfort level, but not at all in the way running does. Walking as a means to get to a destination is simply not the same as running for...well, for all the reasons we have that don't include "basic mode of transportation". I run to feel free, to relieve stress, to enjoy alone time, to clear my head, to feel amazed at myself and my capabilities...Walking from Point A to Point B simply isn't the same. Although over three days I probably got more exercise than I usually would based on my regular running schedule - walking hills, mile after mile, for hours straight - it just didn't have the same mental benefits as a good, strong run.
The point of this blog is to motivate myself when I'm beginning to lag. This entry is basically a way to rev my running engine, because after a week off, no matter the reason, it takes a ton of motivation to get me moving. I had a blast in DC and I'm so happy I had the opportunity to go and chaperone my kids. I haven't been there since I was in 8th grade myself, and seeing everything as an adult was so meaningful. I learned a lot about my students outside the classroom, and over all it was a spectacular experience.
Monday brings us back to the grind: three more weeks of school, and back into training. DC left me with something really motivating, actually. I have never seen so many runners! Everywhere we went, runners passed us. They jogged through the memorials, used the steps for training, ran through the streets. I had been drifting toward a place of frustration, which could have led to giving up. But those hundreds of runners reminded me to focus on the fun. I'm not going to worry too much about the 10k I've been wanting to do. I'm going to run the 5k Saturday (it's a trail race, so it will be for fun, too, not to beat a PR) and then I'm going to let my legs take me where they will.
I don't have to set a goal monthly. I plan to be a runner the rest of my life. That's my long-term goal, and it's really the only one that matters. For now, I don't want to add more stress to the one thing that is my stress relief. I just want to run, and have fun doing it.