Monday, October 5, 2009

Chocolate Donuts and Knowing When to Quit

This was an interesting week. For starters, I was interested to see how my new 'fast mile' plan for October would turn out. And on day one I already got my answer. Yuck! Early one morning, I hit Katy Trail for a 1 mile warm up jog, and then a mile at my fastest pace-- which on that particular morning turned out to be 9:10. Hmmm.... I wasn't happy with this for 2 reasons: 1) I actually expected I'd at least be a little faster than this, and 2) I felt HORRIBLE doing it!... and I suppose I'll add a third reason-- it was no fun at all!

This now brings up an interesting question-- one that's interesting to analyze for many aspects of do you know when to quit? When do you need to just stick with something and keep at it, and when do you throw in the towel? I'm sure the answer will be different for different situations and different people. In general, I've tended to be a "never say die" sort of person. Never give in, never give up, second place is the first loser sort of mentality. In some respects I still have some of that in me-- but from the time I first took up running 2 years ago I planned on it being different. In the past I've had a history of getting involved in an activity very intensely, and then getting burned out on it within a few years. When I started running I knew I wanted it to be different, something I could enjoy for life.

I think I convinced myself that I hated running for so long because I always thought that it had to involve some aspect of misery, that you should feel horrible (tired/hard to breathe) when you run. How wrong I was!! And once I realized that I realized I love running. My philosophy when I finally started running consistently was 'if I'm not having fun, than I'm not doing it right'. So every race, every workout- I just do the best I can and make sure I'm enjoying it. If that means taking a walk break sometimes, that's what I do. If it means pushing myself to finish under a time goal- that's what I do. (Because setting a PR can also be fun).

I've got 48 more marathons I've committed to run for Susan's Foundation, and I'm going to finish every one of them. But I think one of the lessons I've learned most from Susan in this past year has been to keep life in perspective--don't get caught up in life details that don't matter, and make sure you're enjoying yourself along the way. Getting too wrapped up in intense training and time goals is not what running, or this fundraiser is about for me. Marathons are a journey-- not just the 26.2 miles you run on race day, but the entire training season. It's the people you meet and friends you make in the process. It's the life lessons and events that come up during a training season. It's about much more than just the running.

So-- all that deep thought being considered, here's my question. I planned to spend the month of October working on 'fastest mile' runs. However now I'm not so thrilled with that idea. Do I stick out my current plan in spite of that and see what I can learn in the process, or do I toss the whole idea early in an effort to keep training enjoyable? I don't know--- so I'm hoping you can help. Please make your vote at the top right corner of my blog. Whatever the verdict is by the end of the week I promise to go with. :) After all, it's all of you who own these Texas miles I'm running in 10 weeks-- you should have some input on the training that goes into them. :-)

One last comment on the topic of fun runs-- last weekend I did my long run with my friend Ashley. We had a great time chatting and running through Katy Trail and Uptown. During a brief stop at "On the Run" (appropriate, I know), we spotted the Hostess section and thought how fun it would be to have a Hostess stop during a marathon-- heck, during any run. So we went with the idea, bought a package of chocolate donuts and carried them along with us to snack on our last few miles. Hostess + long runs = brillance!! We'll definitely be doing that again!! :-)

15 mile run on the schedule this weekend! 10 more mile sponsors to find and 10 weeks until race day! We're on a roll everyone!! Keep up the good work!

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