This is the second time I’ve started this blog post. The original post was basically a big moan about how over the past few weeks, I’ve totally lost my running mojo. I just don’t love running at the moment. I’ve been working towards the Healdsburg Half Marathon in October. Usually I LOVE a goal race. I love putting together a training plan, I love executing the training plan, I love doing the race. It’s normally something that gives me a lot of pleasure.
This August though, nothing is going to plan. There are a few reasons that spring to mind. The Husband has been away on and off, and will be for a few more weeks. This means more stroller running which isn’t a total joy and results in slower times. Also, we’re not in our usual ‘school-year’ routine, which always makes fitting a run into the day a little harder. But when I was out walking our latest canine houseguest today, it kind of struck me WHY I’m not loving running at the moment.
It feels so ridiculously trivial at the moment.
Like all of you without a doubt, the news from the Middle East has caused much sadness. The news always seems to be grim, but these current events in Syria, Gaza and especially Iraq just seem (to me) to be a new level of horror. The news always seems worse when it strikes a chord in our own hearts. We runners were particularly hard hit by the Boston Bombing. We parents (and anyone who loves a child) were particularly hard hit by the Sandy Hook killings. I don’t talk much here about my faith as it would be inappropriate, but as a Christian, the treatment of the Christians and Yazidi in Iraq has felt very personal. It’s left me feeling heart-broken, helpless and that most things in my day-to-day life is shallow, frivolous and silly.
I am sure I’m not the only one feeling this way. Posting on Facebook seems rude when our fellow human-beings are being massacred on the other side of the world. Blogging about running makes me feel very disrespectful. And yet, awful as it is to say, life here goes on relatively unchanged and we continue to run and blog and use social media. I’m as uncomfortable with it as you are.
So I’ve been trying to remember three things.
1) Running is not important but it is good.
I’ve always tried to remember that running isn’t important. It’s a hobby, it’s something I love, but it’s not important in the grand scheme of things. So whilst I struggle with the running doldrums at the moment, I am actually quite comforted to remember this. It isn’t important. I’m NOT going to worry about it.
However running is good. It is good for our bodies. It is good for our minds and souls. It is good for our mental health. It is a means of pushing ourselves and achieving things we didn’t think were possible. It gets us out in the fresh air. It keeps us fit and healthy. Running is GOOD.
Blogging is not important but it is good.
I’ve struggled a little to blog since the horrors of Iraq came to the news. Moaning about not hitting my goal times in a training run suddenly seems SO trivial and so disrespectful to those who are suffering.
However blogging is not a bad thing. My blog is only small but it has been so good to me. I have made so many lovely friends through this blog – either in real life or online. I’ve been inspired and challenged by all your achievements and of other people from blogworld. It has opened up opportunities like the Wild West Relay. It has encouraged me to run faster, to race harder and best of all to run trails. It’s made me feel like part of a running community, even though I run mainly by myself.
The only blog posts I’ve written that HAVEN’T felt trivial lately have been my Running The World posts. I love doing them because they open the world up to me (and, from your comments, to you as well.) I have loved discovering how running is helping empower women across India and Zimbabwe. I loved hearing about how the Beirut Marathon has helped unite Lebanese runners of different faiths. I was so happy to hear that in France, where women are continuously encouraged to be thin and have no cellulite, women are starting to love being strong and fit. These posts have reminded me how running can be a source for real good! So whilst blogging is narcissistic and trivial by nature, it can also be good and I am grateful for it.
Racing is not important.
I love racing. I freely admit that my 10k PR in February and my Half-Marathon PR in March brought me ENORMOUS delight and a lingering sense of satisfaction, badassery and pride in a job well done. I love the atmosphere of race day and the ‘race-day magic’ as Angela put it which somehow drives us to speeds we didn’t think we could do. I’ve been really excited about running Healdsburg in October. Racing can be the culmination and prize of all the hard work we put in on a day to day basis. I don’t want to denigrate racing at all – racing can be AWESOME.
But I’m not going to stress about my October running goals. I’m not going to stress about my splits not showing any real consistent improvement. I’m not going to spend any time wondering if I’m going to PR in October. Because racing isn’t important. It’s the icing on the cake and I thoroughly enjoy cake without icing.
So what now?
After all these grandiose thoughts, where does this leave my running?
I’m just going to keep on keeping on with my training plan. I shall stick with it as much as possible and, come September when the Dude starts school and we’re back in a routine, I shall try to push harder.I am not even going to register for Healdsburg until nearer the time, and if I am too late and it’s full – then so be it. I’m also going to try and get on the trails soon because they never fail to refresh the running spirit.
Sara, in Running The World: Sweden put it so beautifully.
I’ve come to the conclusion that running a 10k race 30 second faster, or so, won’t make me happier. But running in beautiful places will. That’s quite an insight which has completely changed the way I run, and made it more fun and more meaningful.
I knew I’d need to remember that at some point!