(You’re going to have to forgive me for being single-mindedly focused on this damn marathon right now.
A week away, and then I’m SURE I’ll find something else to talk about.)
A friend on DailyMile recently posted about why he runs and what he wants to get out of running. And it’s had me thinking, pretty much non-stop about why I run.
The honest truth is that I started running because I wanted to lose weight and do something awesome. And truly, if it weren’t for my friend D’s insistence that I could, in fact, run a half marathon… well, I’d probably 30lbs heavier and even MORE of a headcase than I am today.
Because running plays really well into my need to control The Chaos That Is My Life.
When you sign up for a race, it’s chaos and panic. Holy shit, what have I done? How will I manage the distance? No fucking WAY can I run [insert distance here].
Then there’s the planning mode. The research of running programs. Is Hal Higdon’s better than Running World’s program? How about we cobble together BOTH of them?
Then putting it into a spreadsheet (I SO love my spreadsheets) and printing them out to post at h0me and in my office.
And then logging the times for my training runs.
See, the data keeps me honest. On the mornings where I don’t want to get out of bed at 4:30 to run – it’s the only thing that gets me out of bed. I have a Plan and if I don’t follow it, I won’t be able to run [insert distance here].
Yet this tendency also puts a lot of pressure on me. I’ve really seen it this training cycle. If I skip a run, I’m not going to make my weekly mileage goal, and OMG I can’t possibly run a marathon if I don’t do the miles. And then, even on a run, the goal is to better my times, to get fitter and faster so I can be a real, legit runner.
I’ve been very fortunate in that this single-minded focus on a training plan hasn’t gotten me injured. Because this sort of behavior is ripe for injury – pushing through the pain because I need to do what the numbers on my spreadsheet say!
Ironically, I’ve never thought of myself as a perfectionist.
I’m starting to realize that maybe I am.
The past week and a half of taper has really brought things into focus. I was SO TIRED last week, and just couldn’t pound out the mileage like my training plan told me.
And everything I’ve read has been that taper should equal rest. That it’s one of the most important things that so many runners ignore. And if I focus on resting, it’ll help me have a better race than if I showed up at the start on tired legs.
This concept has set off a war between Jekyll and Hyde in my head. I skip a run because I focus on rest, which at the time feels like the right decision.
But then the OCD chick in my head second guesses that decision all freaking day, because I have a plan and OMG I didn’t follow the plan! Chaos!! I can’t handle the chaos!!!
And I’d love to tell you that I don’t listen to the OCD chick in my head, but too often I get sucked into her mindset.
Because uncertainty is scary.
I don’t KNOW for certain that I can run 26.2 miles all at once. I’ve never done it before.
Trusting uncertainty is hard. That’s why my OCD chick exists. She tries to remove uncertainty, to control the uncontrollable.
Maybe I need to learn how to let her go.