Monday, September 16, 2013

The Most Inspirational Post. Not.

As is true 99% of the time, I am completely enjoying running.

However.  I find myself feeling disassociated from any semblance of....a goal.

I'm going through the motions of "training" or running--again, enjoying myself--but not mustering the passion to care about the results.  Not particularly concerned that more often than not, the results aren't impressive.

Example one:

My easy runs have gradually gotten slower, and slower, and slower over the course of a year.  There was a time when easy runs were a 7:40-8:00 pace.  They have been 8:30-9:30 pace forever now.  It's a rare peppy day when I'm mindlessly cruising at an 8:00 pace.

Example two:

I ran 12 x 400s last week as my once/week hard run to motivate myself for the San Jose RnR half marathon in 2.x weeks (boooooooo hisssss RnR.  Since it doesn't affect me, as a non-elite and as someone who has unimpressive knowledge of elites, it's not my place to rant.)

I ran each one in 84-87 seconds.  Aka 1:24-1:27.  I'm not sure why I'm in the habit of typing it out in seconds instead of minutes:seconds.

That is exactly FIVE seconds slower than what I could and should be running them in.

Earlier this year, 79-82 seconds was the game (1:19-1:22).  No problem.

A five second difference for a little one-lap repeat is pretty huge, no? That's a 20-second difference per mile.  Ouch.

So here's where I am at, to bring it full circle: cognizant that my running progress is stagnant, or in decline, and then not really.....caring.  Noted. Move it along.

This entire year has been so non-running focused for me.  You've heard it all before: I have more responsibility and have been consistently busy at work.  House hunt.  Wedding planning.  Honeymoon planning. Bachelor watching. Food.  So much food to eat.

There are other shifts in my devotion to goal-based running this year.  I find myself caring more about getting in some healthy socializing at 11:00 p.m. on a Friday or Saturday night than being up early for a weekend run.  I care more about visiting my niece at TrainTown at 10:00 a.m. than waking up early on Labor day for a run.  I care more about getting early brunch with the Gentleman on a Sunday after a week of seeing each other for a collective 3 waking hours than going on a 3 hour run.

Trying very hard to suppress a smile at Train Town

I cannot focus on running goals.  I cannot get myself to care about them this year.  When it feels like a huge accomplishment to peel myself out of bed after 5.5 hours of sleep to go for a run, I can't muster the extra energy to care what my pace is on that run, or if I follow some speed work plan.  Just going for the run is enough.

Speaking of being underslept.  I also hit the track last week Friday for what I hoped would be a 5-ish mile tempo run around a 6:30 pace.  It was my fifth morning in a row of sleeping 6 hours or less, and I was feeling the weight of the lack of sleep.

The way I would describe how it feels to be running when you are underslept, is like having a bad dream.  Like you're doing everything to propel yourself forward, but some mysterious force is holding you back and it is confusing as hell.  Like you are underwater.

My first mile was 6:53, and so that game plan of 6:30's went out the door.  I managed to succeed in turning the run into a "progression" 5-miler instead, with: 6:53; 6:48; 6:42; 6:38; 6:24.*

That will do I suppose.  I'm too tired to care.

*ya know, track miles are so, so much easier than normal miles, so I take these numbers with a huge grain of salt.  I would add 30 seconds to each mile to reflect what I would probably be running on the open roads.

In further pathetic news, I also have this problem where internet "inspiration" has the opposite effect on me.  Reading about other runners on twitter and blogs who are so devoted to catching their goal--their Olympic trials qualifier, their sub-3:00, their BQ--makes me feel like sighing and giving up.  Like, THAT'S what a goal getter talks like.  It's on their brain and fingertips all the live long day. It's the first thing they think of when they wake up; it's an intense drive for them.  My drive to reach running goals is just this little whisper buried underneath piles of youtube videos and legal papers that says "if you feel like it, run hard today.  Or tomorrow.  Or whenever."

Does anyone else get unmotivated by vocally motivated people?

I need some diversity in my twitter feed.  The running chatter is sometime a bit much.

Swimming And A Tummy Picture So Be Warned

Since I quit the fancy gym with the adult-only, underwater music enhanced, saline lap pool, I haven't been swimming.

Which is really too bad, since Free Country sent me a swimsuit at the beginning of the summer.  I needed one pretty badly; the one-piece I was wearing was a tad tiny (it was meant for high school water polo players, who wear their suits very snug to avoid the grabbiness involved in the sport) and it would rub against my skin and chafe if I was swimming for an hour or more.

The Free Country selection isn't very large, and isn't necessarily targeted at performance swimming, but I settled on two reversible pieces I liked.

I just want your creamy thighs -- Prince quote that I try to incorporate into daily conversation as much as possible

I wore it for a number of minutes of strokes against the current in the Russian River during a July camping trip.  Other than that, I wore it to vogue for a selfie for the benefit of the blog.  See above.  Creamy thighs.

One of the best parts of this summer.  She's a world class camper. 

It does the trick! And now I am really craving a swim.  Especially after peeping on Page's swimming pool of choice in Portland.  Bay area pals: anywhere in the east bay I can drop $5 ish to use a lap pool? Anywhere 30 minutes of Oakland works for me.

That's it folks.  Hoping to find my goal-motivation sometime in 2014.  Maybe a little race in Boston next April will get me pumped to make something happened.  I signed up and was accepted.  Jubilated and terrified at the same time (because of the crowds...I don't like big crowds...)

37 comments:

  1. There's a 24 Hour Fitness on the weird side of Oakland that actually has a pretty nice lap pool. They do NOT have towel service, so bring your own, but it's a pretty alright pool. I don't know what their drop in service is like, but you can get guest passes easily enough.

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    1. ha, the weird side of Oakland. That's a very sweet way to put it. Thanks for the suggestion!

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    2. Just saw this! I think I actually crossed your path running on the Lake this morning, but didn't want to be the ceeper to say hi! Hope you had a great run.

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    3. whhhaaaat!? Were you also running!? Did we lock eyes like long-lost lovers? I was def out there Friday morning. Next time give me a wave and I'll know its you :)

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    4. Woot! Will do! I'm in IM training, so sadly not running as much, but I'll wave :)

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  2. Oakland High used to have adult swim. King or Willard in Berkeley. El Cerrito pool at the foot of Moeser...it's a NICE pool. Are you copying me with the bikini photo? Was I that #inspiring? Or are you copying SR? I was copying Monica. I love how blogging is so full of inspirational figures :) Did you ever finish your #Chobani? We're all waiting for a wedding post.

    And...

    TRAIN TOWN???? I LOVE that place!!!! Your niece is adorable!

    I'm sure that come next spring you'll be red-hot and raring to go :)

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    1. So many swimming options, yayyyyy! Do you ever want to come with?

      The bikini photo is a complete original. I positioned my thighs just so, to make them look nice and squishy. That's a game changer.

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  3. TrainTown? I Googled it and it has set my little transport-nerd heart aflutter. (I once spent a happy Saturday morning solo at the London transport museum indulding my inner five-year-old, surrounded by about fifty actual five-year-olds and their pram-pushing parents. Total mayhem.)

    You might be unmotivated now (and happily unmotivated now - just enjoy it and enjoy that weddingparty thing!), but come about January, I have a feeling that little Boston thing you signed up for might light a fire under you :)

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    1. *indulging. I can speel gud. I swear.

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    2. Train Town is SO cute! Did you find the same one though? In sonoma? I wouldn't describe it as very transport-oriented...it's kind of just a kids playground.

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    3. That's the one I found. It looks incredibly cute! And yes I am a five-year-old at heart - while I like learning about transport history I also love a good train ride...

      PS In case you need Boston motivation, I lived in Boston (OK, Cambridge) for a year. This place is quite delicious. http://www.yelp.com/biz/all-star-sandwich-bar-cambridge. Oh, you meant motivation to RUN FASTER? Sorry, can't help there. ;)

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    4. Food!! Perfect. That's my # 1 Boston goal right now.

      The train is way cool for a kid train. It's a solid 20+ minute ride through a nice wooded area. Get yourself over there!

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  4. I have been feeling the same way. Not caring. I have Chicago next month and my attitude is "meh." I'm more excited about what food and drink I'll have while I'm there than for the race itself.
    I registered for Boston yesterday but won't find out if I'm in until next week. I'm in the slow "you barely qualified" camp so I'm crossing my fingers. Congrats on deciding to do it!! :)

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    1. Ha. I hope you get in to Boston! We can yelp all the good food out there. And hopefully get excited to train hard again ;)

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    2. Thanks RR! I got in! Now we just have to figure out how to avoid having a panic attack prerace due to all the people. ;)

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  5. When I feel this way I just stop running. I ride my bike around or do whatever else. I did a century one June after a whole spring of not running (it was a very slow century, not for the spandex-y crowd, from NYC to Montauk). I don't go to yoga regularly but when not running I took a couple classes and finally did a forearm stand. Both of things gave me way more pleasure than running, at the time.

    I pay for it later, but I'd rather put in the work to get back in shape than turn running into a chore.

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    1. I totally don't want to stop running though! aakkk, don't make me cycle or yoga!

      Running isn't a chore, it is still one of my greatest delights! I've just lost the spark to fight for a PR. To train HARD. I just want to run mindlessly.

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  6. Man. I coulda written this post. Ok not the wedding or swimsuit part but the lack of motivation part.

    I think I know exactly what you mean: Like...I'll always love running, and I'm still running, but it's just not a huge priority. Hung out with late with friends to get in a good long run on a weekend? Who cares. Too tired to do a workout and want to do something else? Who cares. :). Lol. I don't know how you feel about it, but in some ways I feel it's for the best! xx

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    1. I'm going to ask Free Country to send you a post so you HAVE to post the swimsuit part too. Don't leave me all alone up there!

      I think we're on the same page. Running "goal" motivation comes and goes (and for now is gone), but the LOVE of running for no reason at all never dies. never ever. I don't know if it's lazy or if it's right, but theres so much in life I'd rather play with right now than chasing 6:52's.

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  7. A year of down running just extends your running career and when you peak. You'll take those age groups by storm later in life. ;) Ha kidding of course but I hope you are able to train eventually how you'd like.

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    1. Wait til 2050! I'm gonna conquer that 70+ age group!

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  8. I get totally de-motivated by "inspirational" talk. I don't know why, but it makes me want to sit on the couch and eat potato chips instead of working hard. I am equally turned off by incessant running talk, which is why I don't run with a running club and none of my friends are runners. It's like being around someone who is constantly talking abot how much they love work. Give me a fucking break.

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    1. What's wrong with us!? I do this in my professional life too. Meeting or reading about someone incredibly successful, I feel bad about myself instead of inspired. Woe.

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  9. Uh, I really hope that I'm not one of those annoying people in your twitter feed... am I? Cuz I tweet a lot about running, but not really about how driven or inspired I am (or at least I hope not).

    I know... let's go get pho and a beer and NOT talk about running at all.

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    1. No! Nobody bothers me on twitter. It's the collective influx, and it's my fault because I only follow runners and then Michael Ian Black. If he ever tweets about running, it's over.

      Pho sounds great! Girl date, anytime, but for a double date, may have to wait a few weeks cause his work is drowning him

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  10. I can absolutely relate to the uninspired inspirational stuff, hence one of the reasons that I really don't blog anymore and only peruse about 5 blogs maybe once a week. It's too much. And all too often, the "inspiration" comes in the form of subtle (or not so subtle) bragging.

    Sounds like what you're doing is working. You may not be goal-oriented right now, but I'm thinking the "slower" (and I use that term lightly) running that you're doing is keeping that hip/leg/butt lock thing you had going on in check. So it's all good.

    PS-I got into Boston and want to meet you there!

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    1. Yay Allison! I would love to see you in Boston. You're one of my OG blog friends, it's about time we meet

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  12. I am totally with you: it's called growing managing life and recognizing there are more important things than running. I'm going through the same thing. This December will mark a year since my last race. Between my wedding last May and my residency boards in under two weeks, there just isn't time. I've been averaging 4-6 hour of sleep and 12-13 hours at work. Running is no longer fun when you're already spread that thin! And to have one more goal/thing to strive for right now (i.e. running a certain pace) would stress me out and drive me crazy right now rather than motivate me. The running I have been doing I have done without a Garmen so that I can't see and be demotivated by my nodoubtedly slow pace.

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    1. Meant to say "growing up and managing life"

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    2. Another thing we can agree on: white chocolate covered pretzels. Just saw your post re the best snack ever.

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  13. Hahaha I so hear you!! As soon as I try and make and follow a training schedule and stop just doing what I feel like each day...I get burnt out. Within 3 weeks. And take several days off (on day 4 0 exercise at the moment...and feeling great.) I also get injured. And I am always super intimidated by peoples obsessive pursuit of their running goals. Id love to run a sub 3 marathon. And I think I could, but it will have to be a passionate pursuit rather than one of obligation.

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    1. Yup. I would need to want that sub-3 with a passion for at least 16 weeks straight. I don't know if/when that will happen. Maybe if I had 16 weeks of 40 hours at work and 7 hours of sleep per night, but that is a fantasy.

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  14. Ugh, Twitter......These days, I soooooo cannot. I just can't. Also blogger feeds mostly feel like ads. Which I guess they kind of are....

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  15. Those are normal feelings and experiences people that have careers and lives outside of running and blogging have. Don't feel bad about your motivation or lack of motivation towards running it means you are normal and have a life. I don't get girls that just blog and run.... this internet thing has created a weird sect in our society

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    1. Yes. Sometimes I need to get my brain away from the running blogs. It makes me feel like to do it right, I'm supposed to care and talk and think about running and goals all the time...

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  16. I think goals are always changing and that it's especially good whenever your goals are just focused on things that you want to do. And spending more time with people (especially little cutie-pie nieces and nephews) is a good thing.

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