Monday, May 16, 2011

Race Weekend (Of a Different Sort)

running_race

A few weeks ago, my mom texted me about two upcoming races the weekend before our cruise. Miles For Moffitt, benefiting cancer research, and the Inaugural Police Appreciation Run, which is in honor of the three St. Petersburg police officers who were killed in the line of duty earlier this year. There’s something special about running a race that’s benefiting something good so at first, I was all for it. Both races had 5K options so I was like, “Sure!”

But as I got to thinking about it, I decided against running in either race. While there is no doubt I could finish them, even if it meant walking, I just don’t feel like putting that pressure on myself anymore.

After the Iron Girl, I decided to take a big step back from running to re-evaluate why I’m trying so hard for something I don’t think I really like. Running has been something I’m too stubborn to give up completely. There’s this part of me that keeps getting out there, keeps trying, in the hopes that it will one day become easier and I will one day love it as much as other people do.

It still hasn’t happened.

But I’m still trying. I decided to start from the basics again. I think I took on too much, too soon and signing up for a half-marathon when I wasn’t even in 5K shape was a big mistake. Every run made me doubt my abilities and hate the sport more and more. When I dropped down to the 5K, I felt major relief and I know I want to be able to run 3 miles with ease. I’m not sure if I will ever run a half-marathon, but I still have this fighting need to be able to run at least 3 miles.

So I went back to my faithful friend, Mr. Couch to 5K. I’m not sure how many times I’ve used this program, but this is probably my fifth or sixth attempt. The problem is, I always have an upcoming race when I start the program and abandon it to just run so I can be ready come race day. This time, I am no longer signing up for races until I finish the program. In fact, I’m not looking to sign up for another race until November. I want to give myself enough time to get into shape and be able to run a successful 5K without having to stop for frequent walking breaks.

Back to this weekend. I decided against running in either race, instead came as my mom’s little cheerleading section as she conquered the Miles for Moffitt 5-Miler and the Inaugural Police Appreciation 10K Run. Since her marathon in January, the farthest my mom has run was four miles so she was a bit worried about how she’d do. She needn’t have worried because she kicked some major arse in both races, absolutely crushing her 10K PR by ten minutes. Have I mentioned lately that my mom is a rock star? Because she is.

And me? I got to enjoy these past two mornings with no pressure on myself. All I had to do was wake up early, don some sweatpants, grab my Kindle, and hit the road. While it certainly was inspirational to watch the runners, I didn’t feel that bite in my side that I should be out there. I felt calm and relaxed, knowing that if I so choose, I could one day be out there running with them.

But maybe not.

Because I’m finally learning that there is nothing wrong with hating to run. I have given the sport enough shots, enough chances, that if I make it through Couch to 5K and still hate running, I can walk away knowing I tried everything I could to like it. And it’s not the end of the world if I don’t.

18 comments:

  1.  I'm really happy for you that you're experiencing things & realizing that you either like/don't like them. I read a book recently (The Happiness Project) which I blogged about, and a huge part in the book is about just being yourself, and taking a step back to evaluate whether you're doing things for YOU or just because so many other people love it. So good for you, for taking that step back that you need and trying a new approach to see if this works for you. If it makes you happy, that's what counts! :)

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  2. your mom is a total rockstar, i love it :)

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  3. The phrase "different strokes for different folks" comes to mind. That's great that you acknowledge you don't HAVE to like running, but still giving it one more shot!

    If you find that you still don't like it just remember there are SO many other forms of exercise to fall in love with.  

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  4. girlwiththeredhair5/16/11, 10:35 AM

    Yes yes yes! Completely agree! I'm glad your not going to try and push yourself to run anymore if you don't enjoy it!

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  5. Love your attitude about running! It's important to figure out why we like certain things, and loathe others. And it's important to give everything our best shot as well, but if we still hate it? That's totally ok. So I say a huge kudos to you for re-evaluating why you do what you do. =) And way to go Stephany's mom on the awesome race times! =)

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  6. I'm still plodding along, hoping I'll like it more. I ran the M4M 5k but I couldn't run the whole thing so I'm just going to keep going until I can run through it (it took me a second to realize that photo is not of the Moffitt run). I had intended to run a Disney half in January, but I think I'm going to wait until I'm a little more comfortable. Turkey Trot 10k in November though. We'll see how that goes.

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  7. That's so great that you were able to step back and realize that you were putting too much pressure on yourself. You can totally take up running without having a race to run in and enjoy it for what it is - then if you decide you love it, you can join races and you'll already be an old pro. ;]

    Also, yay for your mom! :]

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  8. Girl, we don't all LOVE running so don't get the wrong idea. The truth is, we all run for different reasons, you just need to find your reason. And if you don't want to run, no one will hold it against you, we all have our own passions.  

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  9. I really want to read that book! It's been on my must-reads list for a while now. :) I just know there's no point in doing something that makes you unhappy when there's tons of OTHER options available that do make you happy! 

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  10. Exactly. There are other avenues I can pursue that may fit me better and I'm limiting myself by trying so hard with this running thing.

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  11. What a concept, huh! I know not all aspects of running is fun & games, but I don't have the same passion/love for it as I see others do. It might be time to just pursue other activities. :) 

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  12. That's what I'm learning: it is OK to not like running. And it's not like I tried it for a few days and hated it... I've been after this goal for almost a year now! So it gets one more shot!

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  13. My biggest advice is to wait until you're ready to do a half. I've "trained" for 2 halfs before I was ready and it was just bad news all around. I do the Turkey Trot every year. Such a fun race! 

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  14. That's my goal. Just run to run! Not run to complete a race, but for the exercise/personal benefits of it. 

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  15. But there has to be an aspect of love of the sport for you to keep going or else why would you do it? I see it in the way my mom approaches it. She may not be the fastest and has her bad runs, but she still LOVES to get out there and try her best. I don't have that same passion in me. 

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  16. KJHartenstein5/17/11, 10:20 AM

    I love your attitude Steph and major kudos to your mom!

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  17. I think it it's a good idea to take this approach.  You have given running a REALLY  good shot.   If these collection of blog posts were about a human relationship you were struggling with consistently and unhappy with, I thin most of us would be telling you to move on...  And yes, running is healthy.  But if it doesn't makes you feel good and strong and capable?  Then honestly, I think there is something else that will be a better fit.  I love running and it's tough to get motivated sometimes.  So not loving running and trying to stay motivated?  That is freaking an uphill battle my dear!!

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  18. Yes, I should read through all my posts on running to gain some perspective. At some point, it's just time to call it quits. This is like the last-ditch effort (couples counseling?) to fall in love with it. We'll see what happens! 

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