For the last month, Eric and I have been in training. Eric ran the Austin Half marathon two weeks ago, while I supportively cheered him on from the sidelines. I thought the idea of running 13.1 hilly miles in February was crazy. Instead, I agreed to run 10 flat miles in March. Which, I now realize, also sounds crazy.
I ran a 10K without much additional training. It was kind of fun, actually. But despite the fact that I’ve been running for more than 10 years, my first 10K in January was the longest run I’d ever done. Basically, I was working out so that I could burn calories, but I wasn’t pushing myself. In fact, when I tried to focus on running faster–10 years in, I’m also pretty slow–I was doing short intervals and ended up spending roughly a year doing less running than I’d ever done before. I used to do a fast run, a regular run, and a long run every week. But after all that time focusing on trying to increase my mile pace, I’d stopped doing long runs, and, frankly, was running way less overall. Suddenly, doing three miles straight seemed kind of hard because I’d been doing 1 minute sprints for, like, 8 minutes before calling it quits for the day.
All of that is to say that 10 miles is really far. Maybe you already knew that. So, I’m in training. I found a plan that I actually like pretty wall, but committing to a training plan sucks. Today it is 31 degrees and I woke up to light freeing rain, and I have to leave my house and run 6 miles, when all I really want to do is curl up under blankets, drink coffee and read or watch movies for the next three days. If I hadn’t signed up for a race at the end of the month, I would do just that. Come to think of it, maybe that’s the reason that I’ve blown off most training plans and just stuck to my familiar gym routine for about a decade.
Honestly, one of the things I first loved about running was the challenge and the ability to see myself get gradually better. To achieve incremental goals that showed improvement. Then, I stopped doing that and settled for running 3 miles at a time while watching every episode of The Sopranos (and Justified, and Season 1 of Gilmore Girls and many, many other things). So, it’s nice to think that I’m going to run 6 miles today because it puts me back in touch with what I find exciting about running, which is not the ability to watch tons of television. I have a couch, I can watch Justified there.
It’s just that by getting into training mode, it’s harder to do other things. There’s less time for writing. There’s less energy for dealing with emails or calling my parents. I haven’t figured out how to successfully bring balance to it, and maybe the point of training for a big race is that it becomes a thing that requires more focus. I look forward to having the race behind me simply because it free up a little more time and flexibility in my schedule. But I want to keep making time for longer runs because once I’ve run 10 miles, it seems like a half marathon is within reach.