Like running fast or long, creativity doesn't happen by accident. It takes consistency, discipline and hard work. We so often look at the work of others and think that they're so talented and we wrongly assume that talent means it's easy for them, when that's just not the case. Talent is when someone takes their passion and works hard to cultivate it. Talent doesn't mean easy.
A quick glance at my Garmin Connect activities report and I can tell you my running is not where I'd like it to be. Truth be told I didn't need to look at a report to be able to tell you that.
There are long runs and short runs that feel good. I'm sure you've had the experience, you feel strong and fast like you could go on forever. Then there are the runs like today... Run's that feel horrible the whole way through.
Today the only thing that carried me through was shear determination to put one foot in front of the other for 6 long miles.
It's been about a month or so of this. I'm running, I'm sticking to it, but it doesn't feel like I have the capacity to get stronger or faster. The normal route feels like a chore. Every single run I've felt heavy, tired and unable to get faster or stronger. I keep wondering if this is just a story I'm telling myself or if there is something really wrong with me. Is it simply the ebb and flow of running? The result of hot humid summer running?
It's all part of running, of dedication, the ebb and the flow I suppose. There will be months of running that feel amazing and long dry spells where you feel lucky that you have friends to meet or you would probably skip out all together. I'm especially grateful right now for my friends who run. The ones that meet me at 4:45am for 6 miles during the week and the ones that will meet at 6am on a Saturday in order to beat the heat. Thank god for those friends because they make it worth it even when it sucked the whole time.
Lucky for me my running friends, are encouraging and wise. I also have a friend who is an amazing coach and she always says "just keep running", and especially when it's hard I know she's right.
Today I kept running even though I didn't even want to start. Tomorrow I'll lace up again. I know I'll break through this. Have you been through the running the slump? how did you break through?
2014 proved its self to be my breakthrough running year. Lots of miles, half marathon PR and a 5k time I didn't know I was capable of. Most of the time running felt good (or at least in retrospect I remember it as feeling good) and I was getting faster.
Fast forward to June 2015, fewer miles, slower and still plugging along. So why run?
I contemplated this question tonight as ventured over to hamilton lakes in search of a post work running trail that would take me away from direct sunlight. Even driving over I knew the run would be hot yes, and physically uncomfortable due to the fact that we celebrated the summer solstice a week late at the studio yesterday with a mala (108 sun salutations or aka hello hamstrings!). I knew today's run would be difficult. Normally when I'm tight after about a half mile my muscles get warm and I probably won't notice the tightness again until after the run. Not tonight. The first few steps into my jog I knew I would need to buckle up and go really really slow. The tightness was not going to go away.
Painful hamstrings meant tonight's 3.1 was much slower than I've seen myself go in a while. This provided ample time to ponder, reflect, feel my way across the trail. What I've learned from the many years that I've now been running is that it's not really about how fast I can go.
Insert self exasperated sigh here! Why do I have to keep learning this particular lesson over and over? I'd like to think I'd get it and it would stick, but it seems I'm replying this lesson over. One day I'll be fast, one day I'll be slow, one day I'll run 19.6 another I'll only run 2. Running is so much like yoga, it connects you to yourself, the grace of your being. Whether I go out and run the fastest 5k distance I've ever run or whether I run the slowest it really only matters that I've laced up, gone out and put one foot in front of the other.
If it's not about getting faster, if some years I regress, why run? This is a question I'm bound to keep answering, keep refining. 2015 will not be a breakthrough running year with a super fast PR or the most miles in one year that I've ever run. This year I'll maintain. There will be other years to train harder, other years for more miles and I'm completely and utterly ok with this revelation.
Again, why run?
Because, running slow, or fast, returns me home to myself. It's another way to practice mindfulness. It gives me time to socialize and dish with a close friend who also enjoys running at ungodly early hour. Running keeps me strong, and healthy
Because it's fun and it makes me feel good even if i don't feel good in the moment of running.
Those are just a few of the many reason why be it fast or be it slow I run.