Running on Insight: Reflections (Week 7)

Despite my best efforts to stay organized and fit in the miles where I can, I have come to a point where I have had to take a hard look at what’s working within my training, and what isn’t.  On paper, I can plug in my runs and workouts in neat little boxes, but what those lines and numbers can’t adequately reflect are my energy levels, or my emotional being.  As I stated in the previous post, this is my busiest stretch of the year with the happenings at the studio, and the flow of family life.  Taking a realistic look at the goings on for the month of April, I see that I will be hard-pressed to put in the amount of time needed for my long runs.  Sure, I could wake even earlier than my usual 5am, put other projects and work and family on the back burner to bang out the training needed to run this marathon, but will that make me any happier?  Will that be healthy?  Will it be of benefit to the people in my life?

I have been in this position before, and have charged on, despite the internal red flags.  My runs start to feel like tasks I must complete, rather than something that enhances my energy and focus.  I know what’s on the back end of gutting through the months of training, only to cross the finish line not feeling physically great, and extremely disappointed in my performance.  In doing the math, it’s a lot of hours and wear on the body dedicated to something that isn’t bringing me a whole lot of happiness.  It’s easy for me to fixate on that finish line – the badge of honor received in knocking off another 26.2.  In the end, is it worth it?

With the nudging of a few people closest to me, my tunnel vision widened and I began to look at all facets of this current cycle.  Holding and suspending that which is most important to me, and which actually becomes lost when the mind is so attached to an outcome.  These decisions made in training are exactly what play out in the meditation process.  Rather than letting go of the idea of running the marathon, I took a look at all that’s involved, and got to know and understand better what that entails.  Instead of detaching myself from this goal in an abrupt way, I took a look at my identity around being a distance runner.  I spent time with this label of “marathoner” I have placed on myself and the intense desire to live up to that.  By allowing myself to explore this, I came to a peaceful resolution.

I will still be running Sugarloaf in May; 15k, rather than 42.  The flashing billboard in my brain tells me that running a strong 9.3 miles in one of my favorite places on earth will feel immensely better than an underprepared, sub-par marathon.   I’m going to take heed.  And now, with great joy, head off for a run.

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