Friday, April 26, 2013

Balance is Running AND Life

Written April 22, 2013:

“Choose Something Important to Run For; Make Your Running About More Than Your Own Personal Time Goals”~Coach Caleb’s Daily Running Tips

This quote stood out to me this morning.  I’m not sure why, except that I had not previously thought about actually running for something.  I had only thought in terms of running and, in that, bettering my time and reaching my own goals.  I am still so new to the running scene.  I have run one 5k (back in 2008), but quickly got away from running because, at the time, I was quite a bit heavier and I just did not enjoy it.  It was a chore.  It was drudgery.  I hated it.  That combination does not lend itself to being successful.  If anything, it leads to a quick withdrawal from anything running related.  Since 2008 and up until about two months ago, I moved my workouts back into the gym.  I initially went back and joined some of the fitness classes.  Boring!  I climbed on the Arc Trainer and on the stationary bike.  Again, boring!  I decided it was time to get back into weight training, specifically powerlifting (I had weight trained in the past, for about two years in 2006 and 2007).  I knew I needed to put on muscle to drop anymore fat.  So, I set a goal and decided that I would lift in my first powerlifting competition in June 2013.  I trained, and I trained hard, starting back in July of 2012.  I could feel the increase in muscle.  I could see the fat dropping away.  My clothes size dropped, even though I did not drop any weight.  My body composition was changing, for the good.

As I progressed in my training, I found myself withdrawing once again.  I dreaded going to the gym (and I realized that I had dreaded it from the get-go).  I took no pleasure in working out.  It was simply a means to an end, lifting as much weight as possible in June 2013.  After several months of toying with different ideas, I made the decision to stop training for the powerlifting competition.  I decided I would weight train to weight train, for my health and well-being.  It became easier to go in and workout, though still not enjoyable.  But, that was okay at the time.  Then, in October 2012, at the tender age of 38, I learned to ride a bike.  I tried several times to learn when I was a child, but never caught on as to how to keep the bike upright.  Because I had never learned and my husband had talked about getting me out there to learn how, he challenged our then 11-year-old daughter to teach me how to ride.  It took a few days, but she taught me.  And I was hooked.  I did not have the training gear, nor the bike, to get outdoors during the winter months, so I settled for riding the stationary bike, working on form and cardio.  Still boring, yes, but better because I had a new focus and a different reason for using it indoors.  Now that it is spring, we are still waiting on our bikes, though purchasing time is drawing nigh.

In the meantime, I decided one morning, about two months ago, I wanted to go for a run.  Where the thought or desire came from, I have no idea.  I ran, for about two miles.  It felt different this time.  I felt lighter, I felt better, it was fun and enjoyable.  I felt free.  I have run nearly everyday since that time, missing only in the severest of weather and when I felt my body just needed the break.  I have steadily increased my pace and brought my time down.  I have increased my distance and my stamina.  But, I don’t want to get back to that point where I wonder why I am doing what I am doing.  I know there will be times when I question, when I wonder, but I also know that that is typically when I quit, when I allow too much questioning, too much wondering; when I push myself to the point of it being all about the PRs instead of running for the love of it.  I think that is why that quote stuck out in my mind as important.

To run for something bigger than myself, my goals, my PRs, means I am running for more than just me.  It certainly gives me something to think about, something to work towards, something to believe in.  It gives me the potential for external motivation when the internal motivation is struggling.  So long as I do not rely on that external motivation over my internal motivation, I believe running for something greater than me can help in those times of decreased internal motivation, as I work to rebuild my internal motivation, my desire to run.  Now to decide who or what I will run for outside of myself.  I have some ideas, but I will take the next few days or so to make a final decision because I think it has to be meaningful to be productive.

Addendum, written 04/23/2013:  I have put more thought into the above subject and I think balance is important.  I want to find something or someone worth running for…but I will not run solely for a cause or a person.  Then it becomes all about the cause and that can make the running a drudgery, also; a forced activity that loses it’s spontaneity and fun.  I will continue running for myself, for the fun of it, for the sheer pleasure and enjoyment.  When it’s not so pleasurable, I will dig deep and focus on the cause, whatever that focus may be.  It may even change from time to time.

On yesterday’s run, when I felt like I didn’t want to keep going because my feet were a little tired, I thought of our grandson, who has an extremely rare congenital brain degenerative disease that has kept him in a wheelchair for the last several years, and he is only 12.  The disease has resulted in his mammalian brain degenerating to the point that he cannot speak clearly, he does not have control over bodily functions, he cannot walk or crawl, he cannot write.  However, it has not affected his prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain where thought and learning occur.  He is incredibly bright, but cannot express what is inside his head.  I know he would love to be out there like other kids, running and playing.  So, I thought of him and how he would love the opportunity to run and I kept going.  Later in my run, when it became difficult again, I thought of other things, such as the sun warming my body, the clarity of the sky, the beauty of my surroundings, and I kept running.  I focused on my breathing, my foot placement, my cadence, and I kept running.  I thought about my blog, my writing, things to write about, and I kept running.  I thought of many different things, besides my pace and my goals, and I kept running.  I don’t know what my journey is all about, yet, but then, that is partly why I am writing about it.  It is just that; a journey, with surprises, unknowns, indefinites.  I’m excited to experience this journey and I can’t wait to get back out there for another run.

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