I woke up this morning and for whatever reason, felt Herculean. I was determined to run further than I had two weeks ago (seven miles). So I did. And though I felt great afterwards (ran eight miles), I didn't really feel that familiar burst of emotion/pride on my final lap. I think the reason for that is threefold-
1. I ran further in the race last weekend. And it's difficult to top a race performance (where you are fueled by adrenaline, aid stations and people cheering you on).
2. It's getting hotter. It makes jogging a lot less pleasant.
3. I was a little frustrated by the thought of having to top that run with an even longer run next weekend. I've said this all along- it has never been my goal to become a jogger. Though I have found that there is nothing, and I do mean NOTHING that feels better than being able to say "I jogged ___ miles today" - it still is not my passion. So the thought of having to jog nine miles next weekend kind of depressed me.
So once again, I've decided to scale back. While I have no intention of stopping completely, my plan is to continue jogging one day each week, but for only 5 miles or so. It's still a good distance I can easily work up from for future races, but not so time consuming/intimidating. Before I made this decision, however, I wanted to make sure I wasn't just wimping out (which I have a tendency to do). So I asked myself the following:
Will I regret not being more competitive in future half marathons?
Maybe a little, but not really. I entered the first one just for kicks and never intended to work myself up to nearly jogging the whole second one. I don't care if a few (okay A LOT) of seniors continue to whup my butt.
Will I regret not having worked competed in a marathon someday?
Again, maybe a little, but I've come to realize that being able to run 26.2 miles requires a lot of time, energy, discomfort and dedication. And because running is not my #1 passion, it would seem odd to commit to doing one.
Why do I want to stop hitting new running accomplishments? It is just laziness?
You know, I am sure part of it is. But if I continue to keep adding mileage each week, it will become a very time consuming activity that is really not all that fun for me. And though it's hard to accept that I will no longer be breaking any new ground on the track, I know I have to do more of what I enjoy in order to sustain this lifestyle over the long haul.
Why do I feel so guilty then?
For whatever reason (likely insecurity), I often feel the need to ratchet up a 'major fitness accomplishment'- like running a marathon, hiking across the state or getting my spinning certification. It's almost as if I feel like I have to validate myself and my efforts to others with one big, noteworthy accomplishment. I feel flaky/manic everytime I want to try a new form of exercise.
Stupid, isn't it? But I bet a lot of others in my position probably feel this way too. I want to free myself to pursue whatever I want (karate, hula, hiking , paddling, yoga, weights, Pilates, swimming, biking, running, kickboxing, aerobics, stepping, walking, etc.) without any second thoughts. There is nothing wrong with being a jack of all trades, master of none. After all, as long as I'm still out there- I'm winning, right?