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Another Obnoxious Run Happy Post

One day toward the end of March I went for a run.

I’d been taking it easy since getting a nice personal record at a half marathon a few weeks beforehand. My daughter was home from school on spring break and my husband was home for a week, too, so it made sense to relax and not worry about running as much. Toward the end of that break, though, I began to get a little anxious. At the time, my next half marathon was about six weeks away and I needed to up the training a little bit.

So I went for a run. All the kinks I’d hoped to work out after the first mile were not worked out. I stopped and went home. That’s right. After one mile. I’m not run streaking right now. I just wasn’t having fun and didn’t see the point. Instead of having a bad run that would put me in a bad mood I decided put the time toward something else that would make me feel good.

The next day after a chat with a friend who’s in a similar place with his running as I am, I decided to try again. Talking to him made me see it was time to get a tad more serious for the race. I aimed for five miles. After a few minutes the kinks and aches were gone but my legs felt unusually tired. I stopped and checked my GPS. I’d only gone two miles. But I’d done them quickly. The weather was so nice I decided to keep going toward the five-mile goal but slow down. I returned to my house at 4.9 miles and ran up the street further until I reached an even five. Normally I wouldn’t care about getting an even number but my goal that day was five and I had it in me to accomplish that.

These are actual decals on my car.
For me, upping my training for running a marathon means vaguely paying more attention to my mileage. After a long run I’ll look at my splits and see how I’m doing compared to my previous long run or goal time for a race. My friend likes math more than I do so I ask him what my splits should be for certain times at certain distances. I don’t do speed work. While I often stop to check my mileage while running, I rarely look at my time. I trust my body and I do what feels good.

I recently saw a headline about running happy to run faster. I didn’t read the article because I didn’t have time at that moment to read about something I already practiced. When I remembered it the next day I couldn’t find it.

Running seems to have been taken over by Type A personalities who track every mile, every calorie, every step, every bite. I used to follow a lot of blogs and social media accounts of runners. I tried to do all that counting and accounting in the past. But it’s not me. And I can’t help but feel there might be other runners like me who start to feel bad because they aren’t documenting every step, aren’t caring about every new piece of gear, aren’t enjoying kale and protein powder smoothies. (Chocolate-flavored protein powder is not a treat. Chocolate is.)

Magazine articles and other media outlets tell me I have to do these things to be a better runner. Why do I need to do these things? Why do I even need to be a better runner? What if I don’t want to be? What if I’m happy right where I am? What does it even mean to be “better”? I’m healthy and enjoying myself. That’s enough for me.

The point is, run your own self. Don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. If you want the cute running outfits, go for it. But if you’re happy in sweatpants and a cotton t-shirt, go for that. I use Strava on my phone. I can’t be bothered with a GPS watch on top of that. Too much stuff to keep charged and I’m taking the phone with my anyway for emergencies and for taking photos. Oh, that’s right. Stop and take photos if you want to. Or don’t. I like the simplicity of a quick snapshot of the scenery or something interesting spotted over setting up a shot and posing.

Marathon training has to make me happy. It will be challenging. There will be pain. There may even be an inspirational quote or two along the way. But I don’t plan on changing any more of my habits than are absolutely necessary.

Except for a Fitbit. I’m very curious about Fitbits and I’m thinking of getting one.


Elizabeth Fell said…
I love this post. I run to be under the sky, to use my body for what it was designed for, to look and to photograph. I run to feel vital. Measuring stuff really gets in the way of this and diminishes the joy.

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