the runner's quest for happiness

This week Erin Ward (aka Jungle Chicken) asked the big life question: why does running *have* to suck so much? In fact just go read her blog, you've heard my ramblings before...

I was joking with Sally on our run this other day that she tricked me into rejoining this crazy sport. How in 3 short years did I go from "I'll never sign up for that carrot fart parade again!" to training for a marathon PR?

I've fallen back into this sport for real always making sure I keep a full life. I'm not a type A, prep my homemade granola bars on Sunday night kind of person to begin with. And outside of Oiselle, 98% of my friends are non-runners. At first it was all too easy to maintain the parts of my life that filled out my happy runner life profile. The concerts, weekend trips with unscheduled rest days, happy hours, skiing...

But as I've started to zero in on my May 22 goal race I find that

1. My joy *is* in the running and in the work (and especially in a good workout, whenever I have one)
2. I can still fill in the rest of my life with my interests just not the same ones or the same way
3. I'm effing tired (and if I lose track of recovery I get the flu...)

It's about being true to myself. It's cheating myself to pretend I can carry my goal and also live like I don't have one. I'm constantly trying to strike a balance that makes me happy. Like the night before the St Paddy's Day dash I went out to my friends' birthday because I love them. I hung out for a couple drinks, caught up with everyone and left after the champagne toast at 10:30pm. It was a bit of a bummer, but I reminded myself that racing makes me tick and the joy and high would be worth it. And it was.

This Friday night I sat in an ice bath, while my friends and husband were at a comedy show. But that choice was actually easy to make. I was so exhausted from my 4:45am workout wake-up call that I would have been the dreaded distance runner zombie. I know from experience that chick doesn't get invited out again. Better to put her on ice and send her to bed.

Really this level of running keeps me from chasing second rate highs. So the only thing I'm truly giving up are late nights and liver abuse. I'll find time to maintain the things that are life giving like... music, hanging out with Owen, good food, loving friends, fashion and design stalking, playing with my camera and pouring my passion into Oiselle. The latter being the only reason I have the joy of running back in my life to begin with.

last thursday: sera cahoone at the triple door
+Megan Fay (www.dailysweat.com) came along for our 2nd non-sweaty date.
playing with new camera before the show, post alley gum wall was the obvious first stop...

Comments

  1. I struggle with this all the time. I love running--I think it's my first (and most enduring) true love, and coaching with my own high school coach is my version of your Oiselle--it brings the joy, the play, the spring in my step back to running. However... when I told my parents I'd signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon over Easter dinner, my mom's face fell... I could see her imagining the girl who you saw the potential to become when you headed for the ice bath Friday night. I don't have an answer, but that balance is tough to find, especially when living, loving, being passionate about so many different (and sometimes diametrically opposed!) things is so much a part of who you are. Thanks for writing this!

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    1. It's a constant struggle in my life. When I'm running (like literally out for a run) the choice is obvious. But after the workout is done and the other 22 hours of my life wait it can be hard to make all the best choices.

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  2. I totally get this! It's funny that earlier in the year my attitude is focused on maintaining so called "balance", aka going out even though I'm training and hanging onto bits of normalcy. As a goal race approaches I find myself wanting to protect it, and with that I'm napping in the afternoon, icing (again) and in bed by 9! Fortunately there is day drinking--which makes for a killer nap!;) I'm with you in spirit! Good luck!

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    Replies
    1. Daydrinking is a runner's dream! It's hard to be a type b runner, or type c? Who knows...

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