Reflection and philosophy

Distance: 6 mi

Miles to go: 1205

This has been a long, frustrating year for me as a runner.  To go from the elation of running a sub 23 5K to the immediate deflation of a serious and difficult to recover from injury, pretty much in the same week, was difficult to swallow.  The impossibly slow recovery time of nearly 7 months before I could comfortably run again made me question whether I would ever really be able to run again.  Watching my friends build miles and achieve goals was, at the same time, wonderful and bittersweet because I felt I should be there too.  Another three months running with pain until I got back into shape again was frustrating.  Running slow and having odd, random pain was equally frustrating.

So to look at my goal distance of 2000 miles and see that I won’t even make half of that is a bit of a downer.  I had big plans for this year and had to eat them one by one as the year went on.  I’m not trying to be depressing or negative, this is just reality.  Personally, this was a good year.  I did get a lot accomplished personally and professionally.  But for the runner in me… well… it kinda sucked…

I think the one lesson I learned more than anything else was that I need to temper my enthusiasm.  It’s ok to set agressive goals, but I need to be realistic enough to know that I might have setbacks and that is all a part of it.  If you play, you risk injury.  The harder you play, the more that becomes real.  It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play hard though… 😉

But let’s talk positive here.

If I run 5 miles between now and the end of the year, I will still get in 800 miles.  For 5 months of serious running, that’s pretty darn good.  My average mile time dropped from a 9:49 to an 8:11.  My weekly mileage slowly increased from 8 to a peak of 35.  In short, I’m going to be ok and I will hit 2009 healthy and ready for my new challenges.

I think I grew a bit as a runner this year.  Being hurt humbled me and it made me reassess my wants and needs.  I am safer now and don’t take as many risks.  I understand the wisdom of the treadmill and gym membership more now and have no intention of risking unsafe conditions just to say I lived through it.

In short, my new philosophy for running is this…  Do everything you can today so that you can run tomorrow.  What this means is twofold.  First, if you can figure out a way, run today.  But if you can’t, the second part comes in.  Be smart enough and safe enough to realize that missing a day won’t hurt you.  Missing a day due to bad weather or injury or illness isn’t failure, it’s self preservation.  If you get hurt today doing something stupid (like running on ice in 3 degree weather), you just shot down a lot of tomorrows.  But the treadmill, exercise bike or pool is just as good for you (or heck… how about an extra day of rest?) and will make tomorrow better.

Long winded, but it’s what I believe.  Now I just need to live it for a year or so to see if it works…!

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