Saturday, May 9, 2015

Running lessons: Be grateful for what you've got!

I've been stressed about running lately. I feel so slow and out of shape, I can't imagine running Leg 14 of the Cabot Trail Relay at anything like 6:00/km pace, which is what I'll need to do to "make the mat" before the timing chip sensors are picked up and moved to the end of Leg 15. I suppose it doesn't matter really. It'll be the middle of the night so there won't be a lot of witnesses if I finish at the back of the pack and the truth is, though I've been training hard for the last month, that's not nearly enough time to get back into race form after a winter of slow slogging on icy streets and sidewalks.

Today's Osprey 5k in Riverport didn't help. It was a perfect morning and I felt quite good as we waited at the start (see photo above) but I went out too fast and spent the last two kilometres feeling nauseous and miserable. In fact, it got so bad, I had to stop and sit for more than a minute to pull myself together just half a kilometre from the finish. As a result, my time for the second half was nearly 2 minutes slower than for the first.

To add insult to injury, when prizes were handed out, I realized there were a number of women older than me - some by 15 or more years - who'd run much faster than I had. It was all totally depressing.

(I should mention in passing that Husband ran a much better race this morning - setting and keeping a wonderfully steady pace that let him finish in a personal best time. I'm so proud of him!)

But here's the thing. While I was busy beating up on myself for being chubby and slow, I was totally forgetting to appreciate what my body can do. For instance, in the past week, it's completed a hilly 20k run to Halifax and back - which involved crossing the bridge pictured below twice! - a tough 7.5k tempo run, and a challenging hill training session, as well as today's 5k race.

Seriously. At 53 years old, I should be damned happy my body's able to handle that much training. Sure, a little over 40 kms in a week isn't much compared to the distances more serious athletes run, but it's not too shabby for a middle-aged recreational runner.

The trouble, of course, is that I too often compare myself to stronger runners - the ones who've been running for years, are more naturally athletic, or are inclined to work harder - rather than those who run slower or don't run at all.

Correction, the real trouble is that I compare myself to anyone - including my younger, fitter self - and lose sight of the astonishing fact that I'm able to run the distances I do and that, in just two weeks, I'll be participating in another Cabot Trail Relay. If you'd asked me when I was 40 if I'd ever participate in such a demanding event, I'd have told you in no uncertain terms you were crazy. Yet, here I am preparing to do it for the fourth time. When I stop to think about it, it's actually kind of miraculous.

So, there it is. This week's lesson. Be grateful for what you've got. Even when you wish things were different, don't forget to notice all the good things that come your way - loving relationships, interesting work, good health, sunny days and unexpected adventures. Life's far too short to spend much of it wishing things were different.

Incidentally, lest I've given the impression I didn't enjoy my long run last weekend, here's proof that in fact I enjoyed it very much - especially meeting Bluenose Myles in Point Pleasant Park at the midway point.

I also enjoyed the massive dim sum brunch Husband and I shared afterwards. :-)

Happy running and writing, friends!

1 comment:

  1. 53??!! Nobody would believe that, looking at you. And congrats to Luke! It's very difficult sometimes not to compare yourself to your younger, fitter self, though all I need to do is look at the years from mid-20's to mid-40's, and I'm now way fitter than then. I try not to think about the people in older age groups, except for Sister Madonna Buder.