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"Don't ask me why I run. Ask yourself why you don't"

Posted Apr 04 2010 12:28pm
I have the complete opposite of writers block. It's more like, writers clogged drain. There is so much going on in my head right now, so much I have to say, that it's become a cluttered, congealed mess, and now nothing can get out. Hence the severe lack of posts around these parts lately. But writing tends to help me see things more clearly, so here goes nothing.

I had a fantastic training week last week. Did I tell you guys? Well if I did, hear it again. Fan freaking-tastic. I just about hit all of my goals for the week (maybe fell short by a few minutes or yards here and there) and logged over 30 miles of quality running. No junk miles there my friends. I felt GOOD, and I felt FOCUSED. But then this week sucked. A big fat let down compared to last week. Nothing in particular happened. I felt fine. It's just in the blink of an eye, the week was over, and my training log was pretty blank. And that put me in a mood. Oh what a mood. And everywhere I turn, it seems someone else was running, which of course, makes the mood-o-meeter creep ever so slightly higher with each person passing by in tech gear. You should have SEEN all the people out this morning along ocean boulevard when the boys and I were driving Rich to work. I could tell who was a weekend warrior and who was going long that day. I could tell who was having fun, and who needed a walk break. I could read it all in their faces, and I was JEALOUS.

Crazy, isn't it?

I feel like a brat saying this, but I'll admit it- I'm slightly bitter at my responsibilities lately. No, not my kids. My kids are my life, and come first before everything else, never a doubt in my mind about that. I'm just having a mini-end-end-of-the-semester temper tantrum over school. The stress levels are driving me crazy, and it just feeds upon itself. Senior-itis? I've got it. (one more semester to go...) It's not that I don't like school, because I really do. I am learning so much and it's (almost) all very interesting to me. It's the time commitment that's killing me. I go to school all day, come home and study/write papers/do homework all night. Day/night/day/night/day/night. I feel like I'm constantly telling Rowen "sorry I have to go take a test, I'll be home soon!" and when I get home 5 hours later, it's "sorry Rowen mommy has to write this paper now" or "sorry now mommy has to study for this test, it's really important. Day after day after day.

But, such is life. I am not the first to go through this, nor will I be the last. I had every opportunity to finish school before I started a family, but I chose not to. No one is forcing me to finish school but myself and my own expectations. In fact, I'm actually really LUCKY that I get to finish school. Many moms in my boat don't have that opportunity. So I try my best not to whine when I'm in this sort of funk.

The problem strikes when we have a week like this past one. You see, as I've mentioned close to a million times before, running is the glue that holds this all together. It doesn't matter if I have to squeeze time out of the day and write a paper into the wee hours of the morning, running is what keeps my insane internal homeostasis on an even keel. When I run (or bike, or swim), the tasks of the day are easier. Breaking a study session up with laundry, dishes, cooking dinner, and bathing toddlers seems less stressful and time consuming when I've had my daily endorphin fix.

However, in the grand scheme of priorities (oh I hate being a grown up sometimes!) family comes first, school comes second, and training is the last kid picked. So there are days, more often than not, where running is put on the back burner. And that is when I slowly start to fall apart. Yet I'm the supermom, the one who always manages to find time to fit it in. So when I cant...I feel a HUGE let down. It's funny, really. I will never be an elite marathoner. I will never compete at the Olympics or stand on the podium of a world championship. I will not have endorsement deals or sponsors relying on me to post top results. Kara Goucher nor Chrissie Wellington will never have to worry about me on their tails. I run for me, and for me only.

So why is it one missed week of training can put me into such a miserable funk?

Sometimes I wonder if the running is the addiction, and without it, I go through these crazy withdrawals. Or, is running the solution, the mask, the cure, to something much deeper, and without it that something comes raging to the surface. Anxiety? Maybe. Control issues? Who knows. Either way, it is what it is I guess. Some people take xanax. Prozac. A bottle of wine. Therapy-psychological, retail, or otherwise. Me? I run. And it works damn well.

A few weeks ago, I was on my twice monthly bartending gig, when a more than slightly intoxicated customer was trying to have an intellectual conversation with me. Earlier one of his friends had asked me point blank if I was a runner, because he said I looked like one. Guilty as charged, my friend. Conversation had bounced back and forth between my running and other various bar topics. This happens a lot, as it seems the drinking/smoking/bar hopping type get a huge kick out of the fact that I run 26 miles for fun. Fast forward many beers later (on their part, not mine), and out of the blue, drunk guy said very seriously to me "you know, I may never know why I can't get my lazy a$$ off the couch to run a few miles. But on the other hand, will YOU ever find what you are running after?" I hear a lot of crazy things come out of the mouths of those with higher than average blood alcohol contents. But this...this stopped me in my tracks. I paused and really thought about what this stranger had just said to me. And after some serious thought, I replied...

"I hope not."

We all run for so many different reasons. Some are simple, some are complicated. Some are blatantly obvious, some are not. Some of us might not even realize why we do what we do. But we love what we do. So if this is the kind of "crazy" that life has dealt me...then I think I'm just fine with it. I can certainly think of worse things! I wouldn't trade the quality of life running has given me for anything, even if it means I have to have these crazy "no running tempertantrums".
So on that note, I'm off for a much overdue 2 hour therapy session.

Happy running (and Happy Easter) my friends.

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