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The Runner Seven Year Itch ...

Posted Feb 21 2010 3:29am
The Runner Seven Year Itch

This has been the snowiest February ever. Just until this weekend there was nowhere to run; bike paths were clogged with a foot and half of snow, ice lurked everywhere, shoulders were reduced by heaps of plowed snow. I felt like I've been caught in Bill Murray's Ground Hog Day, where everyday is the same--no color to define the edges of my days, an endless string of white days that start with cleaning another two inches of snow off my car, 8 hours in the work cave, and then fretting how to get in a run and get dinner on the table by a decent hour. Tuesday no different from Wednesday. I surrendered to a few jaunts on the ex treadmill to keep my fitness, but worried it wasn't enough to pull me out of my running funk. Running was just another chore, something I struggled to fit in, like dishes and cleaning toilets. Where was the joy?

Finally, a few sunny days with temperatures above 35 have added color to the landscape. The snowfields are slowly deflating, the glaciers receding from the shoulders allowing, finally, a safe swath of roadside berm to run on.

Our running club planned a Fair or Foul Weather group run on Saturday. Runners were supposed to check in between 8:30-9:00 and then run whatever distance you could run and be back for breakfast at 10:00 which was totally paid by the club as long as you're a club member. Bob and I showed up early at Lock 29 to get in 6-7 miles before check in time, then we'd run another 7 miles with the club, running the roads surrounding the CVNP. There's a very nice bike lane making this probably one of the safest places for winter running in the area. It was going to be a gorgeous day--finally the sun shining, still cold, but no freaking snow forecast for the whole day. We headed South on Akron Peninsula Rd. We passed small groups of runners, all part of the Northeast Ohio running community, enjoying the beautiful morning. We were as happy as birds let out of the cage or dogs that jumped the fence. I even tried picking up the pace a bit to drool stage, which is how poor minimalist runners without Garmins gauge speed.

The roads we were running are part of the late summer race, the Buckeye Half Marathon. I haven't run it in a few years since I've volunteered instead, but I tried to reign in the feeling of pushing through that race. I was feeling pretty darned good this morning. All was finally right with my running relationship, at least for this moment. Bob and I chit-chatted about this and that, listened to birds chirping and marveled at the day.

It's pretty darned embarrassing how my running is so easily affected by just about anything lately--weather or mental weirdness. I need to do something to get my running confidence back and recapture my early running love. My relationship with my running is really on the rocks. We need counseling, I think, and serious intervention to get this relationship back on track, kick up some excitement and recapture the thrill of early running love, like when my heart would practically rattle out of my chest pushing the last half mile of a 5K or I'd be heavy breathing so hard at the finish I was knocked to my knees. Oh, the excitement and thrill of winning my age group!! The glory of young running love! Where did it go?

Oh my gosh...I think my relationship with running has reached the seven year itch stage. This is my seventh year of running and my relationship is in trouble. Help me save this relationship. It's worth it. Any suggestions? Running aids? Bits of wisdom to revive the love? Running therapists? Good sexy 5k's? Should I buy a new pair of skimpy shorts?
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