It’s not like me to write a blog about running lately. Running has taken a back seat in my life because of autism and while it used to be a big part of me, it’s kind of an afterthought now. When I went to sleep last night, I had run 13 miles in the previous 15 days. That’s about how (in)consistent I’ve been for most of the past year.
While I’ve realized I’m willing to prioritize with my son autistic son Jack and his needs, I’ve also realized that I need to find a way to make me happy, too. I like to run, although not in the way that I’m an old-school, hard-core runner. I’ve never really viewed myself as a runner — I view myself as more of a guy who likes to run. But it’s something I’ve had some success at. I’ve run fast and I’ve run far and I’ve been able to do some unusual things, starting with the 61 marathons I ran in 2010 to fight autism, plus quite a few Boston qualifiers and other things I never thought I’d do when I was younger.
I ran a 50-miler on a whim in May, even though I was out of shape. I won a timed race in 2010, running 54 miles in heat and humidity less than a week after running 45 miles in a different timed race. I’ve run marathons on back-to-back days a good 20 or so times. But there I was yesterday morning, a 106-time marathoner, scared to run 8 miles on a flat surface at ideal temps in the high 40s. I had planned on about a dozen miles, then talked myself down to 10 and then eight, and a mile into the run, I turned back.
Part of that was stress, but I was also intimidated as heck. Something about it scares me. The fact that I’m intimidated to run 8 frustrates the heck out of me when I realize what I’ve lost. It’s frustrating and I don’t even want to get out of bed and run because I know my runs will be lousy. I think that’s the worst thing to me. I used to be good at it, and I’ve totally lost that. For the first time in my life, I was good at some kind of sport. I’m a competitive person and I really enjoyed that.
To go out and train hard in the mornings and notice that I was running well and to do well at races, that gave me a lot of confidence and I really enjoyed that. Now, I’m very happy about the gains I’ve made for my family that really matter, namely getting us relocated from California (with a one-year detour in Colorado) to a great situation for all of us in Pennsylvania. But still, I miss the guy I used to be, the guy who enjoyed getting up and starting his day running through the cool air watching the sun come up, who wasn’t afraid to go collect his thoughts for 8, 10 or 15 miles.
But now, I sit in bed, intimidated about the prospect of lacing up my shoes, then kicking myself all day long for taking another step backwards with another day wasted.
So yesterday, I finally came up with a plan. I mapped out the next 18 weeks. I used to run 100 miles a week frequently, and 80+ regularly, but I trained for my first marathon at about 40. So I came up with a schedule that’s going to start at 40 or so. Seven miles, nine miles, eight miles on weekdays. 14 for my long run on the weekend. None of those intimidate me and I’ll do them and be happy that I did them. I’m going to gradually increase and get up to about 70 a week in 18 weeks. And I’m going to take two days off a week and not burn myself out.
The biggest thing is to tell myself that I’m not going to be any good at it tomorrow. If I can deal with that, then I can just knock out some miles and work towards the next day. One day at a time and I’m going to be myself again by spring.
So I’m gonna learn how to do this running thing again. That should make me happy. I’m long overdue for some happy parts in my life so I’m sure this will be good for me.
Side running notes:
1. Check out Operation Jack 2.0 … I’m trying to get people to fight autism one race at a time and I want to pay for a race entry fee for you … let me know if you’re interested! I keep saying I’m going to post a list of initial participants soon and I really am. Tomorrow?
2. Check out the Operation Jack Marathon. Great race, great cause, great price, great name (I’m biased, I admit it). But check it out!
That’s all I got. Are you scared of running eight miles like I am? Are you chasing any running goals or trying to regain something you lost?
Have a great Tuesday![subscribe2]