But is is fun?
I sent my coach an email updating him on my run this morning. I am running a double today, so this morning was 2 miles, tonight I have to run 4. I received his reply with an interesting question. I thought I would post his question and my answer. Make of it what you will.
Coach: I have a question........how many of your runs are actually fun? 1 out of 3, 1 out of 5, 1 out of 7, 1 out of 10........
Fun? it's supposed to be fun?
ok seriously...not so many. When I take Penny it's more fun. When I go with someone else and it goes pretty well, it's fun. (When I go with someone else and it's doesn't go well, it's no fun at all.) When I just don't care and I see interesting things, like heron or hawks or owls or bunnies, or neighbors with puppies, it's fun.
I run a lot more before looking at my watch now and the time goes by much quicker than it used to. I don't count the seconds.
I'm almost always proud of myself when I'm done.
But fun in the sense that I really enjoy it while I'm doing it? rarely.
It's so hard, I'm too slow, I generally feel awkward and ungainly. I have constant calf tightness and cramping, I worry about how my stomach will hold up, I feel like I tire too easily and i know I give up too soon. Hills are hard and I sometimes walk them. Sometimes I can't make myself go another step running...even if I had just said to myself, just go another 5 mins or to that tree or to the intersection.
Trail runing can be fun. Running downhill is always fun. I get to go fast. I get to feel how I think other runners must feel...light on my feet, without struggling, without pain or tightness, longer stride and easy pace. Sometimes, I'll run uphill and stop...so I can catch my breath and really enjoy running the downhill part. Sometimes I run uphill, just so I can run downhill since I know I will enjoy it.
I've always thought I would enjoy it more if I were a little faster. Because I would love to be in the middle of pack in a race wearing some silly costume and just running for fun. I don't race my races anyway...but I'm too slow to have fun with them. When you're 5th from last...no one cares if you're in a funny hat...they aren't even watching.
Having said all of that...there is a sweet spot for me. Around 3-4 miles in...things change. My legs are warmed up and feel good. I run faster and better for about 1-2 miles around then if i can keep up the momentum. This hasn't been true on my long runs lately and I don't know why.
So to answer your question...I don't know. Overall, maybe 1 in 5? A better question might be...how often do I really hate my run. Because that percentage is less than how often I really enjoy them. I hate them maybe 1 in 20. Once a month, maybe, I think this is the stupidest thing I've ever tried to do and I want to sit down and cry. I think, someone like me has no business trying to do this. That I look like a complete a$$hole and I'm fooling no one.
That's maybe once a month. Less maybe.
Here's the thing about it, Glenn. I enjoy my runs when I don't care how they go. When I walk when I want to, and run the hard hills and get to the top and think, damn that was hard. When I stop to look at trees, or talk to neighbors or pet someone's dog. I'll stop to investigate the bullfrogs croaking beside the lake or pick up a nickel or a stone, or smell some flowers. If I don't care how they go and I just want to run for 30 mins, then they're pretty fun.
So training can be hard for me. I never feel adequate or prepared. If the most fun I have running is when I'm running and walking and stopping and chatting...how can I train for something where the only thing I'm supposed to do is run? I LOVE the social part of running...the friends I've made and the race expo and the entertainment on the course and the post race fun. I've had a LOT of fun in races, when I've run with Lori or Lora or Victoria and Chris. Those weren't all great races, in terms of time or pace or how I did overall, but they were FUN.
I just hope I disappoint no one at RTB...mostly myself. If I make it fun for me...will others be disappointed? I don't know. They are real runners...I am not a real runner. I am a runner maybe, but I just don't have the talent or skill or interest or dedication that others do. I can be a better runner I'm sure (I AM a better runner than I was a year ago), but a good runner? not likely. Just like I'll never be thin or tall or famous...it's just not gonna happen.
You've gotten me all choked up writing about this. You always make me cry.