Moe, for better or worse

This blog used to be called "one year in the life of a short fat runner"; then it was called "Am I a runner? you decide." I've decided running isn't the thing I need to talk about'll come up for sure, but it's just one part of me, so I think I'll just call this blog: Moe, for better or worse.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

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 many of your runs are actually fun? 1 out of 3, 1 out of 5, 1 out of 7, 1 out of 10........

My response:

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 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 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 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 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's just not gonna happen.

You've gotten me all choked up writing about this. You always make me cry.


Blogger Frankie said...

I know a run that I did with you that was pretty fun =) Hey Moe, tall or short, fat or skinny, famous or not, real runner or not some of us really like you just the way you are. Just my .02

August 20, 2008 12:44 PM  
Blogger sauconRunner said...

A few things:

1.) If you really enjoy it when you are just doing your thing than focus on that, maybe not training and racing. Maybe its just not for you. I don't totally enjoy racing (and like you I don't race a race) but it keeps me motivated.

2.) I too need a good 2 miles to warm up and then I feel great. At first it was hard to get to that point without giving up but eventually I would tell myself to hold out for the sweet spot and then I could push further and further over time.

3.) Do you stretch after the first mile or so? I have very tight achilles and calves whenever I do my Tues/Thurs runs. Since these are my recovery/easy runs sometimes I will stop around 1 or 1.5 miles and stretch them out, it will hurt like hell but then once I start running again they feel 100% better. The other thing is that when I hit the 2, 2.5 mark they loosen up on their own.

You are doing great, I think your running has improved both mentally and physically since Oache started coaching you.

August 20, 2008 2:44 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Heh. I promise, you're not the only one who wonders WTF the point is sometime, with their running. That's a battle I face on a routine basis.

However, I've also found that 'looking' for joy along the run surely makes things more entertaining, and helps the time to pass. Just this past week, my new game was "Count the number of squirrels ya see!".

There are a LOT of squirrels along my running areas. It kept my mind busy, at least ;)

Simply put, as long as ya keep going, you're doing awesome, girlfriend. Don't talk yourself into any other way of looking into things! *hughugs*

August 20, 2008 3:01 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Hey from the better late than never files...(I hit blogs with Google Reader and I am usually at least a few days behind).

I have HATED most of the last couple runs I've done. Of course after a long day of work, commute home and then running in 100*+ maybe that is my problem and things will get better. The past 2 weeks with no running might be helping too.

Hang in there and run for fun, run for you!

August 22, 2008 4:56 PM  

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