Saturday, November 22, 2008

Unexpected Motivation

After the half marathon in August, I wasn't sure what to do. With no pending race in sight, I didn't know how to keep running. At first I decided I wanted to learn to run faster, in part because then maybe Erik and I could run together (he can run a mile more than a minute faster than me, and that's when I'm pushing it). But at the same time, I wanted to track a good number of miles. I found I wasn't enjoying myself, and was wearing out too quickly. So I decided I should give myself the chance to just enjoy running for what it is.

That worked for about two days.

Then I started thinking, "Wait, why am I running? This isn't all that fun. I could be walking" etc. etc. Then my health started going up and down again so the long and short of it is that I haven't run much in the past few weeks.

This morning, I was all full of excuses why I shouldn't run. My stomach kind of hurts. My head too. I'm tired. One day won't make a difference. But then I gave myself the mental equivalent of a slap in the face and shoved myself out the door.

I took a different route, one that doesn't require me to start off running 1/2 mile uphill. I thought that might help. Once I got onto the "park connector" (aka a bike path) I realized that running later in the morning means more people are out. Which meant more people to pass (granted, most of them were walking, but then I feel SUPER FAST). I saw one man running ahead of me, and knew I'd pass him relatively soon. When I did though, he stuck with me. He was about 3 feet behind my right shoulder for the next mile. I tried increasing my speed to see if I could shake him, but to no avail.

I'm not by nature a competitive person, but I just didn't want him to pass me, nor did I want him hanging on me. So it kept me running at a pretty good pace until the 2.5 mile mark where I wanted to turn around. I slowed down at a bench and glanced at him. He turned toward me and made a motion as though to say, "C'mon!" not in a creepy way, but in a "this is great, are you sure you're done?" kind of way. He ran a bit further and then turned back the way we'd come, maybe thinking I'd catch up and we could do it again. I did go that way eventually, but saw him turn off the path before I caught him.

Although it was a bit strange, that was a great motivator for me. So I guess each morning I just need to find someone willing to trail me at a good clip so I keep running.

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