“For me, running is both exercise and a metaphor. Running day after day, piling up the races, bit by bit I raise the bar, and by clearing each level I elevate myself. At least that’s why I’ve put in the effort day after day: to raise my own level. I’m no great runner, by any means. I’m at an ordinary – or perhaps more like mediocre – level. But that’s not the point. The point is whether or not I improved over yesterday. In long-distance running the only opponent you have to beat is yourself, the way you used to be.” ~Haruki Murakami
The truth is I’ve been in a bit of a funk the past few weeks – a summer fog. It happens every summer. I wilt. My head and heart struggle. I feel slightly disengaged and slightly overwhelmed. I can’t tell you what causes is it, but I can tell you it’s become way too familiar when the summer heat becomes prevelant.
The only thing I know to do is to move through it.
The Allen Stone 5k was the race I was looking forward to all summer. It was supposed to be the finish line after an intense focus on speed for twelve weeks. The training plan I created (with the help of Run Less Run Faster) is still taped to my fridge without one workout completed.
Life has seasons, and I knew this wasn’t my season to focus on training. I’ve run when I’ve felt like it. I’ve slept in. I’ve taken afternoon naps. I’ve prioritized strength training over running miles. I know this is what I needed. I know this will reward me in the fall.
But today was race day. I almost didn’t sign up because I knew it wouldn’t be the race I had envisioned. On Thursday I finally signed up. The only way to combat my summer blues is to move through it. I’d feel worse if I didn’t show up.
“This is not the moment to wilt into the underbrush of your insecurities. You’ve earned the right to grow.” ~Cheryl Strayed
I had one goal for this race: fight.
After walking in my last 5k, that wasn’t an option. Regardless of pace, I needed to fight for my potential.
Mile 1: 8:18
This mile felt like it lasted forever. The fog I’ve been feeling followed me on to the race course. My quiet mantra for the rest of the race emerged: fight for it. Don’t give in. Fight to hang on.
Mile 2: 8:48
Mile 3: 9:02
Final kick: 7:15 pace
The race felt overwhelmingly quiet. I ran by myself for most of the race. While I looked for someone to race, I seemed to be stuck in no mans land the whole race.
Official finish: 27:02, 4th in my age group
The finish line was neither disappointing or satisfying. While I’m proud of my ability to hang on when I just wasn’t feeling it, I’m more than ready for this fog to move on. I’m ready for my next season.
It’s only July, and I’m already craving fall temperatures and running.
I’ll keep plugging away. I’ll keeping pushing through. Because I’m determined to not get stuck in this middle.
I’ve got my eyes on another 5k before our fall training team kicks off Harbor Lights Half Marathon training on August 16th. One more race to help build a solid foundation for fall.