Rambling Thoughts

Since JFK I have gone through a huge range of mindsets related to training. I went through the post race high, through what I thought was enlightenment, I went through some negativity, I have felt exhaustion, felt like I will never get my speed back again, and wondered what on earth I do this all for in the first place and how I ended up where I am after the past few years of racing.

I definitely don't have an answer to that last one but I have been analyzing it. Trying to figure out what I want to do with running and why I think I want to do it in the first place. The past few years it feels like my schedule laid itself out for me. It all seemed logical and I just followed the path. Now it doesn't feel so certain.

I found myself putting distances on my schedule just because it was what I did last year. I have no idea why I put a 70.3 on the schedule. I didn't even enjoy my first one that much. I enjoyed the training and I liked knowing that if I wanted to I could go longer. But you know what. I didn't want to go longer in the tri, and I still don't. Dreaming about being an Ironman or racing a killer 70.3 is one thing. Actually wanting to do it is a completely different thing. Just because I could be good at it doesn't mean I have to want it.

As for running I think I found out training for the ultras that I don't need to be fast to enjoy running. A 4-6 hour trail run at 12 minute pace is just as fufilling to me as a 3:30 marathon. But as much as I enjoy the longer ultra runs I know that right now I don't feel fit. I feel slow and I don't like it at all. I am not entirely sure this is because I actually want to be faster or because I feel like I should be or have to be.

Something keeps me striving towards being a better marathoner. I know with proper training that I could probably run under 3:15 in the next few years, and because I know that I feel like I have to strive towards that. But I honestly don't even know if that's what I want, or if that is what I have been influenced to think I want.

At the end of the day does it really matter if I never BQ again? Does it matter if I never compete in another triathlon? Does it matter if I run 100 miles or complete an Ironman? Does not accomplishing those things take away from everything else I have achieved? It shouldn't.

All these random thoughts have been rolling around in my head so I am hoping to air some of them on the blog. Prepare for some possibly incoherent rambling in the upcoming weeks!

16 comments:

Cliff said...

e-speed. Love these rambling thoughts.

IM is a huge commitment in time, effort, resources and energy. If you like to do the 'shorter' (which is long for 99% of ppl), then do it.

Sometimes we put race and aiming for the IM too much b/c it is large part of the media hype. I think a ultra is just as admirable as IM if not even harder.

have a good day.

Black Knight said...

The rambling thoughts are common, sometimes we get lost to follow them. Very nice post.

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth,
I think we all tend to look ahead and say "I've done that, what's next?" and feel like it has to be bigger and better - either faster or longer. It doesn't have to be that way, you could just run for the sheer love of running, or you could choose to run trails just so you could enjoy the views. I think we all get caught up in that. Eric's been to Boston twice and requalifies every year - but we decided to use our resources (money and time) to enjoy other races and other parts of the country. When the Boston hype starts up though, it's hard to resist. Right now, I am picking marathons based on two things:
1)How many of my running friends will be there and 2) is it a course I've always wanted to run. That's it!

How was that for a long and rambling comment?

IHateToast said...

i think there's a lot of influence out there that longer is better. i guess that's because we get recognition somewhere. some person run a super zippy 5k gets no credit at the office or from friends. it's silly. sort of like saying michael johnson isn't really fast or a runner because he's done after 400m. sure, he's an olympian, but hey... really... if someone came into the office and said they ran 400m in 57 seconds, no one would care... unless they ran 400m in track before and could respect the achievement that'd be for an average joe.

you know what you want. do that. we do enough of what we don't want in life.
and when you know what you want to do, you'll know how you can better it. could even be that one takes a rest from time improvement to work on recovery times or posture or how best to run with a handful of bunnies.

Anonymous said...

I have found over the years that setting goal races helps me to give my training focus and gets me out the door when I can't come up with a better reason.
Lately I fail to find a good reason for 26.2 other than "Why not?".
A differance between racing and war is that we don't need to justify a race for anyone. We can just enjoy the party that is Boston, Ironman, JFK, or whatever other race we run. The whole thing is just a forward dance.

TriSaraTops said...

Ramble on, sista. I'm right with you. I think probably the only thing I really, really plan on doing this year is being at races with friends--maybe racing or maybe watching.

Who knows...I guess that's the fun, eh?

Speaking of which--I'm running at the zoo at 9:30am if you're interested :)

Anonymous said...

I would wager a guess that a lot of us go through similar periods from time to time. The good news is (what I find for myself) is that ultimately, when I get back on track with my running, not only do I feel better physically, I feel so much better mentally.

toughcookie7 said...

I felt the same way after Steelhead, which is probably why I signed up for an IM. But what's next, after that? I will most likely be in the same boat as you. I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for the crash, but in time I figure I'll probably be fine just sticking to shorter triathlons and marathons/half-marathons.

Anonymous said...

The only thing that really matters is that the things you strive for make you happy. If that's being a speedy 5ker, or steady endurance runner- either is just wonderful. As long as you are still crossing the finish line with a smile on your face and enjoying the process.

:-)

Jodi

DaisyDuc said...

Yes, ramble away. I find myslef doing it often.

All I do know is I will continue to exercise as I love the way it makes me feel and all the fun & friendships it has brought me along the way!

flint cordoroy said...

Even Alanis Morissette stopped doing triathlons.

Anonymous said...

As much as I love the long slow ultras I long for a fast marathon once again as well. Keep on rambling and you'll find your way.

Anonymous said...

I suggest reading Once a Runner by John L. Parker for answers to your questions.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I can relate to much of this. Too bad I won't be able to hit those Tuesday night track workouts with you anymore. Bummer =(

mouse said...

I am behind on reading you because I am incredibly LAME, but I just wanted to say that I totally hear you on the rambling. I thought after the trail 'thon that I would be happy just doing longer slow trail runs and enjoying myself, but now i'm finding that I miss the challenge of speedwork and the feeling of being (mildly) fast that comes with it. THE HORROR! THAT I WOULD MISS SPEEDWORK! blech.

anyways, I feel ya, girl. good luck finding what makes you happy.

Lana said...

Elizabeth - I can totally relate. I've been having a lot of those same thoughts lately, and I finally posted about it last night. I had to ask myself a lot of questions and realign my priority list. Most importantly, I want to go back to just having fun with racing and training, and not feel so much pressure to be competitive.

Take your time and be true to yourself. Either way, you're a superstar!