Wednesday, October 23, 2013

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Can you really understand the runner's mindset? The dzlrunner's perspective...

"Running... if you don't do it, you probably won't understand it."~ dzlrunner

I'm sure that there are other quotes that mean similar things and have a similar point.  But, I came up with this one after having an uncomfortable day on this past Wednesday.  I was inspired by the infamous Washington Post quote, "If you don't get it... you don't get it."

In my limited running experience, I've found that if a scheduled training run doesn't happen, there's a good chance that things won't go right.  That's just the way it is for me and it might be the sentiment among other runners, as well.

This week, I planned to shoot for 30 total miles.  I wanted to go into my second half marathon, at the Baltimore Running Festival, with my strongest training week.  I started out with a very good 10k (6.2 miles) on Monday.  I finished in 1:12:41 and a 11:43 pace.

Tuesday was a rest day and Wednesday, I was looking for another 6 miler.

Now, I'm a morning runner... But, I knew that I would have to run in the evening, because my wife had to get to work.  I wouldn't have enough time to get 6 miles in and get my boys to school by the time they needed to be there.  My oldest son is a safety patrol and he normally raises the flag on the flag post each morning.  That's a very important job to him, so I try to get him there so that he can take care of his responsibility.

Anyway, I didn't run in the morning and my day just didn't seem to go right.  It was a slow, tough, slog all day long... Similar to a slow, tough run.  (I had one of these a couple of weeks ago... Took me 2 hours and 10 minutes to complete 8 miles. Yuck!! But, you'll have these from time to time... It's inevitable!)

Lunch is normally a time for me to decompress a little bit from the morning.  Well, that didn't happen... No decompression at lunch.  I knew what the problem was and I was looking forward to my nice, fulfilling run that evening.  The rest of the day goes by and I'm finally able to clock out and go home.

Now, I get home the same time my wife gets home with the kids.  I was ready to go for my long anticipated run... I knew my wife had to leave to handle some business, but I was still planning to get my run in.  I figured, I could be back by the time she was ready to leave.  She didn't like that plan.  She was concerned about her ability to leave and do what she had to do in a timely manner.

So, I waited for a bit...  And I waited... I was now quite frustrated.  As the time steadily slipped away and evening was turning into night, my chance to run was diminishing.

This is part of why I like running in the morning... The run is already done and no one else is affected. 

Running in the evening can create havoc when you have a family.  It's dinner time, you have to help with homework, baths and putting the kids to bed.  It's no longer summer time, so no long days and no daylight past 7:30pm.  This is why I don't run in the evening... it puts a strain on the rest of the family.  And that is not what I want my running to do.  That creates problems that I'm just not prepared to deal with.

Well, I was pretty frustrated at this point and that's the point of this post...

My wife couldn't understand why I was so annoyed.  I found it pretty difficult to explain my frustration.  I felt like she wouldn't understand the significance of missing a training run, let alone missing a training run so close to a race.

Running is my sanctuary and that's where I can get my mind right, clear my head and settle myself down.  After a run, I'm in what I like to call, a zen state of being...  That's when nothing bothers me and I'm Mr. Happy.  Running is my drug!!

When a scheduled run doesn't happen for me, I get antsy and anxious. Sort of like an addict who hasn't had their fix!

What makes running so important to me is, the discipline and routine that I can take pride in.  I mentioned in a previous post about all the 'unfinished business' I have in my life.  Well, having the ability to be consistent and disciplined enough to train regularly for goals that I have set, gives me a great sense of pride and accomplishment.

That's a part of what makes running attractive to me... But, that may not be as attractive for non-runners...

The choice and the mindset to punish the body many times over through exercise, doesn't sit well with some people. They can't understand it.  The decision to pay for the aches and pains that come from running in an official race, is unfathomable.  There's always the question of why we would put ourselves through that type of anguish.  The DNF (Did Not Finish) can be three of the most dreaded letters to some runners... Non-runners won't understand that.  They won't understand why someone is willing to crawl through a finish line in so much agony and decide not to quit, when the first set of cramps or sharp pains arise and your body won't do what you want it to do.

They can't understand why someone would wake up in the wee hours of the morning to run, instead of stay asleep.  They can't understand why we love our "gear" and, as far as they're concerned, every time they turn around, it's something new being worn or used to run.  (I'm laughing as I write this... I'm replaying, in my head, many of the jokes that I have heard from time to time about the purchase of new gear... Many of them told by my wife, my running partner's wife and others...hilarious!!)

If you don't run, can you really understand the runner's mindset?  Let's put it this way... The running community has an open invitation to anyone who wants to join.  That's what is so awesome about this group of people!!  Overall, it's a very encouraging group who don't care whether you're fast, slow, fat, slim, black or white.  We are brought together by the fact that we run!!

Until you run, you'll have a hard time understanding the runner's mindset.  But once you run and do it for a while, you'll begin to see and know for yourself, what it's all about.  Try it!!