Last week Harold at A Veteran Runnah posted about how he was faced with a choice between hitting the track for speed or taking to the trails for a more leisurely run. After some debate, he went with the trails. He concluded that perhaps his focus on running was shifting from all about competition to something more along the lines of enjoyment. Harold is in his in his 50s, has been running a long time, and is sensing that this is where his running is taking him right now.
I could relate to his post to some degree. This summer I’ve felt myself going through something of a shift with my running as well. Yes, I still have goals, am competitive with myself, and put in the work to improve my speed. But I can also tell that I’m maybe not quite as driven for speed as I was just a couple of years ago.
I noticed this a couple of weeks ago when I ran the Twilighter 8k. I wanted to do well, but knew going into it I wasn’t up to normal speed right now. And I was ok with that–in fact I can’t think of another race where I felt more relaxed at the start than I did that one. I still raced, and I still tried, but when I finished and was around two minutes off my normal speed, I wasn’t crushed. In fact, I really enjoyed the race, crappy time and all. It’s where I am right now and I accept that.
Lest you think I’m going all soft on racing, let me assure you I’m not throwing in the towel any time soon. Nor am I settling for mediocrity. It’s just that, right now I’m pretty content even if I’m not running my absolute best. In some ways, I’ve had more fun with my running this year than ever. I’ve run a barefoot 5k, run a race at night, trained for triathlon, and taken to the trails more than ever before. Switching things up has been fun.
I don’t know if it’s the number of years I’ve been running, being laid up for such a long time last year, or just my age in general that’s behind this bit of mellowing. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I’m happy with my running right now. I encourage each of you to find that happy place with running, wherever that is for you. To get cliche, the journey has been pretty damn good to me this year.
Where do you stand with your running right now?