Embracing Imperfection

I haven’t been posting much of late, and that was partially due to Thanksgiving its associated house guests, meal-planning, and Paleo pumpkin pie experiments. (For the record, I compromised with a traditional crust, but coconut instead of condensed milk in the custard.)  The more accurate explanation for the lack of activity here, though, is that my running has been abysmal lately.  Despite dropping my mileage to 1/3 of my pre-race level, my hip seems just as sore.  I’m running slow 3-milers, and they’re feeling like a lot of work.  I think about skipping runs a lot, and that is very, very unlike me.  I’ve spent the last month being hard on myself for not running faster, farther, or enjoying it more. (The beatings will continue until morale improves.)  I finally realized tonight that my body is asking for a break.  I spent all summer pushing it to the limit and expecting it to perform on demand, and now, whether it’s physical or mental, it’s clear that I need to take it down a notch.

Shortly after having that revelation, I also realized that I’m angry about the marathon.  I put in 95% of the work to get there, and I got cheated out of all the glory of the finish line.  If I’d run the race, I don’t think I would have felt guilty at all about taking some time off to recuperate and recharge. I would have been basking in the accomplishment and counting every mile I did put in in the weeks after as pure, virtuous gravy.  Instead, I felt like I hadn’t earned any rest time and I immediately set out to fix the IT band and get stronger and leaner to boot. I piled more (albeit different) demands on myself and I’ve been berating myself for not making progress quickly enough. It’s really no wonder it’s been kind of miserable lately.

I started running because it made me feel good.  I love the feeling of effortless motion when running starts to feel more natural than walking.  I love the way it clears my head and reconnects me to my body after a long day at work.  I love that I can rock skinny jeans.  None of those things are dependent on speed, or races, or even distance.  And so I’m challenging myself  to not care how far or how fast I run tomorrow, or this week, or this month.  And if I don’t feel like running sometimes, maybe I won’t.

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