March was not the easiest month. It started off with a bad illness. Then I got lost at a race and quit. It's been rough getting back into the swing of things. Most days I don't feel like running and, honestly, there are days that I've thought that maybe I don't want to run at all anymore, ever. Most days I still push myself to get out there but instead of doing 60-70 mile per week like I have planned, I'm doing 30-40.
I've been spending a lot of time in my head lately. I know, it's a dangerous place to be. I keep coming back to this idea. It comes from a verse in the Bible. "Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands." I feel like that is very contrary to the way we are pressured to live on a daily basis. Fill your calendar, have places to go and people to meet, get promoted, fight for a raise, get little sleep. Essentially never settle and never be content with what you have.
I feel it in my running too. Throughout February I would wake up before sunrise and get 4-5 miles of roads in before work in the freezing cold. Then I would run after work, too. It was all about squeezing the miles in. I was determined that if I could build up to 70 miles per week I would have the breakout race I was hoping for. But you know what I learned? I hate junk miles. I'm tired of dragging myself out there and for what? So I can be a marginally faster mid-pack runner? I'm never going to make a name or a place for myself in running.
I'm not trying to have a pity party here... it's just the reality and even if I did have some big improvements I'm not sure I would want to be a recognized runner. Take Anton Krupicka for example. If someone caught him taking a walk break on his run up Green Mountain they would probably judge him a little. The guy can't run a race for fun without having to tune out social media. Once you get to that level, you have to prove yourself every day. You can't just have an easy run without having to justify it with an injury or illness. I don't want that.
I keep watching the new Salomon Trail Running TV episode on YouTube about Fell Running in the UK. There is a quote where Billy Bland, fell running legend, says, "You just pulled your shorts on and did what you thought was right." This guy gets it. We run our best and love it the most when we mind our own business and live a quiet life. Click here for a link to the video.
Looking at the next couple of months I'm intimidated by the things I have planned. A tough 50k followed by arguably the hardest 50 miler in the US. Then three US skyrunning ultras. I'm fearful that I'm not going to get the drive back that I once had in my training. But I think I'm just going to have to change my training. I need to put the adventure back in my running. There are times to push limits but right now I need to focus on enjoying the simple and ordinary things that make up my life. The cold air stinging my cheeks in the morning. The sudden warmth of the sun in the afternoon. Flowers along the trail that weren't there a few days ago. Springtime birds stretching out their vocal cords.
Here is a final thought. It's not that it is bad to grasp for something more, it's just that at some point you need to stop and look around you and say, "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is." It was Vonnegut who suggested that, by the way.
Here are some pictures from my short and slow run this morning on Green Mountain.