Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Easier Said Than Done

Well, that didn't take long. 

Less than a week after I started my miraculous spreadsheet, I'm already off schedule. There was the day I overslept, and the day it was cold and rainy, and the day my legs were sore from walking in a hilly neighborhood. All one-offs, but they add up. Laziness creeps up so slowly, and it seems so comforting at the time.

Sleeping in is easy. Relaxing is easy. Taking an extra hour to enjoy my coffee is easy. But I when I do those things instead of running and taking care of myself, everything else gets a lot more difficult.

The easy road does not lead where I want to be. One of the reasons I was drawn to running in the first place was to set myself apart and feel stronger. People do not run marathons because they are easy. People run marathons precisely because they are not, and overcoming that difficulty is a prize on its own.

Like oil changes and flossing, wellness requires regular personal maintenance. It never seems like a big deal to cut corners, but it always catches up with me. Running is an important part of my life, even on the days I'd rather be in bed. I never regret completing a run, but I certainly regret when I skip one. 

So, take two. After a minor setback, it's time to refocus and get back on track. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rows and Columns

Spreadsheets give me immense satisfaction. I'm baffled how anyone gets anything done without them. Seeing data plotted out so neatly, in nice straight rows and columns makes any task seem possible. 

I established my training plan today, and it feels terrific. My Excel document is a tidy, concrete way to hold myself accountable without getting overwhelmed. (Bonus nerd points for the accompanying charts and graphs). 

13.1 miles is scary. It's a long distance, and a lot to ask of your body. A half marathon is not to be not to be taken lightly. But two miles here, three miles there? Slowly building up with cushion for setbacks? It's not so scary when it's broken down. 

Parts of training cannot be planned. There will be days when I am sick, or hurt. Days with horrible weather, or personal emergencies. Days when I don't want to. Days when I don't feel like it. 

But I DO want to finish this race, and I've committed that to writing. My spreadsheet has been saved, printed, and stuck to the fridge as a daily reminder. I may stray on occasion, but my path is in order.

Bottom line: I have a plan! I can do this.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Exsiste hic iam

Exsiste hic iam. Be here now. 

I've loved this phrase for years, to the point where I considered getting a tattoo of it when A) I still spoke Latin, and B) I still thought tattoos were a good idea. Neither of those are true anymore, but it's a mantra I continue to carry with me. It's easy to dwell on what I used to be capable of and focus on the past, but running is entirely about moving forward. In order to move forward, I need to be mindful of each step, here and now.

I ran two miles this morning. Correction: I ran one mile, stopped, huffed and puffed, paced around, caught my breath, and then ran another mile. I used to be better than this, and I want to be better than this. But this is where I am today, and it's important to embrace it. I know that in time two difficult miles will become two easy miles, will be come three miles, then four, and so on. But today I'm at two very unpretty miles. 

The only way back to long runs is to work through the short runs. There's no way to skip ahead and magically be able to run 10 miles. I need to push through these rusty miles. It isn't glamorous. It isn't easy.

But I'm here, now, and I'm trying.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Starting Line

A year ago I ran a marathon. Yesterday I ran one mile, and it was hard.

Like most parts of life, running goes in waves. At times I'm incredibly disciplined, at times I struggle with motivation. Some days I feel amazing, other days I feel awful. But I keep at it because running keeps me happier, saner, and healthier in every sense of the word.

The past year has brought countless changes -- a new city, new job, new friends. With so many new developments, running didn't remain a high priority, and I've missed it in my life.

This blog is a work in progress, meant to document my baby steps. I'm working my way back to a half marathon, but more importantly I'm working my way back to structure, wellness, and a healthy, happy life.

Once a runner, always a runner. It doesn't matter how far or how fast. All you need to do is run.