I fell in love with running a long time ago. Sure, it took a while to really love it, but now lacing up my shoes and heading out for a few miles is one of my favorite ways to spend my free time. I love filling my calendar with races, laying out my clothes the night before the big day, and crossing the finish line with a smile on my face.
I run for me — for my health and well being, because I can, and possibly most importantly, because it’s fun.
In February, I signed up for the Chicago Marathon. When I registered, I was looking forward to a summer of running, with high hopes to finally break the six hour mark in the marathon. I was dreaming of reasonable October weather and crossing my fingers for the perfect race.
When it came time to actually train, things were different. I had a lot on my plate. Instead of long runs being a respite and the perfect stress relief, they became another stressor — just one more thing on a to-do list that never ended. Long runs are usually my solace. They’re a place where I can solve all the world’s problems, find peace, and get re-energized.
This summer has been different. This summer, I’ve been going through a divorce. And it turns out that sometimes long runs are too long. And too much time alone with your thoughts.
At first, I tried to push on. I signed up for it, I told people I was going to do it, so I should do it. I’d justify that I’d only missed one week… two weeks… three weeks of training. I’d only missed a couple runs that week. Eventually, it became clear that this just isn’t a marathon summer for me.
But that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be a marathon summer. It’s been a summer of many other things. Self-discovery. Taking care of my health. Spending time with friends. Exploring Chicago. Learning. Napa and hope. Smaller races. Bubble baths. Days off. A break from blogging. Most of all, taking care of me when I needed it.
I won’t beat myself up for not sticking to the plan. Running isn’t my job. I run for fun. So if it’s not fun or it’s not doing me any favors , it’s time to find something else. For me, that meant a long break followed by some shorter distances. (Yes, I now consider a half marathon a “shorter” distance. I’m insane.)
And now it’s fun again. I’m happy to lace up my shoes and get out there. I just needed some time.
What do you do when your beloved exercise or hobby becomes dull? How do you shake it up?
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