Pieces of finding peace

At various points in my 15 years of running, I’ve set some pretty stringent goals. Whether it was a PR in a 5K or breaking 4 hours in a marathon, I had many points of extreme focus.

The results were always extremely rewarding, but in hindsight, I don’t think I ever took the appropriate time to soak in the moments and enjoy what was happening at the time.

The patterns were very much: goal set/broke/missed, take a week or two to not worry about goals, then move on to the next thing. That’s pretty typical for a running, and it’s probably a mind frame that I will always have.

But now it’s different.

Serious injuries not only derailed me physically, but it messed me up mentally. I’ve battled back physically in the past 20 months, but it’s only been until recently that I realized how much my mind was broken.

I was going through the motions of getting back to some amazing milestones. I never, ever imagined I’d finish the Blue Ridge Marathon and even thinking about doing it again (check out HERE on some news about the 2020 race!)

But while going through those motions, I was lacking EMOTION.

This summer, though, I am finding a few feeling with running that I don’t really remember having … PEACE.

It’s difficult to explain, but stringing together runs that don’t make me feel terrible, running at different times of the day, being more observant, running more than I have in a few years, cross training, filtering out a lot of noise on social media … it all adds up.

And now as I look ahead to the Richmond Marathon and beyond, my goals have to focus on this new feeling.

There is no end game with “peace.” I also know that this feeling could change tomorrow so that’s why it’s important for me to embrace this moment.

But right now I feel refocused and refreshed even though I didn’t need it. And that’s a pretty amazing feeling to have in the middle of summer running …

It's MY life

For a while now, I’ve been filtering out the noise when it comes to running. I’ve stopped listening to cliche comments, I’ve avoided arguing and I’ve focused on doing my own thing.

Yesterday’s run, which was using my “LIVE” playlist with an unbelievable range of live songs across many genres, was filled with songs that drew a lot of emotion and thoughts from from me and re-emphasised that all my thoughts and actions are the best thing for me.

The song that really got me going and focused on my final few miles was a song I’ve probably never listened to on a run.

It was Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” … Yes, a Bon Jovi song got me to run my best and realize that what I have going on with running right now should apply to more of my life.

Still feeling 'new'

By the numbers, July was a really good month - 80.8 miles was the second most miles in a month this year, it was nearly as many miles as the past two Julys combined and I had small increases every week in the month.

But for some reason, I feel like I could have done more. While I didn't let the weather win, the heat beat me down sometimes when it shouldn't have.

I actually felt better on my long runs than just about any point this past winter - it's the shorter runs that I need to work on.

I'm discovering how much I need to hydrate before, during and after a run so that I'm not so miserable at various points during the week.

I also need to find more time to get in longer runs during the week so I can increase my overall mileage in August. I did get in 6 miles today for the final run of the month, but that needs to be the norm, not the exception.

I've commented in several social media posts how much running feels "new" to me this year. I've missed these feelings of highs and lows so much, and that roller coaster ride is hard to get used to.

It's not always great, and that's a good thing.

Now it's on to August as I set my sights on more running and hitting (hopefully) triple digits with my monthly mileage, along with long runs that I didn't even get to when I was training for the Blue Ridge Marathon.

I just need to focus on doing my own thing and it will happen ...

No. 1272

Over the past few years, my blog has taken a back seat for a variety of reasons, but generally speaking I didn’t have much good to say.

Now I’m in a really weird spot: running is going really well … and I don’t have all that much to say about it.

I kind of live a lot of my runs on Instagram …

And then move on.

Being happy to run, not feeling miserable and setting reasonable goals are things I’ve been seeking for a long time … I just didn’t realize it until now.

I don’t miss documenting all the things going on in my head and letting the world know, but it’s also comforting to know I still have this blog if I need it and other places on social media to go and vent.

About that next long run ...

These past few summers have been, well, pretty bad when it comes to running.

It’s gone a little like this:

2016: Injured

2017: Injured

2018: I got my long run back to 7 miles in July, but was miserable after. Instead of ramping up my mileage, I pretty much got stuck in a rut and didn’t run anything longer than 3-4 miles until later in the year.

That leads me to what should happen this coming Saturday: A run longer than 7 miles.

I ran 7 miles this weekend and didn’t feel horrible in the heat and humidity. I simply slowed to a pace that was incredibly slow and focused on getting it done. I also didn’t feel bad the rest of the day as I got rehydrated.

Summer running feels new again to me - it used to just be a thing I complained about, but now I’m looking forward to the challenges it brings.

While I hit a lot of my “longest since” milestones this past winter, my “longest since” marks this summer feel like they’re more important. After all, the last time I ran 10 miles or more in the heat was the summer of 2012.

I’ve got plans to build my long runs back up gradually this summer to distances that I admittedly struggled with in the winter and early spring … and then go even farther.

My body feels much more ready this time around …