I can honestly say that at the age of 35, my running “priorities” have shifted. Yep, there used to be those oh-so-neurotic days when, if I ran less than what my training schedule dictated, I felt a lingering sense of guilt that wouldn’t melt away until I made up for it during my next training session.
I do own a GPS unit, but it stays in my drawer most of the time now, its neighbors are an empty training log and some unused pens. These forgotten items serve as reminders of how my running dynamic has shifted as my life has become a balance act between training, work, friends, coaching and writing.
It’s funny how life is. It moves along but eventually brings you back to where you started, when running laps on the soccer field and playing chase with your dogs was pure joy and freedom of being in the moment and being alive realized.
With 241 days to go until my first race in 7 years, I have come full-circle and the joy has returned to my sport. Even though I have chosen a race and know I will once again be “competing,” I don’t feel the stress and anxiety I once did when I was racing “at my best” in my late 20‘s.
When I run now, I listen to Katy Perry on my iPod and remember my “Last Friday Night” and laugh. Even though there were no “pink flamingos in the pool” or “DJ passed out in the yard” my friend Kevin was hysterical as usual, the cosmos were epic (thankfully I had Vitalyte as a hangover cure the next day!) and no one felt like leaving at closing time. Basically, play has returned to my activity. How? Why now? I’m not asking any questions. I’m just living and enjoying all aspects of my life.
Don’t get me wrong, I still train. But I really, really, really listen to my body. I was in the gym at 6am this morning strength training and am getting ready to lace up my shoes for a nice easy 5 mile run along the boardwalk in a few minutes. But if was too tired for the run, then I would wait until tomorrow and wouldn’t feel an ounce of guilt about it! Instead, I would enjoy taking my dogs for a walk, or having a cup of coffee with a friend, or finishing up some work emails of I wanted to be productive.
So how many miles have I run this week? I can’t tell you off-hand. But what I can tell you is that I feel fit, rested and happy; or as the Three Little Bears so eloquently stated it “Just Right.”