If I can look at my “Fuck this. I’m going running.” bumper sticker on the back of my car and not feel like a poseur, then I’m good. I, fortunately, have not yet missed so many days of running that this has ever been the case and with a little motivation and spring break enabled free time, I’ve actually upped my game lately. I’m not putting in interval work or running hills or anything like that, but I have been sticking it through the rough patches on the treadmill and keepin’ on until I feel spent or sore. It has actually been pretty nice to run until I feel little twinges of tightness or physical concerns then back off, where in the past I would keep running to make sure I hit the allotted weekly mileage. This is smart running – the kind of running the magazines always tell you to do.
Admittedly, it’s still a struggle to find that deeper motivation that gets me out the door, into the gym, putting one foot in front of the other. Some days the sheer joy is all I need while others I have to seek out a more intrinsic reward and that doesn’t even always cut it. Right now, my main motivation is contained in 2 words. Ocean City.
In just a few months I’ll have over a week of unrestricted, no obligation time at my disposal….not to mention a boardwalk filled with other active-minded people either in retirement or also on vacation. Aside from spending weekends in Southern Indiana running the trails, this has always been my place of running solace. It’s nothing but sun, sweat and early morning runs to complete exhaustion. Without the siren call of competitive racing and not enough gas money to get me south on the weekends, the boardwalk of Ocean City has become my motivator.
Staying motivated is a slippery slope for me though. It starts out with a distant objective and soon enough I’m neglecting all other pressing responsibilities to get my miles in, overworking so I’m not underperforming. It’s a difficult balance trying to keep it all in check. Lately, I’ve been able to do that by looking at the other non-running activity I do as way of keeping physical maintenance. Skateboarding up and down hills with my stepson or riding my bike to and from work all count in my book. They help me not stress too much about going 3 or 4 days without putting in a good running effort. The return, of course, isn’t as great, but the diversity keeps me less stressed and retains a sense of balance in my life. It’s ok to let go….is what I tell myself. Then again, letting go of effort is easy. It’s letting go of identity that scares the shit out of me.
I’ve got some things to say about that I’ll put down in a post soon. Until then…keep keepin’ on.