Yesterday I ran a nice half marathon a few towns over, after a miserable one the weekend before. Yesterday was to make up for the agony of running in the rain and wind on flooded country roads with nearly three thousand other people last week. I had spent most of it wondering why I was doing it. The one yesterday was much more fun: it was coldish but not wet, there were fewer runners and the roads were wider and more open. It seemed to go by in half the time the previous race did.
No matter, there is always a point, usually around KM 4 or 5 when I think for a minute, “Wait?, Why am I doing this?” And then I start to think I could just jog it, maybe, and it wouldn’t be so bad. I’d still finish, and who cares, really, what my final time is anyway? What does it matter? But after I push through that, and get to KM 8 or 10, I am fine, and it’s usually smooth sailing until the end, as long as I don’t lose my breath, and mostly I feel pretty good, and just spend the rest of the race trying not to slow down.
They posted our times, and mine was 2 seconds faster than the last race, the one in the rain, which was only about 20 seconds longer than the race before that.
If nothing, I am extremely consistent, regardless of the weather or fatigue or what I eat the day before. Which is somewhat disappointing, since I had trained to improve my time, but it also confirms what I already suspected: this is what I am capable of right now, not much more, not much less. I could train harder, I could join a local running team and follow a special diet and read a bunch of books and buy one of those fancy Garmin watches to track my average speed on each kilometer. I could maybe shave a minute or two off my regular time. Or, maybe, one day, eight.
Or I could carry on the way I have, or even take it easy for the rest of this year. In all honesty, as fun as I find the races, and as much as I’d love to finish in an hour and a half, I don’t want to be looking at my wrist every four and a half minutes. I’d rather look at the sky and the trees and think all the thoughts that I hoard away for my next run.
Last Friday, I went out in the sun around lunchtime, and had a nice, easy run, without looking at the time, without counting the kilometers, and it was good, and I came home happy and satisfied.
This has been a good year, filled with many great big sources of personal satisfaction. Now feels like a good time to just jog it. I will still finish the year happy and satisfied, and who cares what my final time is anyway?
Besides, there will be plenty of time to train next year, for a nice, long marathon.