Monday, October 18, 2010

My Relationship with Running: The DTR

In case you've never heard the acronym, the DTR is the "Define the Relationship" talk. You know, the awkward one that must be had at some point in most romantic relationships. "Am I your girlfriend?" "Are you still seeing other people?!" You get the picture. Running and I have been going steady for over a year and a half...No, that sounds too prim...Running and I are all wrapped up in each other in a nauseating Twilight-ish kind of way. If I had a notebook, I'd write our names together in a heart. We've shared some ecstatic highs and wallowed in a few down and dirty lows. But, after the marathon, I felt like running and I needed to have the next level DTR--"Where is this going?"

 I've heard people say you have one of two marathon experiences. Either you say, "that was great, and now I don't ever need to do that again" or "That was great--when can I do that again?". In that moment, when every step jarred up my body through my aching feet, I thought I was in the former group. In fact, as B. and I staggered back to the hotel (ok, I was doing most of the staggering), I said, "Oh god, don't ever make me do that again--ever!"

I felt like I'd learned many things about myself that day on the race course, not least among them, that perhaps I was less of a marathoner than a half-marathoner. I resigned myself to capping my races at 13.1. That's still  a challenge after all. It would make me no less hard core. In fact, I could focus on getting faster...get below 2 hours.

In fact, during training I'd had thoughts even more adulterous, usually while those double-digit runs were languishing on. While I adored running, while running would always be very important to me, I really missed life before the relationship was so intense, I thought. I missed regular flings with the bike, the elliptical, yoga, strength training. I mean, I barely even got to see them socially anymore. Gosh, running was really cramping my style! I imagined conversations that went something like "It's you, not me." But, alas, plans had already been made, the money already spent, the announcements made. I had to stick it out.

Then, a day or two after the race, as the aches and pains wore off, the itch returned. Maybe since this marathon experience hadn't been all I'd hoped, maybe just maybe I needed to give it another try. Then this month's Runner's World showed up with an article about how everyone hates those last 6.2 miles and how to get through them. That got me thinking maybe it wasn't my own ineptitude that made the last bit of my marathon experience suck--maybe I was normal. Maybe I was meant to be a marathoner.

So, I've become that girl--the one who waffles back and forth over her relationship. ''He's a lot of fun, but he's so high-maintenance." "Well, I don't know if he's the ONE, but he's sooo great!" It's not fair to running. I really need to figure out what I want out of this relationship. So, here goes...

You know I adore you. Really I do. And, I know we'll be together forever. But, I also think that sometimes we spend too much time together, so perhaps we need to work on cultivating our individual interests. I need to be able to spend some time with my bike, in yoga classes, and most definitely with my weights. I'm just friends with them...I don't love them like I do you. What you don't get is those things will totally strengthen our relationship!  In return for your patience, I promise you 3 days a week, and I promise to make those 3 days really count. I'll let you show me this "speed work" thing b/c I know I'll enjoy you that much more if I'm not so freakin' slow. And, I'm not placing limitations on the lengths we can go together. 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons...Is another full marathon in our future? Maybe. You never know. We make a pretty awesome team!
Cherry Blossoms

So yeah, this is my plan going forward:
1. Cut down to 3 days a week running (1 speed work, 1 tempo, and 1 long run)
2. Get back into strength training (I completely stopped toward the end of marathon training b/c I was so exhausted).
3. Finish getting to my healthiest weight. I gained about 5 pounds during training,  only a couple of which I can claim to be "muscle".

Once I feel like I have a handle on those goals, I'll figure out what's next as far as races go.

Anyone have experience with or know good resources for figuring out the whole speed work thing?

1 comment:

  1. You're adorable! I loved reading this! I can't wait to hear what you do next! Michelle