The past few days haven't been much to speak of running-wise. Ever since Sunday's epic trek around the lake my legs have been feeling pretty sluggish, especially when that was followed up by Edgewood hills on Monday. Yesterday I finally took a day off (my first since March 3 I realized when I looked back at my log...) and it paid off in an incredibly pleasant 8.2 miler with Claire today. Even though the route we took was pretty hilly, I felt great. We stopped at James Madison park on the way back and stood in the lake...Lake Mendota after the winter is nature's ice tub. I haven't done one in awhile because I'm a wuss, but after about 2 minutes of standing in there my feet went numb and it was all good after that. :)
I was talking with Claire about how this season is pretty much the opposite of last year for me - last year, I really wasn't focused, I really didn't care, and honestly, running wasn't making me happy - it was like some kind of chore that I had to do. I didn't do long runs, I completely slacked on the workouts at the end of the season, and I just got so burnt out..it was honestly depressing, because I wanted to WANT to run. I don't know what's different this year, because I'm running more mileage, and more quality mileage at that, but my legs aren't feeling like crap, and I'm still excited to get out there day after day. I want to race, I want to run further, and better, and faster. And I think the thing is besides the fact that I'm actually seeing results from my training, running is just making me happy! And really, isn't that the point of it all? If you're going to struggle through miles and workouts and intervals and races and all of the ridiculousness that it takes to really be able to call yourself a competitive runner, shouldn't it be something that you love, despite its pain and sometimes absurdity? I think I've finally found that. Last year I was content to lay in bed with the BF on a Sunday, not caring in the least that I wasn't doing my long run...and granted, I didn't see him as much last year so there was a certain point where things have to balance out. But this year it doesn't matter if I'm tired, hungover, still drunk for all I care...I'm at Park and Langdon at 10 am...why? Because I love it. I mean, obviously I want to race better, and I'm constantly on a quest for PRs, but if I didn't love it, would I be willing to make that sacrifice for it? Probably not. Bottom line: this season, things finally seem to be coming together for me. I've found the balance between passion and obsession, I'm starting to learn to let bad days and bad races go, and I'm letting myself just enjoy it. Because seriously - what small percentage of the population is able to to what we do? To run 10, 12, 14 miles, to run a mile in under 6 minutes, to not just run for the sake of working out but to compete? And I'm so thankful every day that I go out for a run - from the days when I feel like I'm flying to the days when my legs might as well be made of lead - that by some random turn of events I somehow found this crazy, hilarious, wonderful sport that is distance running.
There's a line in "Again To Carthage" where the main character is contemplating about how in sports, up until a certain point in life, you are always moving forward. Like, you train, each day you get a little better, you PR, you keep training, you get a little better, you PR. Your life is constantly moving forward and you're constantly better than you were yesterday. And that as long as you're there, in your athletic prime, you might as well use it to its fullest and enjoy every minute, because it won't be that way forever. And I think that's part of the reason why I have this blog, because I never want to forget how incredible this running life is - not that I'll ever be done running, but with a team and stuff. We're a special bunch, and however we found our way into this ridiculous sport, we are lucky enough to experience things that most normal people never even imagine.
Going off on random tangents...it's totally why I have this blog.
Oh, and on the topic of luck (both good and bad I guess): St Patrick's Day was quite the entertaining holiday, and much beer was consumed by my roommates and I. We finally made it out of the house at midnight after some ridiculous card games (Irish poker, fittingly :)) and headed to Jordan's Big 10 - a great bar, by the way. Anyway, after playing a few games of shuffleboard we finally sat down and were drinking our beers, when I took a picture and then somehow managed to drop my $300 camera INTO MY BEER. This is like a 16 oz plastic cup...I have no idea what sorts of physics were involved in lining up all those angles but yeah...plop, straight into the beer. It didn't work the next day and I was pretty devastated, and I started looking up things that people did to fix water damage online. Mostly it was just "wait a couple weeks", but one tip was to put it in a plastic bag with rice to help soak up the moisture. Well, I came home from work today, and the BF had apparently discovered that it was working again. SO ridiculous. So, don't drop digital cameras into beer. It's bad.
Ok, time to go back to watching the NCAA tourney. So far I've only had one loss in my bracket that I had going beyond round 2...and since I literally had NO idea what I was doing when I picked my teams, I'd say that's pretty decent.
Did I mention I'm going to train for a marathon this summer? Yeah, more on that one later. :)