Monday, June 1, 2015

Make Me Lose Control

My biggest fear in life is failure. It's followed closely by losing control. I am generally so tightly wound and moving so quickly that it's very difficult to relax. Control does not generally beget relaxation, and that is a continual issue for me.  A few months ago I discussed my inability to relax, and it hasn't gotten much better although I am continually working on it.

I've been struggling with my motivation in training for the New York Marathon. Last weekend I realized I need to let go of control and try to relax. I got up early on Saturday and took my dogs for a walk in the rain. Warm rainy days are my favorite. It was raining hard when I got back home, and I decided to do my long run on the treadmill. I don't love running inside, but I was really not in the mood to chance getting stuck in a thunderstorm. 

I needed a solid long run, and I started out slowly. I felt great about 30 minutes in, and I decided to incorporate sprint intervals into the last part of my run. I finished my run sprinting the last two minutes. It felt incredible...and somehow sprinting felt relaxing. 

On Sunday morning I was sluggish after having friends over the night before and enjoying several gin and tonics. I'd registered for the Quaker Dash 5k, a race organized by a friend that thankfully didn't start until 10 am. The weather had turned, and it was in the high 40s and rainy. While I love a warm rainy morning, a rainy morning in the 40s at the end of May is not exactly my thing.

It was my friend's first time organizing this race, but it was perfect. I've done a series of relatively small races this year, and this was the most well organized. This year I've decided to focus on speed and control, and that means running hard. It sometimes makes me forget what I love about running - the most relaxing parts.

I knew I wasn't going to break my PR in a 5k fueled by gin, so I decided to run hard but enjoy it. I thanked all of the volunteers. I enjoyed my surroundings and appreciated the quaint neighborhood we ran through at the end. It was nearly a minute slower than my PR, but I was still happy with my time of 24:49. Until last year I could not break 26 minutes in the 5k, and this year I've done it in every race except the one I ran in a snowstorm in February. I've placed in the top two in my age group in all but one 5k, and I won my age group in this race.  It was the most relaxed I've been during a race all year.

Struggling but still smiling at the end of the 5k

This afternoon when I arrived home from a doctor's appointment it was beautiful and sunny. I had a conference call and returned some emails, and then I decided to walk my dogs. I could finish my email later in the evening, but I couldn't harness the sunshine at 9 pm. 

There is a school that has closed a few blocks from my house, and a few weeks ago I discovered that the playground is fully fenced. We walked there, and I let the dogs off leash. There is a pretty new play structure, and the swings caught my eye. I can't remember the last time I played on the swings, and I spent probably 15 minutes or so swinging while the dogs ran around. Do you remember that feeling of  swinging too high? My stomach flipped as the swing went higher. I felt free and light and dare I say it...relaxed.

Losing control is hard. Letting it go voluntarily is nearly impossible. But sometimes it's nice to have those reminders of why I started running. it's nice to be reminded of how it feels to let everything go even if just for a few moments.

No comments:

Post a Comment