For as long as I can remember, I told people "I can't run." But in March of 2009, I decided that this was no longer an option. From my first 5K to my second half marathon, I've endured my highest highs and lowest lows as an official Runner. This year I want to embrace running for something beyond times and distances.

Running is so much more than merely getting out there. I want to get out there and love it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Must own?

If this blog was always about how awesome I am at running, well that wouldn't be much fun would it?? I think deep down we all find something slightly motivational in the failure of others. Because it makes them human. It makes them just like one of us.

Well I haven't been awesome at running in quite a good while. But what IS awesome? Perhaps just getting your ass out there is awesome enough. Well, I haven't been doing that either. So enter non-awesome. Remember when the whole point of this blog, the whole point of running was that I "must run"?? Well at this juncture, I write more about NOT running than running and that's ridiculous. It's redonkulous.

So Al's Run (8K) was Saturday. You may or may not recall that Al's Run was my Big Huge Goal when I started running last year...the shiny golden carrot I was running toward the entire summer. And at the end of the road I had a shiny golden 42:41 PR in my back pocket. This past Saturday morning, before the race, I cued up the ol' blog post and I knew...I just knew that it would be totally unattainable this year. A year where I ran not one, but two Half Marathons. What I didn't know, however, is how unattainable "unattainable" would truly be.


Let me throw it out there again, folks. 51:56.

Now I will NOT knock any runner out there who's run five miles in 52 minutes. In many circumstances that is a respectable time. Not only that but running five miles in GENERAL is a respectable distance! There was no possible way in all that is true that I could run five miles two years ago. However, in my teeny tiny personal running history, five miles in 52 minutes is atrocious. What's more atrocious is that running five miles in 52 minutes wasn't even easy! I walked three times. I was pretty uncomfortable throughout miles 2.5-5. And yet I ran 13.1 miles in 2 hours and 18 minutes A MONTH AGO. I have a 10K coming up in two weeks and I'm 95% leaning toward shuttin' that shit down. That's out of control.

Now while apparently a month is enough time to completely deteriorate as a runner, I think there's something else going on. Running is nearly 100% mind over matter. And my brain, my attitude, my spirit isn't in the game. I went into this race having already failed.

Where's the girl with the Half Marathon medal and the smiles and the flying and the magic??

About a year and a half ago I found something I loved to do, so I worked hard, and became successful. Now...not. Not loving it, not working hard at it, not being successful at it. So where do I go from there? If you fall out of love with something, do you rekindle or do you walk away? I thought autumn would be like the romantic spark to get me back on board. But that hasn't happened.

Time. My life is completely different from when I started this gig. I'm not single like I was a year and a half ago. Living with a boyfriend is a lot different than living with a sister. A lot more time gets sunk into relationship stuff. And since I took this new job, nearly 14 additional hours of my time per week is devoted to that job, and driving to and from that job. Fourteen hours. So I'm "working" 54 hour weeks. This includes whole lunch hours I no longer receive...hours that I used to run at my old job which is literally an impossibility at the new one.

Ok now I'm just getting whiny.

But seriously, it's just...not...happening for me. And the worst part is that I don't even have kids to blame all this on. The very excuse my friends have given me when defending their inability to exercise on a regular basis...and even THEY find time to get some runs in. It's all badness swirling around. Badness and guilt. Aching guilt. Because I thought this was gonna be my thing. But it's not. Because all the other runners around me don't have this psychotic inner turmoil when it comes to something as simple as running.

Maybe Rachael and Rachel are right...maybe I just have to own it. Just say, fuck it. I'm not an awesome runner who is obsessed with it anymore. I lost my mojo. Don't know if it'll be back. "...I'm sorry I'm not sorry." I'm over it.

And I'd like to flip it and reverse it. Most of the people, runners, I encounter do a pretty damn good job of owning their running abilities, no matter what stage they're at. They don't do a lot of comparing, contrasting, other words, the opposite of Katie here. And I'm down with that. I need to be more supportive of everyone's individuality and ownership, rather than focusing inward and trying to barf it all over everyone all the time. I.e. this post. A lot of word vomit in this post and most of it is making excuses and railing on myself. Well I'm done. I'm over it. Maybe running will be fun for me again some day. Maybe not. But feeling guilty about it is dumb. And to anyone whom *I ever inspired in any sort of a way... that will never ever leave the depths of my heart. Honestly. And if there are any scraps at the bottom of the barrel that is my love for running, well you're right there to help me dig them out.

So that's it! Readers keep running or writing or loving or whatever you do best. And when you're over it, no biggie.


  1. I just posted this on Beths blog...but it applies here too.

    Well shit.

    I'll run that 10K with you if you want...and we will revel in the shittiness of it...if you want...we can walk the whole thing...if you want. Or you can say 'fuck it'...if you want.

    In the need to do what makes you happy Katie girl...and if running is NOT making you happy..then you need to NOT do it. But make sure it's the running not making you happy..and not some other shit spilling into the running.

    Be well friend..and you'll find your mojo it running or otherwise.

  2. Oh man, I read Beth's blog! How much does THAT suck?!? Especially the part where here I'm healthy to run, without the drive...she's got the drive, but totally f'd. The world is completely unfair.

    I think I may demote myself down to the 5K for this race (5K, 10K, and a Half). It's in Oak Park and my friend Monica is running the 5K. It could be really nice to just run side by side with her ya know? When I run by myself, I always say "I'll just enjoy the race" but I never do because my competitiveness gets the best of me. Running with her may negate this. You want to run a 15K with me Halloween weekend? Haha! I very much am not going to be able to do that ;)

    Thanks for the advice...I don't think my job is helping matters (the "spilling" to which you are referring!) but I'm not sure how to change that situation (time-binger).

    In any case, I very much look forward to your marathon training journey! At least THAT makes me happy running-wise ;)

  3. Here's an idea to ponder, accept or reject as appropriate. I was "a lame runner" for a dozen years and I never got into it the way you did, was never any good, never had one of those runner's highs, or ran for longer than an hour. But I kept it up all that time, sometimes only like a couple 15 minute runs a week. Maybe I was lucky that my standards and expectations were so incredibly low. But it was good for me so I just did it, maybe an average of 75% of the times that I should have.

    It's still better to do a little running once in awhile, even if it's 20 minutes here and there. There's absolutely no thrill in that, I'll grant you, but it's good for body and mind anyway. I know it has to be really hard to do it for reasons like that, when you have found yourself capable of the levels of achievement you've seen since you started. It really is just drudgery. But the payback happens when you're NOT actually running: when you feel good and have less stress and less flab. Harder to make the connection than when you win a half marathon medal (I'm still jealous), but defintely worthwhile.

    You'd think it would be easier to do something when you have lower standards, but I know for an over-achiever like you it is much harder! So I hope you can find something that works for you, exercise-wise. (And that you can find a job that is not 54 hours a week!!)

  4. I'm thinking of running a 5k on Halloween with some friends in X-Men costumes. All I have lying around is Green Lantern, but it's going to have to do.

  5. Way to lighten things up here Matt ;) Maybe the answer to my problems is simply running in a Storm costume!

    Everyone's right though... running's supposed to be good for you (or is it, SHOES???). Hopefully one day I can see it for that instead of just a competition with myself.

  6. KAtie - I posted a novel here the other day but something happened on the window closed and never posted. I was too annoyed to re-create my novel at the time..but, basically I just said that over the weekend I ran my 2nd 4.5mile run. Even tho I was proud of myself the first time, didn't time it or anything. I still did the math based on my playlist time, felt a little bad knowing I ran it soo slow (even though that was my plan!) and had it in my head to have this "goal" to time it eventually and work up my distance, etc. The same thinking that screwed me this summer with my 5K goals.
    But, over the weekend, I ran it slow. I walked 3 times in that 4th mile - and for the first time since my very first attempt at running in April - I didn't care! I was finally just happy that I got out there running after a couple weeks of slacking off workouts altogether. I just enjoyed the fall day, and the crunch leaves falling on me and under my feet. I have NO idea what my 5K split or total run time was. And I didn't even have an inkling of curiosity towards it!
    So yea - I actually haven't even signed up for the 5K...I haven't run a 5K in a few weeks so have no idea what my time would be. But, I don't think I will care. I KNOW it will be over 30min, but especially if you and I run it together, I'll just enjoy that? It'll be like my last hurrah for running before the cold weather sets in.
    So yea - I guess just really try and turn off your mind with the running thing. I know it's hard to turn off the competitive mind...but maybe even just go for an unplanned run. Like don't map it out ahead of time. Just run wherever for however long. Walk in between, whatevs! That way you're just doing what you feel like doing at that time. That's how I used to run when I enjoyed it and even though I knew I was slow, I didn't feel bad about it because I had no record of the time or distance it took me to run. So yea, just my 2 cents?
    Oh, yea and I guess this is another novel!!!

  7. Katie,
    don't feel guilty! You and Josh are going through the same thing right now, I think he forces himself to run these days because he wants to stay in shape, not because he loves it. That has happened to me with art before. I go on a super high, then suddenly i hate everything. A span of time goes by and a spark ignites again feel like i have grown and learned a lot over that break period. I had no choice but to take a break from it all when i was busy with my babies, which i still am but i think now that i know em is my last one, i feel i can get into it again.
    I know this isn't about running, but the concept is the same. People change and you don't have to force yourself to love it anymore. You did inspire many people, just in our little group alone!! After awhile, a person gets tired of being competative and you have to start doing things just because you enjoy them. I think that also has something to do with getting older and maturing and stuff. Just like with art, I always felt like i was competing back in school, then i got sick of it because i constantly compared myself and my abilities to others. Now i just do it because without it, i am not a complete person and it makes me happy. I don't have to answer to anyone, i am free to express myself, and that time to myself is precious! Follow your gut feeling and good luck!! :)

  8. You ran, so what if the time wasnt what you wanted. You will get your mojo back. Just keep getting out there and enjoy it.

  9. Dissappointing race. Boyfriend. Job. Whatever.

    You need a new goal.

    It's there in your post about the Chicago Half. There was joy there. There was also a time you can shoot for: sub 2 hours.

    If you've made this kind of progress in just a year and a half of running, you've got the talent to do much more. Go for it.

  10. Just found your blog. Don't worry about losing your mojo. I have went through that a few times myself. Currently in a bit of a running slump for the week myself. Don't think too much of it. Do what comes naturally to you. There are good runs/races and bad ones. It's all part of the experience. You have to have some not so good ones to enjoy the great ones!

  11. I ran 14 the other day, and my body is all screwed up, but I'm doing the Turkey Trot in Chicago on Thanksgiving morning, so no running until I'm all healed up.

  12. The brain is a very selfish organ, it just doesn't want you expending all that lovely energy, that it can keep all for itself, running around in circles! Read Tim Noakes "the lore of running" and you'll gain an understanding of the central governer, this explains better than anything else why you lose your mojo and always seem to want to quit, when your body is loving it and wanting it, It also is the best book out there on how to run/train/race/keep fit/avoid injury etc. especially for a straight talkin' gal like you

  13. I'm rising like a Phoenix out of Arizona!!!

    You know what's awesome? Getting comments from 'strangers' like every couple weeks on this particular post. I think I'll compare it to the dust pan I use to fan the embers of our annual campfire. Campfires can be SUPER hard to start especially when it's been raining all summer. I have to briskly wave that dust pan for a solid ten minutes to get something going. Your comments, amongst other things, could really get a rager going over here.

    With that said...

    Monica: I need a sip of what you're drinkin! I know that you've hung up your shoes for the year, but I honestly hope I can run with you again next year. That race we did together was one of my favorite memories from 2010! And especially one of my fave running memories!!!

    Tina: Comparing it to how you feel about art sometimes is absolutely true. Just not finding the inspiration. But suddenly it's back. And when it's back you SERIOUSLY have to take advantage, which is what I'm going to do!! Thank you so much for your comment...I've had it in my back pocket since you posted it two long months ago :)

    Chris: Mojo fell asleep, I want to wake him up!

    "Tellin it like it is" Middle-aged runner: The fact that you, again a stranger, told me I have the talent to do more really hit home. I used to feel that way: talented. But when I lost *IT I thought I was just a sham. I need to take your words with me too. I need to believe in myself!

    Kirstie: Think Less. Do More. :) And what you said about needing some "not so good ones" to appreciate the great? Um, that's totally my mantra and I can't believe I forgot it. The sweet ain't as sweet without the sour. All so true. I hope you got out of YOUR slump!! Just in time for winter??? ;)

    Matt: I'm wondering if you did the Turkey Trot?? We both need to get our running about it sometime.

    Anon: I HATE THE BRAIN. You're so right about that. My body absolutely loved running, it was my brain that was being a tool! I think I'm going to check out that book, thanks for the tip!!!

    I hate the whole New Years Resolution stuff especially related to exercise. But I think I'm ready for a new year.