To Push or Not to Push…

Keeping on track, ran my mile yesterday. Good thing since it’s crazy windy outside tonight.  I may be on the treadmill tomorrow though because we’re expecting rain and I’m not ready to run in the dark and the rain barefoot! 

I know there are two sides to everything but when it comes to running it seems like the two sides are SO far apart that one or the other should be right and the other should just be obviously wrong.  But of course it’s never that easy.

On one hand I read a lot about how it’s important to progress slowly to be certain that you do not injure yourself. Don’t run yourself into the ground, don’t run your fastest, don’t run till you are ready to drop or you’ll regret it the next day.  This happens to be true, there is a fine line between I had a great run yesterday and I can’t feel my legs.  Or I wish I couldn’t.  But taking this path means that improvement is slow.  In my case really, really slow.

I’ve been running mostly off but plenty of on for about 2 years and after finally getting up to a 5K I had to start over and at this point I’m just back to a mile. It’s an easy mile, and I don’t get tired of running at all, but I’m trying to follow people’s advise to start and progress slow to avoid injury.  That’s all well and good but it’s amazing how hard it is, sometimes I feel like I should run as fast as I can and as far as I can just to see what I can do. But I think taking it slow is good advise for me right now because at this point the muscles in my feet kind of ache the day after running sometimes.  Not like I hurt them, more like your muscles feel after a workout that was hard enough to feel but not brutal enough to make you wonder how exercise could possibly be healthy. Running barefoot is certainly pointing out muscles I didn’t know I had!

On the other hand there are people who say if you aren’t pushing your limits all the time you aren’t doing it right. Whatever it may be. These are the people who run a marathon after running for 9 months and people who are running ultras.  Sad truth?  How I wish I was one of them!  I’d love to be one of those people who do amazing things and who know their limits because they’ve pushed themselves to them and maybe even past them. I’m amazed by every one of them, and I don’t understand how they do what they do without injuring themselves on a daily basis. Is it because they are physically stronger?  Just because they want what they want so badly that there is no choice but to keep pushing?

I always wonder if people who push that hard are always in pain and just ignoring it or seriously just that good.

I’d like to blame genetics, whatever it is I”m not real likely to ever run an ultra or even a marathon.  I’d really, really like to be able to say I’d done one but it would take me like 40 years to get to that mileage at my current rate and then I’d be in my 80s and what are the chances? I’d also love to rough it in Alaska, but um, it’s kind of cold there.  Heck, I’m already worried about trail running barefoot in the summer because of ticks and Lyme disease. 

How do people do it?  I think it’s mind over matter.  Some people’s minds are strong enough to bring them past any pain and past any obstacles and right to their goal, whatever it is.  My mind tells me relax, don’t worry about it.  Be happy with where you are and don’t compare yourself with other people.  And that’s all good, some people even strive for it.  But while those people who push themselves to the limit already know what they are capable of I’ll always wonder, what if?

At least I have a glass of Sauvignon Blanc to keep me company while I ponder.