You would think I as an adult and an experienced albeit non-competitive runner I wouldn’t suffer any significant hits to my psyche when it comes to running.
Running is an enjoyable activity and most races are supposed to be fun celebratory events. Especially if you aren’t a top contender, you just do your best. And most adult runners are grown up enough to mind their P’s and Q’s and be somewhat supportive of each other. But it isn’t always that way.
If you look though my blog you see the up and down struggle of how I continually battle my running demons and physical problems that throw cogs in my wheels. I don’t really have any major illness or injury to blame unless you count an aging body. But there always seems to be something tripping me up.
Most recently I had knee issues (running on asphalt) and my last trail race I had a toe “blow up”. I finished but near the bottom.
After that I turned down a friend (an accomplished marathoner/ultra runner) frustrated by my poor performances, who wanted to create an extensive training plan for me. When I declined he blew up on me too. He said some nasty things and questioned my commitment to running. He believes in Pygmalion projects and named all the people he’d made better and said I wasn’t worthy anyway–a waste of time and he didn’t work with quitters.
Well thank you. I already felt bad enough. I have felt the snub of “superior” runners since I began lacing up eight years ago. Thankfully their influence on me has faded as I gained experience and a smidgen of confidence.
Now I am left with myself. How to fix myself up and make my running better. Alone. And there is a lot of work to do.
It just didn’t work out for me to be surrounded by enthusiastic supportive running friends who shared my same goals and abilities – that’s mostly geographical. That’s okay. I do have a fantastic trail running community in Ohio that has been really wonderful. Bless them, they invite me to numerous Fat Ass races all over the state (that I could barely complete if I wanted to) and I feel their love and support. If I didn’t, I might just quit right out, right now. I would still be on the trails hiking and occasionally running but I wouldn’t enter a race.
After taking hit after hit (about half self inflicted) racing, I made a plan. Next year I want to run better. I want to do it on my own terms and follow the collected wisdom I have gleaned from books, forums and runners I know.
Instead of taking the season “off” I already have spent a month training for next season and will continue to do so all winter long–just like the more serious runners I know. I have some BIG races planned next year. Those trail races intimidate me but nothing gets you off your butt like a challenge. Especially when it’s just barely within your abilities and that’s what motivates me. I have never failed when I make a decision to take on a big goal.
Demons will be harder than ever to push away, but that other runner was wrong about me. What I do is not a waste of time and I don’t give up.