For LSD, that is. For those  of you non-runners, like my mom, reading this, LSD does not equal drugs. LSD = long slow distance.

I went to the Harold Parker State Forest today and ran the roads that run around and sort-of, through the park. I saw some hikers before I started and asked them which direction was the most scenic to run in, as they had come from the trails. The lady admitted, most of the place looks the same – wetlands and forest, and she said the trails were getting pretty muddy. Seeing as this was my first time there, I decided I’d stick to roads.

Next week, I want to go back and do some of the fire/logging roads. (Mom, READ: UNPAVED roads.)  As long as they are not single-track, I think I’ll be ok. I HATE single-track trails to run on, honestly. Too many roots and rocks sticking up from the ground, too many ways to turn my ankle and get injured.  I don’t mind them to walk on, but for running, no thank you.

Today was supposed to be 8. “Supposed to” is the key phrase.

I told myself, I’d see how I felt out there today, running slower and longer, and see whether or not, in my heart, I still like running long, and whether I’d do the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon in May.  I paid for the race last year when I was still  on that runner’s  high of the full marathon, when I thought only long distance was the way to go. I internally scoffed at 5K and 10K races – those weren’t for “real” runners like “we marathoners” (what the hell was going through my brain anyway?)

Well, I’m no longer feeling that way. The only time I really felt alive today was toward the end of the run, the “just shy of 6 miles” that I did, when I was running faster.  Let me put this out there:

  1. Seeing my large gel bag this morning, and realizing I’d not had reason to use them for quite a while told me something.
  2. I’m not liking the idea of running so long anymore that I have to carry the Camelbak on my back. I prefer to run without it now, and without the need to carry water.  I HATE carrying the water bottle in my hand, and please don’t tell me to use one of those belts. I did that for a 7.2 mile race last year and it was an absolutely horrible feeling, slip-sliding on my hips the entire way. HATED IT.
  3. There’s  a really fast guy (actually there are a few of them in that “fastie  pack”) at my track practices, and I heard him say to someone a few weeks back that he never runs further than 5 miles (wasn’t sure if he meant just for his training runs or for races), and at the time I thought “really?!”  Now, I think, “maybe he’s got something.”
  4. Real runners are what we think we are. There is NO right or wrong distance.  (And I hate Running Times for advertising tons just for marathons. It gives the impression to the average person that you’re not a real runner unless you’re considering a marathon.)
  5. Running shorter distances, faster, does not make me less of a runner. It actually makes me happier. (I’m still not as speedy as others out there, but I am faster than I used to be, and I’ve worked hard to get to this point. I’m happy with how it feels to be running less than 10 minute miles.)
  6.  I am starting to resent the time that it takes to do these longer runs. I am no longer looking forward to them, honestly, as the weekend approaches. I told Lis this, and she said, jokingly,  “that’s what you get for becoming a speed demon.”  🙂  
  7. I do not want to resent anything about running.  Maybe it’s because I have a lot on my plate, but I want to not have to spend more than an hour of my day running.  I’d like to spend more of my time reading, writing, and with my husband since we’re both so busy during the week. I’ve been doing a lot of research lately for this article that M and I are trying to get published, and between the running and that, there has not been a lot of time for me to concentrate on my own fiction writing.  It’s not good to lose sight of your Most Important Tasks (I’ve begun reading the Zen Habits blog and his book, Less is More, can you tell?)  (Hat Tip to Kara, for turning me onto that blog.)
  8. However, I’m feeling guilt. Guilt at having paid $50 to run the Half Marathon in Lehigh Valley. All  this week, I ignored the emails we got saying the deadline to switch down to the 5K was Friday, the 13th. Now, I’d like to, and it’s too late because both races are sold out.
  9. However, I rationalize – if we don’t drive all the way down there at that time, we won’t spend as much money.  We can go another time when hotels are cheaper.
  10. Can I be honest – I actually like coming in the top 25-30% or 40% in races – and lately I’ve been able to do that! Yes, they’ve been local races – we’re not running against elites, but I don’t really care!  The blog name still sticks, it’s just that I’m further up in the pack – and I like it! 

Do you see how I’ve been going back and forth in my mind all day? I need to remember, “we run for fun, right?”  Then why do I feel in a way like I am rebelling by turning my mind on distances longer than a 10K?

Maybe this should be my Season of Speed – as Alissa says, we go through seasons of running.  Or, put it another way, my Season of Short Distances?

By the way, I did take some pictures today – I will post them tomorrow. And if I go back next week, I’ll take some of the trails if they are not too muddy!

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