My morning runs this week have been all over the place. Not in terms of pace (those are getting somewhat consistent) but the spaces to which my mind has traveled. As a runner who typically runs to pulsing music, in an effort to both wake up and pound the pavement , I find myself gravitating more toward the monotone voices of non-fiction podcasts. Whereas before music podcasts would take up the majority of space my iTunes Library, they now fighting for listening time. More often than not, I head out the door pressing play on The Daily (NYTimes Podcast) or Work, Play, Love (Running Podcast).
The problem is quarantine life limits attempts to have intellectual conversations. Social media is great but sometimes putting ones opinions out for the world can lead to more stress. My constant companion, Harley is a good co- worker but not a good conversationalist.
So, I have turned a bit inward during this past week letting my mind wander . One would think that in having conversations with myself would be a win-win. I have quickly learned, however, that is not always the case.
This week my thoughts turned to running but not for the reasons you might think. On Friday I was scheduled (and did) have a Remicade infusion. As an avid reader, you will know that starting past week the dosage and frequency of Remicade was increased. I have been doing well (health and running wise) for the past month. These glimmers of hope have allowed me to dream of the 45th Marine Corps Marathon this fall.
BUT I also know that the world is currently in the middle of a pandemic. Spring racing has been cancelled but there is still a huge question about Fall races. I try to be an optimistic but I am also a realist. There are many moving parts before moving forward with races is even a thought in anyone’s mind. First and foremost, I also have to think of my personal safety.
As someone who has Ulcerative Colitis, both the disease and medication has placed me in the high risk category. I have done a lot of thinking, especially this past week, about this. Right now, I do not know how safe I would feel in October if safe guards were not enacted. To be honest, not knowing if the person I am standing next to is a carrier is a scary thought.
These are things that even 6 months ago would not have even crossed my mind. Am I the only one but anyone else think of life as BC (Before Coronavirus) and AC (After Coronavirus)? Six months ago – the only thing I was thinking of was would there ever be a day when I would be able to run without having to worry about whether my stomach would betray me. My how times have changed.
So that leaves me in a bit of a pickle.
Running has been a part of my life for 10 or so years. Whether I was injured or not, the fact remained that I was always training for SOMETHING on the horizon. Yes – I have signed up for the 45th Marine Corps Marathon, but will it happen. If it does – will safeguards be put in place? What will the safeguards be? Will the safeguards put in place be enough? As you can see it’s an endless rabbit hole that can veer in many directions.
And one of those other directions it lead me too this week was the question of MOTIVATION. Many blogs and social media posts most often post diatribes on this with the heading “What Is Your Why?”. I think I know what my “Why” is but for the time being I think delving in to my “Motivation” is more appropriate. If races are cancelled for the foreseeable future – that is many months of running for the sake of running.
Yes – sometimes I run “just to run” over the years I have developed deeper reasons – especially in 2020. Health, sanity, reflection, the challenge, and new adventures) are all reasons I head out the door. Over the past year, however, the goal being able to run consistently while battling Ulcerative Colitis has been at the forefront.
Feeling better over these last 2 months has definitely helped me mentally. Yes – even at my sickest, I still put on my running shoes every morning. I wished for the day that I the only thing I would have to worry about was something as trivial as over dressing or my iPod dying.
So I think that is my motivation – running because I can and knowing that one day races will be back on my calendar and on the horizon. It does help that things like signing up for the McKirdy Mile have been added to my calendar. My next mile “race” is this weekend and I am hoping that some of the work I have been doing will translate into an improved time.
Until then I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other so that I will be ready for the day when I can line up once again for a medal and a shirt!
Onward we go!