Sometimes I’m just scared
Sometimes I’m just scared
My mind wanders. Thoughts creep. Do you still think of me? Do you dream of random situations where our lives cross and we fall back into each others arms? This is not the first night, nor will it be the last these ideas race, circling my head. Up and down. A cross country race. Splits don’t determine the end result. There might be times where a gap is formed, one is better at hills while the other is strong in the open terrain. You were always better at cross country. Now is the second mile. The mile where one starts to fall into a funky rhythm comfortable in the pack, but wondering. Should go for it and take the early lead? No I will be smart, I will stay with the pack for a while longer. You are out front with another, leading the way. One will make the move soon enough. When the opportunity arrises I will separate myself. I will catch up and maybe, just maybe I’ll win. One thing I do know… I will try.
One cool lonely Saturday night in January after 2ish miles of warming up my legs, strides and a few form drills I step onto the track about to see where the last few weeks, after a failed marathon attempt, has put me. A 3 kilometer time trial. A solo 3 kilometer time trial. Not more than 2 random people on the track this night. I have been putting it off a few days waiting for the weather to calm down. This night was the night, the night I see where I am as a runner. The night that will determine where my next few months take me. I get on the start line and bam I take off. I want to start conservative, knowing, hoping I’ll be able to picking it up later on. First lap 69.something seconds. Perfect. Another lap goes by, then another, still feeling good. First mile done, 4:41. I am on pace to equal my best time ever in this distance, 8:47. The thing is I feel great, I feel as though I could run this forever! The next lap goes by and I hold the pace 71 seconds then the next back to 70 seconds. A lap and a half to go my legs are moving, screaming, telling me to go faster, so I do, 67 seconds. 200 meters to go my legs are rolling as I feel them tell me to slow down, but my brain kicks in gear. I push with only half a lap around the track to go, 32 seconds. A new personal record, 8:42. A solo 8:42. I ran a solo 8:42, 5 seconds faster than I have ever run before, 5 weeks after a failed marathon attempt. I am going to stay on the track and run a track circuit comprised of college meets. I am going race, I am going to compete I am going to run fast again!
Full of motivation I step on the track the next Tuesday for a standard tempo run, 4 miles comfortably hard. Then a few 200s to get the legs moving. Finished up my tempo run, but with a lap or so left I developed a knot in my right soleus, the same soleus I tore a year and a half ago. Oh well I told myself, it’ll go away. It just my mind playing tricks on me. I do the 200s. Felt fine. No worries, I thought, but I’ll take tomorrow off just in case. Thursday comes around I feel good enough, I went on an easy 50 min run. Friday, my first real work out on the track 6-8x800 progressive with 1 min rest. Starting at 2:30 and working my way down to 2:12, at least I thought that was what was going to happen. It is a windy day. No biggy, I’ll adjust my times stay conservative. There is no need to force fitness. There is no need to get injured again I thought. I start off nailing my first few, maybe even a bit quicker than I had planned. My times are dropping the workout is going well, then something awful, something crushing, my worst fear, my soleus with 250 meters to go on my 5th 800 starts spasming. I finished the interval still at a decent pace and I scratch the workout. I rest and stretch. I will take the weekend off. I will be fine come Monday, I tell myself. Trying to convince myself I am not injured. Trying to stay positive.
Fast forward 3 months and only 2 runs later, not including my runs at 12 min pace with my running group 3 times a week I decide to go out for a 3rd run. It is a nice night on April 11th 2013, just yesterday. I run a mile and see the track. Let’s see what I can run a mile in. Surely I can still break 4:40. So I jump on the track, do one stride and a few high knees and I’m off. It’s like high school again. I haven’t raced a 1600 in a while! I tell myself I’ll start conservative again, I’ll run this race smart. First lap 70 seconds, perfect. Next lap 70 seconds again, ok now time to pick it up. 1,000 meters into the “race” and my legs are saying what the hell are you doing to me, this is not fun, this does not feel good, 72 seconds. I turned the corner with a little less than 400 meters to go and I think, why am I doing this, I should stop. Then that little voice in my head says just keep going, just push through, it’s only 1 more minute. 200 meters to go time to sprint it in, I dig, I go for it, 70 seconds again. 4:43. It’s a place to start, it’s the only place I can start. Motivation, consistency are the words that will spin in my brain for the next while to come. I need to get back. I need to get that feeling my legs crave. That fluid feeling in your legs, the thing that clears your mind and allows you to be at peace, the movement which can feel so good and so bad at the same time, which only a runner can know, I need that again! Time to refresh my brain and let my legs come out of hiding and RUN!
“I was by myself for a pretty long time. I needed to do that. I think everyone that I know has wanted to do that or needed to do that at some point. I think when you spend enough time when it’s quiet around you and you don’t open your mouth for three or four days, there’s parts of your brain that can kind of rest. I think when we’re out in the world and we have to talk to people, we edit ourselves. You know, we have to like, act a little bit. As honest as we may be as humans, when we’re out here, we’re all kind of wearing mirrors on our faces. You know, constantly reacting to how to react to the people around you. And I think when you’re alone for a long enough time, you can feel a lot more peace.”