Friday, June 14, 2013

Becoming a Neurotic and Obsessive Compulsive Runner

I am in a place I have never been before mentally. I feel neurotic is the best way to describe it, but others might like obsessive compulsive. I’ve run ever day of 2013, that’s over 160 days. Now if it was just a run streak that was bothering me that would be one thing. However, it’s more. I feel like I really know the things that need to be done to run the kind of race I want to run. There are training logs available of people who have done what I want to do. All I have to do is something similar. Not the same, everyone is different, but you’re not going to run under 2:18 without a couple 20+ mile runs, unless you have 1:03 half marathon speed, which I don’t.  So my mind has been taken up with these ideas of workouts, long runs, mileage, and paces that I need to run in training to have the kind of race I want to have. It’s a fine and blurry line between biting off more than I can chew and doing enough to have a nice breakthrough. You can step over the line, but you have to step back quickly. Also, when you cross the line not every time do you go the same distance across.

It’s like this, you want to build a mound of fitness, like a pitcher's mount, but bigger. To do that you must dig a hole of hard work. The process is to dig a little, get out of the hole and use the dirt to build the mound, then go back to the hole or a different hole and dig some more and return to the mound and build it bigger. However, if you spend too much time digging in one hole, you might not be able to get out. You want the biggest (aerobic) mound, but it takes time to get the dirt, there are no shortcuts. You also don't want to get stranded in the hole, because then you may never get back to the mound.

Why is this training cycle different for me this time? First of all, I ran through my "break". Running every day. Second of all, I have been ramping up the quality faster than I have in the past. There is a fear that I am 27 and I have not really accomplished anything in running that I would like to. I am not confident the next seven years will show improvement like the last seven years. (Of course, who knows, it could be more improvement.)

That still doesn't get to the root of the issue. The issue is I feel like I lost some of my common sense. I'm not sure whether I did or not, but there was no good reason for me to run 20 miles at 6:44 pace in 86 degrees and humid weather three days after grinding out a 4 mile race. Okay... the reason was I need to get in long runs. 

It's different this time. When I step outside to run, I know I can beat myself. The last vestiges of feedback that warn me to stop and slow down are fading. They won't leave, ever, but I am not listening. 

This too shall pass... I think. The fact that I am writing all of this down means my attitude is already changing. Perhaps the rest of the summer will see a return of my common sense. In fact, I had a revelation Wednesday. What if I didn't try to run under 2:18 in the fall? What if I scaled my ambitions back a few minutes now in June? It was like a weight was lifted off of me. Low 2:20s? I could do that, that's slow. Plus, it's ridiculous to think of jumping from a 2:30 to 2:17 in one race without 1:06 or 30:XX credentials to back it up. 

I jumped off the high dive into the deep end, and swallowed some water. It looks like I'm coming back up though and this time I will know better.


  1. You are just now coming to the realization that you might be neurotic with your running? -Rob D

  2. Well, I suppose I've known for a long time, but previously if I did not want to run on any given day I would not run. Now I feel like I am ignoring the warning signs of increased injury risk from my body.


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