Change of Pace

Navigational Art and Directions By Colleen Yorke, © 2015.

For some of us running has become a major component of our life. We follow a rigorous training schedule, which may seem like punishment to non-runners. Running in 90 degree weather. Running in the rain. Chasing wind tunnels. Running 45% inclines. Sprinting 200 yards. Running an ultra marathon. We run because we can. We run because it keeps us grounded and sane. We run because it helps us cope. The rhythm, routine, control, the tempo efforts and existential predawn speed sessions provide us with much needed balance and strength.  

Grief is a strange fellow. In the last couple of weeks, I have run more than I should have. Running the miles means running with my demon. I am struggling. I am battling insurmountable hills. I am fighting to get stronger, day by day. My runs are personal. There are tears, but I return from my runs feeling, as I knew I would, a little better. Up until the moment, we hit a block. The swoosh is gone. We. Just. Can’t Do. It. We are exhausted, and training has become a tedious exercise in going from one run to the next. We just feel tired. Tired of running familiar routes dear to our heart and laden with memories. Tired of facing that demon on a regular basis. We accumulate miles to the point that running becomes a habit of rigidity. Running on auto-pilot takes on a self-replicating pattern, and we seldom ask if we are still doing what we ought to be doing. The worst part of burnout is that we run out of enthusiasm for our sport. While we may still enjoy the views or wax the nostalgic as we run by our memorabilia whatever they may be, we are hurting. In this sense, running too much of the time for too long may eventually strangle the meaning out of our days. We may be in need of a run-cation to change entrenched habits and behaviors. We may need to make some changes in our lives, give our hearts a chance to heal, give our feet a change of pace and new pathways to explore. 

I do not know where the journey takes me, but I promise I will return and write about it. Maybe we will meet on the road. 

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going."