Friday, March 21, 2008

The Liberation of Passing Time

So much time has passed since my leg first started bothering me (September 16th!). Since then, so many race plans have come and gone.

Finally, I'm at the point (well, I guess I reached this point a month or so ago) where I wholly gave up on even attempting part of American River, the last race I wishfully signed up for, hoping for the best. I've wanted to do that race since I learned about ultras and had been looking forward to it so much. But, it just isn't meant to be this year.

The great thing about races is that the calendar for them is cyclical. Didn't get to run Pirates Cove this year? It'll be here next year too. No AR50? Just wait twelve months.

AR50 was the last race on my calendar, my last hope that I'd be all good to go by this point. But, now its gone. This actually ends up to be a sort of serendipitous thing, as my career's (happy Bob?) district job fair, where I pick the school I want to work at, is the same day, so it's actually a really good thing I can't run AR50.

And now I'm free. No more pressure to run far, to rack up miles. You know, I don't think I had ever just run a mile, since I started running in college. I always had the policy, if you can't do 3, it's not worth it. But guess what, yesterday I ran just over a mile around the track at sunset, looking over the windy ocean waters with an almost full moon above my head, and it was really nice.

If I can just run a mile or two every day, I still get to be a runner. I won't be building up to any ultras at that pace, but I'm young. Eventually my leg will stop sucking. Eventually the doctors will figure out why its sucking and how to make it better. But for right now I just need to place it nice and easy. No more pressure to be that girl who runs the crazy distances. I'll get to be that again some day, but for now I'm happy to be a girl who runs (even if its just around the block). Today Ed and I just explored a trail I had seen off the side of a road, and came out of a forest onto a wide open expanse of green grass, framed by a surprising and beautiful panoramic view of the ocean in the distance. Things like that are really why I run, and I don't plan to let those go.

Ed and I take off tomorrow to visit his mom and a small bit of his extended family down in Cambria, which should be a lovely way to spend Easter weekend (especially since my older sister and her fiance are going to meet us for lunch Sunday!). Spring Break is finally here, and I get a breather from my program to recharge.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

(By the way, I've just passed my first blog-anniversary. I made my first post on March 16th 2007, after I had gotten into the UCSC Graduate program and learned I was really going to become a teacher :) It's been a great year! Thanks so much everyone for carrying about my silly little posts and offering your amazing support, ideas, and comments. I've really enjoyed this blog and hope to be able to post many great adventures on it sometime soon!)


Backofpack said...

You are right, you are a runner if you run. Distance and speed don't matter, running matters. Enjoy the relaxed pace, and don't try to ramp up too much during your first year of teaching. You'll have enough pressure without adding race pressure. Have a lovely weekend!

Southbay Girl said...

Addy, I hope you have a great weekend in cambria! It should be a beautiful drive down there and back!

You are a runner no matter what!!! by the way-what is exactly wrong with your leg? Muscles, tendons, ligaments? Do you know???

have a great time! Enjoy a little vacation!

And those little runs at sunset are sometimes the best! Nothing better than a run overlooking the ocean no matter how far it is!

Southbay Girl

Sarah said...

It's really hard to let go of expectations. But it can be freeing to let go of that pressure. You have a great attitude. All those races will still be there next year, and the year after.... Enjoy your short runs. You'll be back to the long ones some day sooner than you think, I'm sure. : )

runningtwig said...

Happy anniversary of your blog!

Keep up those runs, no matter how short or long!!

Have a good weekend!

Sensationally Red said...

I'm glad you figured out that being a "runner" comes down to attitude. There are several people in my running club that haven't run a mile in years, but they are still runners at heart. Nice that you can take the pressure off racking up all those miles and enjoy the sunset over a 2mile run. That's great. Congrats on getting a job! Still..I hope your leg will stop sucking.

Bob Gentile said...

Happy blog-anniversary Addy!

Your using Good Wisdom about ur running...and ur right running events aren't going anywhere, plenty of them in ur future.

So Recover well, enjoy ur shorts runs and keep up on some cross training which will keep the cardio up.

Have a very Happy Easter Day!

Sarah said...

Hi, Addy - Happy Anniversary, and so sorry that you're still dealing with your leg issues.

Thought you might be interested to read one of my posts from late last year on the subject of ultra running and the ultra community, which closes with a great paragraphy written by Gary Cantrell, RD of the Barkley and other fun stuff in TN:

'After a no-regrets DNF-by-choice at Javelina and while deciding what races do and do not interest me for 2008, as well as chatting with a few friends who aren't feling particularly motivated to run long stuff right now (or maybe, GASP, ever again!), I started thinking again about what Gary Cantrell wrote in the September issue of UR.

As I realize that, next year, I probably won't enter a 'real race' until August at the earliest, that I'll spend the summer just training to run stuff on my own and crewing for Wendell, I wonder briefly whether I'll still feel like an ultrarunner for the first half of the year.

As I talk to a good friend who just ran her first hundred and ran really, really well - who isn't feeling the expected satisfaction but more just a sense of 'now what?' - and I talk to another who's taken all hundreds off her schedule for at least the next year, I pull out my September issue and read:

"Strangely enough, the only thing that won't change with the achievement of an individual's benchmark to consider themselves an ultrarunner, is their acceptance into the community of ultrarunning. All that is required to be accepted by the community is the desire to be a part of it. Completion of, or the intention to complete, an ultramarathon is not even necessary. Volunteers, crewmembers, and runners' families are all as equally welcome as the actual runners. Those who think of themselves as ultrarunners are treated as such; no matter what criteria they use to establish those credentials. And, best of all, your place in the family is there as long as you wish to belong."'

Please do remember how very true that is, Addy. Hope that we see you before too long - and know that we think of you often.

Sarah (PCTR)

rick said...

First time I signed up for Pirates Cove I had to bail because of injury, also had to bail out of what would have been my first AR50 and my first Miwok 100k. I made it through and the rest is history, I hope you will too!

Congratulations on the Blog-anniversary.

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Congrats on the blog anniversary. Hundreds of beautiful photos.

Come to think of it, I think I limped through the last 17 or 18 miles of Boston unofficially (gobs of people did that back then) when I was 24 and then couldn't run a mile for months.

Job fair, AR-- sort of a no brainer, and you're spared the angst. Hope you can find a cool school. All of a sudden I'm finding myself very interested in elementary schools...

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

Happy blog anniversary!

I love the fact that you're not feeling any pressure anymore to run "crazy distances". Maximizing the joy of running has been my theme this year. I'm glad you're doing the same thing!

Jean said...

Happy blog-anniversary, Addy! I have no doubt that you will go a long way, both as a person, and as a runner. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, and may you have many more fantastic adventures! :)

Donald said...

Happy Blogiversary! It's been great reading you over the past year.

Jessica Deline said...

you sure have a graet attitude about your running. Enjoying it (no matter how far) is the most important part, I think.

And happy blogiversary!

Addy said...

Thanks so much everyone for the words of wisdom!!! They are supremely meaningful and comforting.

southbay- it seems to be a nerve issue in my leg, but the doctors aren't 100% certain

Sarah- Thanks for the posting of your own thoughts and that clip from the ultrarunning article. I remember reading it and finding it so special, but hadn't thought about it lately. It's very comforting!