Thursday, October 22, 2009

Turn the page

As we have discussed, I have found that my times when I do an outdoor run by myself suffer. This may be due to a series of things; no one to pace me, my mind wandering (trying to deal with things I have no control over), waiting for traffic lights to change, etc...There are two ways to deal with this phenomena... Never run outside (I can't imagine getting 20 miles in on a .2 mile track, 100 laps! and we all know how I feel about laps) or join a running club; which I am doing today. The Second Wind Running Club in Champaign has been around for over 20 years and they have all kinds of training opportunities, races and social events throughout the year; wow, social events! I guess I am starting to connect myself to the community and meet some folks. I will still do some of my long training solo (they don't have a program of marathon training beginning until January) but some of the shorter (3-8 mile) stuff I can do with their group during the week. I will also join my first organized trail run since the Lompoc Half Marathon (2:09:45, by the way) on Sunday at the Allerton Park Trail Run (5.5 miles through the woods and beautiful gardens; I'll try to get pictures).

This is part of my taking the steps to connect with people in real life rather than just virtually through the internet. I have a great network of friends, but they are cast to the winds all over the country; or shall I say, I have been cast to the wind, and landed here. I treasure e-mail and network sites like Facebook because they help me keep connected. However, the problem with virtual connectivity is that it drives being home-sick and feeling a sense of isolation. I miss my friends terribly and sometimes, seeing pictures or having e-chats just makes things worse. These are just aches and pains of change and not un-like training injuries, need to be dealt with; recognized and treated, but not dwelled on. If I just dwelled on them and did nothing about them, that would just make me no fun to be around; and trust me, I'm a fun guy, really! Also, it makes an easy excuse for why days may not go by as well as I hope. Blame it on being here, away from my support group! Sometimes, I would feel pain that comes from nowhere; pain resulting from a phantom injury, or a relationship that really never existed. Well, even though it's tough to start moving, like those first few hundred yards of a training run early in the morning, once I get going I see that Newton was right; that a body in motion tends to stay in motion and I can get going again; both on the road and in general. I see that those phantom pains are just that: phantom. If the injury; even the heart break, results from something that never existed, then it is just a problem with perception. It was all in my mind and it was never real. In some cases, something that I thought I had (ankle sprain, glute strain, committed partnership) never was. When shown that those things never existed, x-rays, exams, documents, etc. it helps me fix my perception and to move on to better training methods and choices in life, in general. Things like running clubs, new shoes, stretching and reaching out to new people in close physical proximity to me will help me reach my goals (3:30 in the Illinois Marathon, less stress and having a local support group).

The fantasy was fun, for a time; it gave me something to talk about, but it never really was. By realizing that, I was able to drop some of the weight I was carrying on the run and had a great one last night (6 miles with some hills at a sub 9 minute pace). And so, we turn the page...

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