the wonderful world of veena.

06 June 2014

the only race i'm running is against myself.

I have been upping my running in the last few weeks [I use this term loosely]. I have vaguely been following one of the "Coach" options on the Nike+ running app, but it's really been more that I've been setting new challenges for myself and then pushing myself to meet them. Going 5 miles instead of 4. Picking up my pace. Running more difficult routes. And finally, during this morning's run, it occurred to me why I've been doing that.

It's because I've been running a race this whole time. And it's been against myself.

In the past, my motivation to keep running has run hand-in-hand with having a race to train for. Last summer it was to get ready for October's Nike Women's Half in San Francisco [had to get ready for those hills!]. Over the winter it was to prepare for that blustery Little Rock Half in early March. And both times, after I completed the race, I took time off from running. After SF I took about 3 weeks off, and that became a month after Little Rock. I was burned out, my muscles needed rest, and my heart wasn't in it anymore.

Fast forward to early April, when one fine day I laced up my shoes and went for a run. It was short, only a mile, but it was a start. Since then I have tried to run about 3 times a week, depending on the weather and if I'm in town or not. I've been slowly building my distance and endurance while also pushing myself to quicken my pace. Farther and faster, that was my goal.

But why? I guess it's the competitor in me. Running is an individual sport for me - the only person I am competing against is my former self. So I've been running to beat my records, to lower my average pace, and to test my limits. Because I know I can do it, I have to do it.

And then this morning I began to question it. I was running up an incline, right around Mile 4 of 5.5, and pushing myself unnecessarily. And that's when I wondered why I was pushing myself so hard. Why was it so necessary I do this? I don't have a race coming up anytime soon. But really I've been running that race all along.

It's the race against myself. The race against the thoughts in my head. The race against my physical and mental limitations. The race against every external factor in my life, so that it's only me and my body going as far and as fast as we can.

Perhaps one day I will win that race. But regardless of whether or not I do, at least it will be one hell of a journey.

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