Even though I made more than one 2013 running resolution (previous post), really, they're all about the same idea: Run what I want to run.
Not what I feel like I ought to run.
Sounds logical, but it hasn't always been how I've approached my running. In 2012, I started to get a grasp on the above concept, but in 2013, I'm really trying to embrace it.
It's easy, especially in the blogosphere, to get swept up in what others are running -- how far, how many miles, how many races, what kind of races -- and allow that to shape my own running. I made that mistake years ago when I mistakenly thought I had to run a marathon to define myself as a runner; then I figured out that I don't like marathon training (for now...who knows what the future running- Jess will have time for or enjoy).
Two influential books, for me, last year were Gretchen Rubin's "The Happiness Project" and, on every runner's nightstand, Christopher McDougall's "Born to Run." The most influential idea I took away from Rubin, was her simple rule to be herself; for me, in essence: Be Jess. She also had a memorable way of thinking about the importance of exercise: For sanity, not vanity.
So, to be "Be Jess," I put aside my comparison of myself to others and strived last year to run how I wanted to run. One thing I discovered is that I like to run every day. For me, having running as a part of my daily life is fulfilling and satisfying. I can't explain why I like it, I just do.
Thus, my resolution to return to streaking in 2013. And, my mileage goal for the year is tied to the streaking; I don't feel strongly about making or breaking 2012's miles, but I do like a challenge, so why not push myself to exceed the miles I ran in 2012?
As for the 2nd Rubin lesson, about "sanity vs. vanity," that can be interpreted in various ways -- for her, it was about weight and image versus the mental/emotional benefits of exercise -- for me, it's about putting aside ego (vanity) and running for what fulfills my sanity. I don't need to run every race that's offered, every year; I don't have to run a PR to have a good race. I just want to race what I like and enjoy the experience. Races are costly and they take time and attention to train and prepare for, and ultimately, run. So this year, I'm just gonna race what I wanna race. For now, that means I'm looking at a race calendar with maybe 1 or 2 HMs, a couple of 10Ks, and maybe a smattering of other races, like the turkey trot 5K I run every year in Nov.
As for what I took away from McDougall's book, it helped me return to my original purpose in running: I enjoy it. It makes me happy. So, again, why not pursue such happiness every day?
For years, I think I ran for reasons that got away from these simple ones, and even though I felt like I was enjoying running, I was often times just looking ahead to what was next instead of enjoying what I was doing in the present. But, since having kids, running has become truly valuable time (to myself) that I see as an investment in myself, and to do something that makes me happy and healthy must also be a good way to help ensure my family's health and happiness too.
Ultimately, I want to make 2013's running about what I want from running and the root of what running provides for me, and if there's one other guideline to follow, it's my own:
"I'm not in competition with anyone. Not even myself."