Fall is an interesting season for me. I grew up in an absolute wonderland for a country boy. I had 60 acres of hunting and trapping heaven out my back door and the lure of salt water was not far away. Any given day of the fall I could choose to hunt ducks, deer, small game, get my trap line ready for winter or pursue the various fish that used to inhabit the Delaware Bay and ocean. I swore I would never move out of the country and that my life would revolve around the outdoors. Then, adulthood and practical reality set in.
If you’ve followed these pages it may seem like I have been a lifelong athlete but this is hardly the case. I started running and then doing triathlon as a practical matter because I was getting too fat and out-of-shape to enjoy any of my other passions. In the course of things, I started pursuing better and faster running times, and longer distance races as I went along until running and triathlon became it’s own passion.
I still schedule my fall around spending my Saturday’s in a tree stand. I love watching a Brown Creeper make it’s way up the bark of a Walnut tree or watching a fox give itself a bath before curling up to take a nap. I especially like acquiring a freezer full of lean, relatively organic deer meat for the following year. Still, since discovering running I have also found I love to get out there for a fast fall race or two. But not this year. The motivation to race just isn’t there.
I am signed up for races next year including probably the most recognizable race in the world: The Boston Marathon. I am excited to run down Boylston Street to the finish and know I’ll get there. There are other planned races out there too including the very difficult American Triple T a month after Boston. All these things will need preparation even just to finish if not race.
But lately it has been so difficult to force myself out the door for a run or a ride. I KNOW I need to. I’ve worked so hard to get the weight off and keep it off and it is frustrating to watch the scale creep upwards knowing if I don’t act soon there will be great pain ahead to get it back down. And perhaps that is part of the problem. To the casual observer, I do workout more than most. I am still running 20-30 miles a week, swimming at least twice a week (around a mile or so), riding 2-4 hours per week, and doing strength work 1-2 times per week. Yet the scale goes upward. Sure, my diet could be a little better than it is but the really frustrating thing is it isn’t THAT bad. My body makes me pay for a few pieces of chocolate each week or a cookie now and then. I laugh when people say “You can eat what you want because you work out so much”. I wish. Frankly, nobody can do that. It’s a bad recipe. But I can’t even enjoy a LITTLE of what I want without consequence. After a while this adds up to a “Why bother?” mentality.
I’ll get there. I’ll shake off the fall/winter doldrums and get back on my horse. I have been enjoying my lunchtime runs with friends at work and my early morning Friday runs with a local crew. But the hard, focused training I need to race well and keep my girlish figure will need to re-emerge.
I plan to stitch together a Boston Marathon training plan. This should help. I also need to round out next year’s race schedule. I think part of the lack of motivation is that typically by now I have an “A” race on the calendar. I keep saying I’m not going to race Boston but just enjoy it. Perhaps step one may be to re-think that a bit and plan on at least running it hard if not racing. I need that scary event out there to be prepared for. Otherwise there is always competitive eating.
It doesn’t seem fair, with our metabolisms slowing down just a little faster than the extra calories we’re burning! Then again, at our age (29, right?), just getting out there is a kind of victory.