There is so much to love about runners and running in general. Runners are humble, funny people who have very little in common except a scary ability to enjoy what most people consider punishment.
But there are two things I don’t like. The first is the inevitable talk about burning calories. I don’t mind if people want to lose weight, it just doesn’t have anything to do with running. In my opinion at least. I just don’t want to hear about it. Sort of like hearing about peoples toenail problems. If I read an article about how to run 400m intervals, and the benefit of burning extra calories is mentioned, I become confused. What is the point of this exercise, to run well or burn calories? It’s just two different things, not related.
The other thing is the idea that running is something you whip yourself to do. I have never once had to overcome a mental barrier to get out the door. But then again, I run very irregularly. I’ve even stopped recording my runs. I love long runs as a way to get out and enjoy nature, and I time my shorter runs and intervals, but I’ve dropped the general idea of “putting miles in the bank”. I was getting frustrated with always looking at my watch and thinking about pace, and running extra junk mileage just to reach my weekly goal. I love running, and it’s not about results for me, but enjoying every run.
I was for another run with Sparta yesterday, and I’m having trouble finding the right group. Maybe I’m just too much of a loner, or too stubborn. I ran with a fast group yesterday, and I slept for 11 hours afterwards. A 15 km tempo run with these guys was just too much for me. I had no trouble hanging on, but afterwards I almost felt like I’d run a race. It’s not a lot too fast for me, but just enough to take the fun out of it, and make a tempo run something else, which does not fit into the training week. So I can say I have tried to gut it out, and it did not feel good. I guess there’s a right and a wrong way to do everything.
Most of the groups in Sparta are geared towards the marathon, which may be part of the problem for me: I like to run fast but not too far. Or far, but not too fast. Even with the slower groups, I feel like the warm up is much too fast, and the intervals too slow. And the faster groups are just too fast, except I can run some intervals with them. Or maybe I’m just being picky. I am still exploring what organized sport can do for me, and I’m learning a lot in the process.