Ever since I started running, I have been training for one race or another. I started running consistently, at least three times a week, when I signed up for my first race, the St. Louis Rock n' Roll Half Marathon. Since I complete my first race, I got hooked and kept signing up for more. What followed was another half marathon, then another, my first first full marathon, and various 10K's. Racing is addicting, especially when I have seen so much improvement over the two years since I started. I just want to get faster and shatter my personal records (and maybe stand on a podium).
|Winning my age group in my first duathlon|
So it is a bit of a weird feeling to not have a race to train for in the foreseeable future. My last running race was April 27th, a 10K where I blew my expectations away and got a huge PR. It was a brilliant way to end this racing season, and I am satisfied. After that race, I don't have any races planned because I will be spending the entire summer biking across the country with 4K for Cancer. After that, I will be moving to Boston to start dental school. School will be rough and super busy, so I have no idea if I will even have the time to train. I haven't checked out the local race scene, yet, but if I see some low-key local races, I might do a few to have something fun to do on the weekends. Nothing super serious. So my running future is iffy at best.
|I'm going to miss this|
Now that I don't have a race to motivate me to train, do I still run? Although racing is a big factor in my motivation to run, I still enjoy it in and of itself. I haven't been doing running workouts or big runs lately, but I still want to lace up my running shoes a couple times a week. This week, I went on two runs that reminded me of the joy of this little activity that I am obsessed with.
Happy run number one
This Wednesday, I went on my first run since the 10K race, and I ran without the Garmin for the first time in forever. I probably haven't ran without it since I got it last September. I maintained a comfortable pace, which I also haven't done in a long time. It's feels so different to not push myself and just focus on fully enjoying the run. At one point, I started to speed up unconsciously and I caught myself- why run harder if I don't have to? I finished 2.7ish mile run feeling invigorated and happy :)
Happy run number two
Friday afternoon, I went out for a trail run in a park near my house with some forested single track. This was kind of spontaneous and new to me. I rarely run on the trails and never by myself. I ran the 1.25 miles on the roads to the park, went for 3 miles in the forest, and ran back home. The last time I was at the park, there were only buds on the trees. Now, it's entirely green, beautiful, and shaded. The run got pretty hard because of the heat and hills, but I thoroughly enjoyed this it. I've been wanting to get out on the trail more, so I'm glad I did!
Do you run "just for fun" instead of training specifically for something? When was the last time you did?