I feel guilty. I’m a huge guilt addict lately. However, what I realized I felt guilty about this morning was the fact that I haven’t ‘gone for a run’ in ages. Just a run to run. Recently, when I’ve laced up my running shoes I’m headed to the gym, I’m running the mile to the gym—only to hop on the elliptical and lift weights. Or I run the 1.6 miles to the pool to swim some laps then run home. The other day I did go for a run, but I found a set of stairs and I ran up and down them for 20 minutes instead of logging miles here at 3,000 feet—I added to my elevation gain and loss via concrete steps. Weird, I know.
But what I realized on my way to the gym this morning was that I don’t have to run. I’m kicking my ass nearly everyday lifting weights, swimming, biking and elliptizing, (I have this weird love for the elliptical…) I’m doing good for my body and yet in the back of my mind I think I should be running. But why?
I think I feel this way because for so long I was the runner in my circle of friends. (Let’s be honest, I still am in some of those circles,) but that’s who I was. And it’s okay to change. It’s okay to not do what you’ve always done and change up your norm. Right now I enjoy being a gym rat, I enjoy logging laps at the local pool, I enjoy laying on my couch and reading a novel, I enjoy selling drinks and French fries rather than wool socks and running shoes! I’m still in a routine, I’m still exercising (all norms in my life,) but changing it up and creating a new normal is kind of exciting.
I have no doubt I’ll get my running legs back eventually, but for right now I’m enjoying a different kind of normal.
As much as I love tromping around the world, changing my location, exploring new places, I have learned in the last year that I thrive in routine. Even in Thailand I created a strict routine for myself during the week, it consisted of early mornings, early evenings and eating pretty much the exact same thing every week day. It seems boring, especially when you’re in a foreign country but a girls gotta do what she’s gotta do to stay sane. As I traveled the rest of SE Asia I was forced out of the routine and struggled. I couldn’t run every day, I couldn’t control my food intake, (yes this is part of the adventure, but for weeks on end this becomes stressful). Being out of your comfort zone is great, but I think we can all agree that it’s hard.
I’ve been here in Deep Creek, MD for about three weeks now. I have a job, I’m training, and I’m helping coordinate a race. If I work at 10am, I get up at 6am and get to the pool, gym, trails…etc. if I work late I sleep a bit later and push my training forward a bit. I’m routine. The check in people at the pool recognize me, the gym people know me by name, the friend I live with knows what I like to eat—hell, he made a pot of coffee before I even got up this morning, (best surprise EVER)
But the question I’m started to ask is, is routine productive? Or is routine like running on a treadmill, not moving forward, but just getting really tired and bored (boring)? I try to set goals. In fact a friend of mine and I both have made a goal list: he is getting out there. Hitting the gay bar scene, getting out of his safe circle, pushing his limits and making himself uncomfortable. I’m…reading more. Thinking about writing more (and failing,) training (but obsessing,) and…that’s about it. I’m having a hard time identifying what I want.
If routine is comfortable but works do you stick in it? How often should you stray? When do you throw your hands up and fly across the world again due to not knowing?
Penang Island, Malaysia–the World
Running is hard. Especially when you stop for a while. Usually stopping means you’re injured, you’re busy, you’re bored with your running routes. Usually stopping goes hand in hand with gaining weight and losing motivation to get back at it—because stopping goes hand in hand with running getting hard.
I never really stopped. I slowed down. I got lazy. I kept eating like I was running a lot. And that’s where I am.