The Hobby Jogger Experience: Why I Do This

Monday, February 12th — Easy Run

5 AM — 3 in 22:23

4:45 PM — 8 in 59:12 and 4x100 strides

A solid day of training. I feel much better than I did over the weekend and overall just last week. Did not feel like quite the struggle it has felt like the past few weeks. There is just something about the late winter and February in general that is stressful. I am feeling it at school and I am feeling it in training. Spring Break is far away. The next race I am scheduled to do is February 24th and it is my first 10K, but it still feels like a ways away. I also think the cold weather (although I admit that Colorado has had a fairly mild winter to say the least) just wears on a person. I am also just a little too familiar with the routine and it feels really stale. So here are some ideas to break out of things being stale:

  1. Run a new route: A new route that you have never been to before can make your run feel new. Just getting in a new environment can help your mind feel refreshed and have new and entertaining thoughts.
  2. Run with a friend: Man I got to get someone to train with a little bit. Having someone to meet with and keep you accountable helps get rid of that stale feeling. Also it gets you out of your own head. With so much training of mine being alone I have been in my own head so much and I think I need to break out. And yes I run with some of my middle schoolers, but I need a friend to train with. There are just certain things I cannot get out of my head with my middle schoolers because I am the adult there.
  3. Renew/revisit your reasons for doing this. And maybe that is what I’ll do for the rest of this week on the blog. I’ll revisit the reason I run. I’ll do one each day. So stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 13th — Easy Run

5 AM — 3 in 22:21

4:45 PM — 7 in 50:01

I identify as an athlete. It is one thing that has been with my identity since middle school. And now my identity as an athlete is tied to running. I still love to play basketball but nowadays my identity as an athlete is 100% tied to being a runner.

I’ve recently read some pieces about/by former college runners who talk about their decision to quit running after college and they talk about this identity piece. They say that their identity all throughout college was being a runner. And after college, they quit running because there has to be more to them then just running right? Especially if you are not a professional. You have to have more to your self worth and self image that just this one thing. And sometimes reading those pieces I’ll get nervous because I did not let go of the running. It still remains the largest part of my identity. And so sometimes I just worry if my identity and worth as a person is just defined through running and without running I would be nothing. I would be depressed and lost.

However, I do not think that my identity is a problem. I think there is enough of me outside of running where I can still have a healthy relationship with running. That does not mean that if I had to stop running, I would be torn apart. I absolutely would be. Running is probably my favorite on the planet. And that does not scare me. It makes me happy. It might not be like that forever. So I am just going to love it for as long as I can.

Wednesday, February 14th — Easy Run

5 AM — 3 in 22:53

4 PM — 3 with Running Club

6:15 PM — 3 with no watch

Forgot to start my watch on my evening run. Sorry to those of you who like numbers. Although I imagine nobody reads this blog for the numbers. Seriously I appreciate it if you read these. I love running because it helps me understand who I am as a person. And this writing helps me put those thoughts down on paper and work through those thoughts.

I honestly thinks that running helps me open up more. It helps me be more of myself with other people. I feel like running makes me more comfortable with whatever environment I’m in. I notice this when I am coaching and just getting out to run with the kids. I am more different and more relaxed when I am out there running. I laugh more with them. And part of that is just being able to share an extra curricular activity with these kids. That is special to me. Even if my students don’t understand running on the same level as me, they still can appreciate it alongside me when we do it.

Thursday, February 15th — Easy Run

5 AM — 3 in 22:13

4 PM — 3 with running club

6:15 PM — 3 with no watch

I love running cause it allows me to consume a lot of food haha. Now this does not mean I’m healthy just because I’m skinny. And I realize this and have been trying to eat well. I certainly subscribe to the “anything will burn if the furnace is hot enough” idea with food but recently I’ve noticed that what I consume throughout the day can drastically affect how I run. I have been trying to eat less sweets (which is hard because my middle school students surprisingly give me a lot of treats) and stay hydrated throughout the day. Sometimes I think this is age just catching up with me slowly. I feel it if I am dehydrated and have ate a lot of garbage that day. I usually have a bad run. I used to be able to just run off whatever I ate that day. Now I am still really young I am realizing how much more I have to take care of my body. I’m not quite as indestructible as I once was. Part of that is probably working a bunch more than I ever have.

Friday, February 16th — Easy Run

5 AM — 3 in 22:12

2 PM — 7 in 51:13 w/ 4x100 strides

Another day, another grind. I appreciate the amount of work it takes to be good at this sport. It has the ability to separate the pretenders who don’t actually want to work and give their all. It takes effort. And effort is what I am feeling this week.

Saturday, February 17th — “Hard” Day

10 miles total

A second week in a row where I did not get a traditional speed workout in. It is a little frustrating. The problem is I work out at a high school and usually the Saturdays are booked up with different sports practicing on the field. Sometimes I can just run while they are on the field but I feel bad cause I know it is their school and they booked practice so I try to avoid going on there. That happened again today when I went to the track so I ended up just running around for eight miles until I finally decided to run something on the track. There was still little kids lacrosse going on when I hopped on the track. Hopping on the track after 8 miles all I did was one mile, one 800, and 2 400s. These were all off 1 minute rest and sub 5:40 pace so I would say it was still quality but it hurts not having the interval days on my log.

Right now it feels like I’m lacking some focus in training. I am getting it in but the days are hard. I think that part of this is coming from me just being at this whole running, teaching, writing thing for a year. I am possibly feeling a little burnt out. But I am not burnt out to the point where I need to break from one of these things. Just in that phase where it is not fun but I can still work my way through it and will come out better on the other side.

Running inevitably has these stages. I think every runner goes through stages like this where the training is a struggle, you have a few bad weeks, and everything feels bland and like you are making no improvements. The key here is to continue to hit the training during these times. Because for those of us who don’t hit all the training during those times, your running often takes a hit. And it takes a while to get back to that point where your running once was. I don’t even know if this makes sense but I hope some of you can relate.

Sunday, February 18th — Long Run

9:45 AM — 10.5 in 75:50

4 PM — 3 in 19:52

This week’s blog has not been what I wanted it to be. I imagined it being a daily exploration into why I love running and giving me a renewed sense of purpose when I am struggling with my running a little bit. However, I have found myself tired most nights writing and struggling to find the motivation and the proper things to say about running. It is much like my training week. At the start of the week, I had envisioned a great training week confirming that I am ready to crush a 10K next Saturday. I look at my week and am feeling like I needed to do more. There is not enough speed work. There is really no speed work, so how can I feel like I have gained anything?

But that is part of the process. And truth be told, I have learned to love the process. I have set out to do a lot of big things in running and many times I have come up short. Just like I came up short with my training week. And for some, coming up short can weigh them down. It certainly has at points of my running career. There have been stretches in my running where I ask myself why I do this when I continually come up short.

Here are some things I have come up short on in my running career. Be the best runner on my college team. Win a conference championship in the steeplechase. Run under 10 minutes in the steeplechase. Run under 4:10 in 1500. Run under 16 minutes in the 5K. Be the man who is feared on the starting line. Make regionals in cross country. Not suck at cross country. Win a road race.

And every one of these things has hurt when I came up short. But they still have not deterred me from continuing to run. Because I love the process of working towards great things in running. And failing to reach these great things is something I can accept because I love this process. I love the process of training, of pushing my body to the limit, and having a chance at accomplishing my goals. Just having a chance to continue to go after great things and feel myself coming close is enough for me to keep pushing myself. For me to keep trying.

The same thing applies to my writing. Very rarely do I write a piece for this blog that captures what I want to say about running. Rarely does it capture the feelings I have about running. And yet, I will still do it because just attempting to do it is enough for me. I feel like every time I write I get closer to writing something that will truly capture what I want to say. And that’s enough for me. There are days when I dream of being able to just write and get paid for it. I am not sure that will ever happen. But just writing every day and going through this process is enough for me.

I did have a good week from a mileage perspective. 72.5 miles is the most miles I’ve run in like 9 or 10 months? That is quality. I am back to racing next Saturday in my first 10K. I am excited to take a crack at it. Thank you all for reading. As always, feel free to reach out to me and talk to me about anything that I wrote. It means a lot to me. I love you.

Tucker

Just a guy who runs and tries to do some writing