Life of a Runner: Muchness

Hello readers! Dang. I make a promise, and then just like that I break it. I’m really going to try to stay on top of this blog this summer, especially now that I’m done with work. This first two weeks of summer have been odd, and I haven’t figured out how to manage my time yet. That being said, it has not been a productive few weeks since last I wrote.

Since the last entry, I have opted out of two races, a half marathon and a 10k. I didn’t replace either of them with a run of the same distance or anywhere near the same distance. In short, I have really fallen far. I seem to have lost my toughness and motivation. Part of this entry will be to talk about last week’s running, but most of it will be talking about my summer goals.

This past week, I ran very little. Yeah, there have been a lot of things that have happened, but that’s no excuse. Last Tuesday, I did a quick mile in the morning. It was pretty humid and I got a later start, a mistake I really need to learn from now that summer is upon us, and with it the hot and humid weather.

For those of you who run or who want to start running, here is a little heads up: in summer, it is normally super humid in the morning but hot in the afternoon. You can decide between the lesser of two evils, but for me I opt for the humidity rather than the intense heat, so I like to go in the morning. However, another thing to keep in mind is that you run slower in the heat and humidity. So, for instance, if it’s between 85–90 degrees out and you normally run 8:00 pace, your pace is going to be more like 8:30–8:40 in that hot weather. It really does change things.

Last Thursday

Maybe I should turn this into a bit of advice as well. That might make me feel better. If you’re considering starting running or you are more of a beginner, leave a comment and let me know if you’d like more running advice. It’s the least I could do.

While we’re talking about the heat and calculations, let’s look at my run from last Thursday. My time was 17:39 for 2 miles, and my pace was 8:50/mile. It was about 75–78 degrees that morning, so my pace would have been right around 8:30 if temps were cooler. That being said, it does take a couple of weeks to acclimate to the heat. It being the beginning of summer, we’re just not used to it yet. Heck, I know in a few weeks I’d give anything for 60 degree weather, even though a short month ago 60 would have felt toasty. It’s just a matter of getting used to the weather of the changing seasons.

Saturday

I did three torturous miles on the treadmill this morning. It was not pretty. I felt like I couldn’t breathe at the end, which is a sure sign I was getting in my head too much. I tried listening to music but it didn’t help that much. Sometimes the best thing for me is to get outside. There are other things to concentrate on than my own thoughts.

One of the things runners pride themselves on is their ability to run alone, because it shows they are not afraid to be alone with their thoughts. Unfortunately, sometimes those not-so-good thoughts still creep through. It seems the treadmill is a particularly weak place for me.

That’s it for last week. I know, it’s not a lot. But let’s move on to a new topic: my goals.

I am not where I want to be. Surely you all have noticed that by now, what with all of my apologies and constant recounts of failure. But that does not mean I’m done running, far from it. Nor does it mean I accept that this is the way I am. I have every intention of getting back into shape and retaining some of my badassery, as it were. As my mum would say, I’ve “lost my muchness”. Yes, we get that from Alice in Wonderland, but it’s a good expression. I just finished listening to an audiobook called The Chronology of Water, and one of my favorite quotes from it was “you have the power to reinvent yourself endlessly. That is your beauty.” I really like this because it shows that you don’t have to wait for the perfect time, you can just do it. A lot of people wait for New Year’s. Even I was waiting for summer to really change myself and my habits. And that is a good idea! Even the fictional barriers we make for ourselves help sometimes. Like mine: I am done with work, so it just makes sense for me to start reinventing myself now. I just need the proper dedication.

My plan is to get back into shape. It doesn’t happen overnight. Yes, it might be a bit easier since I was once in shape than for someone just starting out, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be hard. I have to embrace the hardness, which is difficult because I know in my heart that I used to be strong, I used to be tough. I just have to find that willpower and inner strength again. I have a 9-hour trail race in less than two weeks. I am not going to be ready for it, but I am fully prepared to be as tough as I can be and do as much as I can. There will be a lot of obstacles. For instance, I am not good at running in heat. I never have been. Cold running weather has always suited me. Cold and rainy. Another obstacle is that I do not do well with eating and running. Normally I wait 2–3 hours after eating to run, sometimes 4. At this race, I have to fuel myself along the way or else. There’s no pushing through it for nine hours without food while running.

After that race, I think I am clear to just focus on training. I’ll be out in Utah for a couple of weeks to help my sister move into her new apartment out there and spend some quality time with my family. A lot of it will be running. That’s good, I need some nice elevation training. For the remainder of the summer, I will be hitting two-a-days with strength workouts to go along. Hopefully I will be in shape by the time we hit cross country camp. Yes, I’m going to camp again. And I’m really freaking excited! But that all comes two months from now. In the meantime, I have to work on those very things I’ve described above. I have tried and failed for months upon months to figure out training on my own and get myself to see it through. Hopefully, hopefully, this time I can do it. By the end of the summer, I hope to once again be the badass runner, Morgan Barnard. I don’t hope to be the same girl who started this blog, but a more evolved version of her. A matured athlete who can push herself to her limits and hold herself accountable. That is what I want my summer to hold.

Thank you so much for reading! I will write again later this week.

— Morgan

Teacher, Runner, Reader, and Writer. Destined for great things, I think.