Albuquerque · Fitness · Running

Just Keep Showing Up

To prepare for the 10k that I’m running in a couple of weeks — whoa, make that next weekend (!) — I’ve eased some weekend long runs into my routine. Come race day, I want to focus on the race, not whether I’ll be huffing and puffing at the 6-mile marker.

How very far away my past marathon training seems.

Last Saturday, I waited a prudent length of time after a short-lived but messy winter storm flung itself across northeast Albuquerque, then laced up my running shoes. I had a touch of cabin fever, so I was looking forward to getting out in the fresh air and just moving. Not only that, but I was also looking forward to a change of scenery. During the week, the cold air and setting sun tend to stifle my spirit of adventure, so I keep those runs close to home. On the weekends, I venture out. It’s what we winter runners live for, no?

Beware the overly-anticipated run!

It was…not great. I ran an out-and-back route, and felt sluggish the whole time. Headwinds not only made progress more challenging, they also turned mild temperatures into legit wintry ones. I had a stitch in my side going out, and ahem, other stomach complaints coming back.

The only silver lining: the sun was shining! (Is that gold lining?)

Not to say this was a BAD run; oh no. All of those hiccups are just part of the great long-term adventure known as running. But put them all together, and the run was decidedly blah.

This happens. Despite what we see on social media and Runner’s World ads, not every run is fabulous (no matter how long you’ve been running, this can STILL be a slap in the face). Not every run results in a training log entry filled with smiley faces and exclamation points and hearts (I’m not the only one who draws pictures in my training log, am I?). Occasionally the log entry is laced with profanity, or the run is so uninspiring that writing it down hardly even seems worth the effort. Sometimes that feeling lingers over weeks, months, or an entire year’s worth of running.

That’s not the point. The point is keeping at it. The point is that we persist through unpleasant runs, annoying runs, and especially — especially — downright unremarkable runs, and we come back. We lace up our shoes again the next day. We keep our appointment for next weekend’s long run.

And by keeping at it, we carry that spirit of tenacity into other areas of our lives. Our relationships, our jobs, our friendships — maybe they’re not always full of smiley faces and exclamation points and hearts. Maybe we want to curl up and duck for cover in the face of a headwind.

But we don’t. And there’s something to that.

Kristin Armstrong, one of my favorite writers, closed her latest post with something I thought worth sharing:

“For now, right this minute and going forward, we’re taking the pressure off. Just keep showing up, that’s all.”




5 thoughts on “Just Keep Showing Up

  1. I am always disappointed by my “most anticipated” runs, too. I suppose that makes sense, since the magic of magical runs is usually due in part to the fact that it’s unexpected.

    I’m coming back after a lot of time completely off this fall, so I understand this. It is humbling. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that yes, 8-9 miles is a LONG run now. It’s boring and sometimes frustrating to have to take baby steps and progress so slowly again, but you’re right, you have to keep getting out there. There’s no other way to get the work done. Sheer desire won’t get you from point A to point B!

  2. I had a week of blah runs a few weeks ago. They weren’t awful runs and I wasn’t slogging but I never hit that “OMG, I’m running!” mindset that usually happens after five or six or ten miles. The runs were, well, just runs. Nothing bad and I got my miles in and I didn’t suffer too much. Thankfully I’ve since perked up and now hit a few spots of bliss each run. P.S. We’re vacationing down in Tucson from Alaska and it was 50 degrees on yesterday’s run. I saw people wearing fleece jackets, wool hats and gloves. I had on shorts, lol. But it went down to 30 degrees last night and I realized that, damn, it does get cold in the desert. Keep running, and stay warm.

  3. And by keeping at it, we carry that spirit of tenacity into other areas of our lives. Our relationships, our jobs, our friendships —

    How true and a well needed reminder!

  4. Absolutely, you just keep going! I am in Northern Illinois near Chicago and just started training for a May half marathon. I hate the treadmill with a passion so the other day when it was supposed to be 41 degrees, I went out for a 5-miler. OMG! Gusting winds, grey skies, biting temperatures! I kept saying “you’ll warm up, just keep going” but instead I FROZE MY BUTT OFF! Finally I cut it short at 3.5 miles and will try outdoors again another day. In the meantime, it’s back to the dusty, dull, ugly treadmill. But I’ll keep going, just like you. Because one of these days it’s gonna be spectacular again! 🙂

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