Am I going to back out, since the temperature willl be in the teens with snowfall the day before and wind chills below zero, plus I haven't even run a total of 6 miles in the past four months? No. Absolutely not. Will this race hurt? I'm certain it will. But in an odd way, I need it to hurt.
What exactly do I mean? Well, my problem lately has been motivation. I haven't had a race to strive for, I haven't had the energy to go to the gym or go for a run after work, and the weather has been so unpleasant that running outside or even driving to the gym has often been far too treacherous to be worth it.
When I even mildly considered skipping the race, staring in my bathroom mirror tonight, I got angry. No. I am not skipping this race. First of all, this race has incredible meaning to me. This is the North Shore Cupid's Love Dash 10K. In 2013, it became the first 10K I ever ran. And despite freezing rain throughout the entire race and an ice-coated Mile 5, it is still my 10K PR, four 10Ks later.
It is my 10K race anniversary. I don't care how I do, I don't care how cold it is, I cannot miss this. Initially, I had been hoping to break my PR one year later at the very race at which I set my PR. However, given my lack of running, even though I really wanted to beat my PR this year, I know I won't.
But when I stared at myself in the mirror, I said to myself, "I don't care what the temperature is. You will be sore afterward and I do not care that you will be sore. I don't care how much this will hurt. You need this in order to get back to yourself."
And it's true, I do. I have three races lined up in the next two months, and I need the races to keep me motivated to actually run and train. I have another 10K in March, and my running club's annual 5K in April just for starters. I'm anticipating registering for the Chicago Women's Half Marathon at the end of August over Labor Day Weekend. I discovered long ago that races are what keep me motivated to run, and so I need to continue racing. If nothing else, it'll keep me running even when motivation is low. I think that's why I ran a race in pretty much every month in 2013. Not just because I wanted to, but just to keep me working toward something.
Sure, races can be expensive, but at this point, these races keep me healthy. They keep me working hard, training toward something at which I want to excel. I remember that now, and dread a little bit what my horrible time will be at my 10K this weekend when I had so been hoping for a PR before my motivation went totally AWOL. But doing something will be better than doing nothing, which is what I'm doing now. The weight is very obviously creeping back on again, and I know that my lack of running is to blame.
I need to start running again not only for my health, but also because I promised my grandfather on his literal death bed that I would run. When I said goodbye to my grandfather in December when he was moved to hospice care, he told me he loved me and to "keep running." I told him I would. But since his death, I have not kept that promise. I feel terribly guilty about that, and that's another reminder for me that I need to be running -- it is part of me.
I am looking forward to the pain of this 10K. I really need to be reminded of the pain. And of the reward that the pain can bring. And just how powerful the runner's high is.