If a runner misses a race what should they do? Most might say, pick another race..duh. But for me, the guilt I have about the circumstances around our sweet dog's passing has left me without the very desire I had that brought me to running in the first place. All that to say I don't feel like racing. Some might laugh..especially once they check out my PB times from any race and gently let me know that I'm not exactly leaving the running world without a great runner, but still, the drive to race, to get pumped up for another duel in the sun just isn't there for me right now.
The past few days I've re-read Eat and Run by Scott Jurek. I think I breezed through it too quickly the first time because this time I found a kindred spirit. Someone who strives for personal greatness only to have circumstances leave him battered and unsure. Scott picks up the pieces by going back to what he loved about running to begin with and, by the end of the book, he slowly heals. I, on the other hand, don't have the option to travel to beautiful places to run along mountain vistas and relax in canyon pools, so I've had to figure out my own way to dig myself out of this rut.
Step One. Get back out and run.
I took about 5 days off after Spencer died and then I couldn't bring myself to run the route he and I used to do or run on the track where my mind would inevitably go to the sadness I felt. So I ran while I was at work. Either at lunch or at the end of the day I dropped my stuff at the gym and hit the roads around where I work. I kept it pretty light, I don't think I even topped 5 miles, but that wasn't the point. The point was to just get out there and find peace in my running.
Step Two. Run where it hurts.
I thought alot about how/when/where to run as my first run close to home after the accident. I knew for sure I didn't want to follow the route Spence and I usually did but that doesn't leave many options..so I ran the route in the opposite direction. Surprisingly that worked and I made it through the run without a tear. Since that first run I've been able to run most of the routes I used to run, and at a better pace than I've expected. I guess I shouldn't be surprised though, I was ready to clock out a 50k race a couple of weeks ago so I should be in top running form (for ME that is).
Step Three. Get back in the saddle.
A few days ago I printed off a new training schedule. This one is for a 50 miler in 16 weeks. Do I have a certain race in mind? Nope, but I think the act of regular training will help keep me on track, and hey if a race does eventually seem like a good idea then I should be in good shape to handle it.
Losing a great running partner sucks, especially when its your own pet, but I try to remind myself that when I started running 6 years ago I ran alone, and that most of my runs have been only in my own company so this is not the end of the world, just the end of a certain chapter. I will run on.