<!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> </xml><![endif]--> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> <!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> Around New Year’s 2009, I was thinking about all the times in 2008 that people asked me what I was training for. After all, I was no longer running in college. So my usual response was that I was training to run 5 kilometers in less than 15 minutes. As 2008 came to an end, I realized that my goal was too far out of reach as I did not even break 16 minutes.

What I wanted to talk about is about how it irritates me when runners complain about running. I wonder why they continue putting themselves through “the misery” when they say things such as “It sure feels good to get this run over with.” Sure they may have their reasons such as that it will raise their fitness level or prepare them for a future race. I admit that there are many runs that I do not enjoy; but they are usually the result of feeling sluggish or the onset of IBS.

So instead of ranting about the imperfections of runners, I think it would be nice to focus on the underlying reasons why we run. Remember the phrase, “Enjoy the process?” It seems to me that we oftentimes forget to do so when running; but that is understandable as running hurts. If it did not, then more people would do it.

It is important to keep in mind the underlying reasons why we have made running a priority in life. These are the driving force that helps us get out the door each day. If we lose this, then we have lost meaning…and without meaning, there is not much hope for reaching any of the goals that we have set for ourselves.

Sometimes our reasons for running change. If this happens, then we must revaluate our goals as well. It is not realistic to have the same high expectations of ourselves if we are not willing to make the right sacrifices.

In 2008, the worst thing happened to me that ultimately affected my first year out of college. My reasons changed as the goals remained the same. I went from craving to compete at a higher level to simply “staying in shape.” Sure I had new priorities such as [substitute] teaching and graduate school that kept me working. But I still managed to get out the door and hit 80mpw (a 20mpw increase from 2007).

In the beginning I had many days, sometimes weeks at a time that I felt awesome. Towards the end of the school year, I started having not-so-good days, several. Graduate school and work were beginning to really take a toll on me and I found myself starting to say “It sure felt good to get this run over with.”

In the summertime, I began to see that the ends were not justifying the means. My fitness level was not improving as much as I felt it should have with the effort that I was putting into training. I was not even enjoying my runs anymore. So I decided that I would put my goals on hold and just keep on running because I like the way my training log looks when it is all filled out.

So here I am in 2009 with a new approach to training. After reflecting on 2008, I realized that competing at the next level is currently not my top priority in life. Being the best PE teacher I can be is. But that does not mean that I am giving up on my goals and aspirations in this sport. It just means that they are on the back burner while I finish my Master’s and find a fulltime job. For now, I am going to focus on taking pleasure in the run, just like I used to in the beginning.