Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Tunnel Vision

As any competitive runner knows, a certain amount of dedication is needed to race well. What I've discovered, is that dedication can easily morph into tunnel vision.

Lately, nearly every aspect of my life revolves around running. I live the run. I'm obsessed. I even spend time when I'm not running on . . . running. In addition to my regular training, little things related to running have begun to add up. Whether it's reading about running; eating the proper foods before, during and after a run; foam rolling, stretching, icing and massaging; getting enough rest; shopping for running gear; and so on - these things are time consuming and it's easy to get sucked into the mindset that if you could just do a bit more, you could run a bit faster.

As a result, I've been overly tired and saying no to my friends a lot more than yes. So this past weekend I decided enough is enough and gave myself a little break.

First up: My friend Lisa asked if I wanted to see The Vagina Monologues Friday evening. Normally I would say no because my inner run nerd wants to carb load and go to bed early. Turns out, I was able to carb load over dinner with a friend, see The Vagina Monologues and go to bed early. It was really nice catching up with Lisa and also going to a play I've been wanting to see for awhile. Win!

The Shindig: After a long run Saturday morning, my energy was zapped. I ended up battling strong winds throughout, which made the miles grueling both mentally and physically. Normally, this would lead to taking it easy for the rest of the day, but not this Saturday! Instead, I participated in the Shamrock Shindig bar crawl on Water Street. Several hours of bar hopping, cocktail drinking and bar top dancing. Definitely not the type of thing responsible runners participate in, but it sure was fun!

Weird face time!

Jess winding up for a pretend punch.

Something new: My favorite running store, Performance Running Outfitters, sponsored a 4-mile St. Patty's Day theme fun run on Sunday morning, so my mom and I decided to give it a try. This was my first group run and now I definitely understand why people like them so much! I ran at my mom's pace and toward the back of the pack, which was probably a wise choice given the previous night's activities!

After the run, wearing plenty of green.

This weekend reminded me how important it is to maintain a healthy balance. Although I need to buckle down these next few weeks in prep for the Rockford Half Marathon, I'm going remind myself that saying "yes" doesn't mean I'll wreck my training. In fact, it just may give me a boost on race day.

Tell me: How do you balance running with other things in life? Do you ever find yourself in a "tunnel vision" mindset?

- ST

1 comment:

  1. I combine racing with having fun. I run trail races and they usually are a few hundred miles from where I live. So I arrive late in the evening, have to put up my tent and then have some sort of dinner with a few beers before sleeping maybe 3 to 4 hours. The day is spend running and then chatting with friends - including those newly made while running. It's a very relaxed (after the race) and friendly community of runners. So go out and have fun! Then run fast!