XXXI: 5under20



Sure, I could pin the recent feelings on the understanding of turkey, Thanksgiving, desserts, and an excuse to sit back in sweatpants and watch the world spin by.

However, that doesn’t settle the stirring of the soul of my own shortcomings. A few weekends ago I went running on a mile adventure in the state of Kansas. I’d prepared for that specific race for months, even building up the nerve to sign up, and in the end only to see myself burn out in the first 400meters.

Praise God, the only the person there that knew me was my wife, and she was kind to me after the event was over. The realization, along with the criticism of those who inspired, is that I’ve finally experienced the term ‘burn out’. I know what my dream was, I know what I put myself through, and in the end it’s the reality that it still wasn’t enough. I didn’t achieve the goal; in fact if nothing else I did quite the opposite and absolutely humiliated myself.

For three weeks I’ve tried to avoid running. I’ve made excuses from lack of sunlight, to deer hunters in the country, even to the point of being too busy judging a speech and debate tournament. I didn’t want to run because, as childish as it sounded, I only thought of how embarrassed I was in Kansas. I think about the times that I’ve fallen short, the reality that I haven’t won awards, and the truth that in so many ways I do run because I want to win something…anything.

It’s that shallow.

I’m that shallow.

Now, leaning towards the extended break time for Thanksgiving, I can’t seem to learn my lessons. I don’t want to be fat (again), I want to run and feel good doing it, and you know what? I’d like a new pair of shoes.

Obviously, in order for this to all take place, I need to find a motivator to get me moving again. So, as noted above through the image, I’d like to run a 5K race under twenty minutes. I just want to know that I’m not so poor of  a runner that I can’t even complete that task.

What I know it involves so far:

  • +30 mile weeks
  • New gym and new gym membership
  • Recalculating fat loss
  • Cleaner food

The other understanding is knowing that I’ll be doing this alone. That itself should be nothing new, but the longer I’ve played along with the ideas and beliefs of running the more I’ve noted that it’s a lonely road. It isn’t because there are so few people that partake in these journeys, it’s primarily because of the understanding that I still struggle so much with peer interaction that it’s more comfortable for me to do this on my own.

Mentally, it’s all connected. I live an uncomfortable life because I’m always trying to do something new, being someone new, and overcome all my shortcomings. However, in understanding that I’ve also come to understand that there are times when one must escape the ability of being uncomfortable. There’s nothing wrong, in my opinion, with a necessary retreat.

Running itself is its own retreat.

It’s an escape from social adaptation, requirements of growth, and interaction. It’s a cognitive escape from the reality that I live in. It’s an opportunity to dream freely of a life that ‘could be’ not ‘what is’. Running is my opportunity for personal creativity; I can build something out of nothing. I want to be something that can, put bluntly, allow others to be proud of me. I’m nearing thirty years of age and I’m still searching for that opportunity to hear those close to me say, “I’m proud of you.” It isn’t education, it isn’t the workforce, it’s running. It’s something that I’m absolutely awful at that I want to overcome for that momentary sensation of the joy of others noting that I overcame my own demons.

I’m not sure if any of that makes sense.

Perhaps it’s all best surmised with this question:

Have you ever wanted to do something so great that you get a lump in your throat?

It’s frustrating to want something so badly, but at the same time know that you’re not even close to the idea of ‘talented’ in the subject. I mean, come on, through my wife’s lips I’ve heard the honesty,

You’re not built to run. You’re not talented as a runner.

Yet, I’m foolish enough to dream of the impossible. Well known that I’ll likely never reach the pinnacle of any dream associated with the said topic.

What I can do though, the best I can do, is simply follow what I know. Also, learn what I don’t.

What I’ve learned about running that distance under twenty minutes is that it’s not impossible. Additionally, I’ve learned that running a minimum of thirty miles a week is a requirement. On top of that, it’s crucial that an actual 5K run has ‘negative splits’; meaning that your first mile is your slowest, second is faster, final is fastest. As learned from the mile in Kansas, burning yourself out in the beginning is the road to disaster.

Obviously one of the key questions heading into this is finding thirty miles throughout the entire week. If I already acknowledge Tuesday as a loss, that gives me six days to break into five miles a piece. That, or I add mileage on one day and take away from another. Finally, we have to understand that winter is here, knocking out the advantage of sunlight (sunset is prior to 5:00 PM at this point). My only understanding of success in this department comes in the form of the gym. Not all mileage is equal and not all thirty miles has to be spent on the treadmill. In fact, I fear that more damage versus good would come from spending all winter on a treadmill. Therefore, the thirty is the goal for each week. I firmly believe that I can be averaging thirty a week by years end. Some from the trails on the weekends, some from the treadmill, some from the elliptical and bike.

This mix of activities, plus achieving a better position with diet (food you’re eating, not a restriction of food) will assist in the weight loss process also. I’m going to add a weekly weigh-in event to the process. Monitoring will be key to understanding how the body retains mass (or loses it). Anything below 225lbs is considered unhealthy, so knowing that point is also crucial.

I’m already past 1000 words for this post, so a conclusion is evidently needed. I guess after feeling such defeat my simple journey continues; I just want to know what victory is like.

Today’s Date: November 26, 2015
Sub-20 5K Goal Date: May 2, 2016
Time Remaining: 5 months, 6 days


One response to “XXXI: 5under20

  1. Pingback: #getyourpraiseon | Signing On The X

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