For the month of November I’m taking a social sabbatical. I’ll be quietly ignoring as much Facebook as possible, avoiding reTweeting anything, minimizing my Instagram life, and generally doing some non-technical things. I might do a few serious blog posts, but only if it’s got some weighty heft about something I want to record: like telling you about this awesome book I’m reading, or posting photos from some crazy adventure. But otherwise, nothing for November. Quiet. Still. Nada. And then… well… full steam ahead in December with my annual blog-a-day month. Until then….
…among other things. It has become increasingly clear that I’ve fallen off the running wagon this year. On Saturday I watched on the socials as dozens of my friends ran around the city and province, training and racing in events including five klick fundraisers, long training runs, late-evening party races, favourite mountain events, and even an epic ultra marathon trail run. I ate pizza and wandered around the science centre. Albeit it was my only daughter’s tenth birthday party and I was playing the role of the good dad, but I didn’t even go out for a modest morning jog on Saturday. It didn’t even cross my mind. I tell myself over and over and over that “I’m gonna pick it up” again soon, get back into some serious training and maybe even some serious distance… but there is a motivational element that isn’t clicking these days. It used to be that I wrote about it, ran it, and then wrote about it some more. Maybe that was it? Stay tuned, I guess… this slump can’t last forever.
I know a few people who read my blog started reading it — continue reading it — because at one point I wrote a lot about running. That hasn’t exactly been the case lately, I know, and I really do have a few reasons for that, some good, some not as good.
A Good Reason: I’m on a bit of a winter running break
I’m not an Olympic athlete. I’m just a guy who runs. I’m just a dad with some free time that I devote to a sport that I love. And occasionally — I think I’ve even written about it — a guy just needs a break. I mean, even after a summer of marathon training, I’ve still been running. Just barely tho: trotting around the neighbourhoods. I’ve been plodding through the snowy trails when the weather cooperates, but I wouldn’t exactly call it training. One or two runs a week. Some vague goals. Pretty much as recreational as one can get without completely putting the legs in an elevated and reclined position.
A Bad Reason: I should be writing about my break, but I’m not
As much as I need a break from the running, I probably needed a break from the writing about running, but breaks seem to be important too, and getting my mind around that, justifying it, arguing with words in this space in favour of the time-off, running-sabbatical, x-training-vacay could have been more of a priority. You can’t just write the doubleplus good stuff.
A Good Reason: I’m not selling anything
I could be completely wrong, but I’ve always kinda pictured my writing as being a bit more genuine than some — many — other running blogs out there. I mean, I don’t make money off this website. Really. Nothing. There’s no ads. I’m not part of some multi-level vitamin supplement sales scheme. I’m not peddling a service or selling you my advice. I’m just documenting my experience. So, in a way it feels like that takes me off the hook because this isn’t a job… it’s just a thing I do.
A Bad Reason: I should be better at competing with the MLMs
That said, if I’m going to put in the effort I still like an audience and it’s getting harder and harder to compete against all the pro-bloggers out there who are hard-core, epic-running machines with five gajillion devoted followers and by the way have you tried this eight-dollar-per-can organic-vita-juice-shake-supplement grown in the jungles of Greenland that they reaaaaaaaaally love, and you should try, and “please click this link to order” ‘cuz you’re really helping them support the dream. Because even if that makes me a liberated media socialist wingnut, not everything you read should have a catch. I still believe there should just be independent places, free of “please pay me now” buzzing in your face-ness, that aren’t always trying to sell you something: I’m not. I don’t. I won’t. Well, other than an idea about a sport I love. Hopefully I never need to change that.
A Good Reason: I’m burnt out
Life. Work. Politics. I’ve been looking for a center of balance and every time I sit down at a keyboard to type something out, I enter this fray of social insanity that I’m struggling (oh-so-unsuccessfully) to ignore, and it creeps into everything I say or do or think because it’s a fundamentally outrageous part of life that, like a good long run, sometimes you feel great, sometimes you’re just plodding along, sometimes you’re cruising with the wind at your back, and sometimes you’re climbing a hill with a leg cramp. That last one is how I feel right now.
A Bad Reason: Running is my center
Or it should be. I need to remember that more.
I was a little worried. We’ve been on vacation for about two weeks and (obviously) I was not bringing along my violin. Someday, maybe, when the purpose of travel is a little more musical or when we go to some European villa and I can sit on the veranda playing, but for a hurried pair of trips through two major US cities… no. I packed up my violin in its case the evening we left for New York and there is stayed until I pulled it out last night. And, I was a little worried. Worried that all my practicing would be for nothing. Worried that I would be like a noob beginner again. Worried that it would be more scratching than music. But no. My fingers remembered where they were supposed to touch the strings and my arm remembered how to move the bow, and if anything using my legs to run marathons gave my digits the rest they needed to make some very lovely sounding practice in the basement as life spins back to regularly scheduled programming.
I guess you know it’s been a good Christmas day when you finally get to settle into the couch at eleven o’clock at night, with just an hour left until midnight, and all that you can really recall of the day is that you ate a lot, drank to match, played some games, talked a bunch, ate some more, watched bad movies, read, relaxed, and otherwise did nothing resembling work. That said, I think I’ll keep the best details for myself. Now, where did I leave my eggnog?
When I walk out of the office later today.
One of the problems falling sideways out of a dedicated running schedule is that on those occasions when you need to break out of it, say for a rest after two weekends of back to back long races, is that you tend to feel more guilty than restful. I made the rational decision to consider my mental and physical state and (given the rainy day we’re having) take a day off and instead enjoy a coffee and a treat and some quiet time. Rather than feeling restful, however, I just feel guilty for skipping my run. I guess I need to work on that whole life and balance thing. *sigh*
After work today, with a ride home on the train and one last run this evening before a 5-day holiday break.
…a couple days off.
I’ve not been writing here as much as I would like, I admit it.
I’ve also not been (a) working on my various projects, (b) taking very many photos (c) updating any of my other websites (d) reading or (e) following through on a small list of other personal commitments.
Sorry about that, I mean if you’re one of those folks who has been frequently visiting, reloading, and checking in. I’ve just had… things… distractions.
I’m hoping it doesn’t linger too long. But these types of things are unpredictable. Uncertain. Unique upon each and every emergence, and I don’t have a simple fix to thaw the freeze that comprises whatever delicate concoction of energy, time and creativity that fuels these spaces.
Physically, not too tired… but my brain seriously needs a vacation.
What posts in June? Oh, thooooose thirty posts in June… again. It seems that for the fourth year in a row I’ve climbed aboard the daily blogging train and continued that monumental, multi-year writing effort to string a topic or idea across the vast reaches of years. Each day a new post on a new topic, but on the same blog-per-day topic as last year, creating another set of Those 30 Posts in June. Today, that post just happens to be:
June 28th // Something You Want to Break
Even I’m not crazy enough to be too hard on myself for a poor couple of months of training when an injury is involved. But the truth of the matter is that I’ve let myself get a little lazy because of that back injury.
Running is a habit. It’s a lifestyle. It’s about eating right, sleeping well, hydrating, and showing up for practices even when you don’t want to be there.. especially when you don’t want to be there.
Injury kicks you out of a groove, and that disruption sucks. It causes you to stumble into a blip in your training. You may be getting out and doing something, but the effort isn’t the same…. the heart of it is diminished. If you’re not careful, the blip becomes a bump and then the bump becomes a hump, and the hump… well… I’m at a bit of a hump and I’m not sure I want to find out what’s coming up after that.
I have some ideas on a remedy to get me back on track. Part of that is running a race on Tuesday. But… I have a streak I want to break and it’s not necessarily one I’m proud of right now..