Posted by: hjelen87 | June 22, 2012

On Running, Passion, and Always Coming Back

“If you love something, let it go.  If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever.  If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.” -Anonymous

In college, our coach made us take 2 weeks off of running at the end of every cross-country and outdoor track season.  And a lot of us hated it.  There is something about being forced to give something up that just makes you want it more.  At the end of those two weeks, I was always raring to get back at it.  Looking back, I can appreciate the importance of those 2-week breaks.  Since I’m not in college anymore, I don’t have set “seasons” for running.  I haven’t even really had “goal” races that are the main thing I am training for.  In college, we were always pointing for something.  Qualify for nationals.  Win conference.  Become an All-American.  Our whole season would be focused on these goals, and then when the season was over, whether or not those goals were accomplished, we would take our 2 weeks off, and then we would start again.

At first, after graduating from college, it was a little bit freeing to not have the pressure of always working toward something specific in my running.  I didn’t have to worry about getting injured, because if I did, I would just take as much time off as needed to get healthy and then I would start again.  I didn’t have to worry about having a bad race, because it didn’t really matter, didn’t make a difference for anything in the future.  It was just a race.

I took some time completely off, then some time just running whenever I felt like it.  But soon, I realized I didn’t like being a “recreational runner.”  Running just for the sake of running.  When I say I love running, what I really mean is that I love training.  Racing.  Competing.  Pushing my body to its limit just to see how far and how fast it will go.

Recently, I took some time off of running.  I’m not forced to take breaks anymore, but I’ve learned to impose them on myself.  They are my way of making sure that running is not just something that I feel like I should do, not just some addiction that I have, but something that is my passion.  I take as much time off as I need to get the fire back.  And before long, I start to miss it.  To miss training.  To miss being able to do something that most people can only dream of doing.  I know I will come back to it.  I always do.  Almost every competitive runner that I know always comes back to it.  It is our passion.  And once you find that passion in your life, you can’t give it up.

“The fire’s returned, I’m letting it burn; there’s nothing better in the whole wide world.” –Remedy Drive-“Heartbeat

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