I ran a 5K and a 10K this year. And I trained for both races, which was rad because it meant devising and sticking to a plan and checking off intermediate goals and taking it one day at a time, always with the end goal in mind, always focusing on the pace and the distance, taking steps each training session towards achieving the set goals. Training went well, and I achieved my goal pace in each race. Actually, I went faster than expected in each race, which is even more rad.
The 5K was on July 4th, and the 10K was a week ago on September 17th. I haven't signed up for another race yet, and in all honesty, I probably won't run another actual race till 2012. I'd also like to complete a sprint triathlon some time next summer, which will require even more training.
So it's the "offseason". I don't have any upcoming events, and for all intents and purposes, I can take a break for a bit and lay off the accumulation of fitness.
That being said, I really wanted to go for a run today. Schedules permitted and I had a chunk of time and Chase was with me and I love running with him because he's such great company, glancing up at me every once in a while or throwing both arms behind his head and chillaxing or making noises when airplanes take off from John Wayne and fly over the back bay trail we've run together a couple times.
And in the middle of that run... I realized how much fun I was having.
Yes, I was keeping track of time, and yes, there were people that I had in my sights to pass, and yes, there was still a target pace to be had. But it was fun. And not because I was training for something. It was just fun to be out and about in southern California on an overcast day running a beautiful back bay trail in Newport Beach with my almost 2 year old son and it started to drizzle and Chase fell asleep and it was a pretty dreary day actually... but it was a lot of fun.
I really enjoy running. Not just for fitness or to achieve health and race goals... it's genuinely fun for me.
And it's completely mine. I have about 3 or 4 activities that are truly mine and that had very little outside influence (relatively): golf, a genuine love of sports, music, and now running. These are the things I do for fun, the things that fill my day when I have extra time, the things I will stop to witness while channel surfing, the things I search for while I'm on the internet, the topics of conversation with my family, the interests I hope to share with my son.
Why can't what we do for fun be what we do for a living?