Confessions of a PC Runner

I am in denial. Even with all my talk of PCPRs, I’m having trouble putting the past behind me and living in the now. I expect myself to run to the old college standard despite the fact that it has been (eep!) four years now since I competed as a collegiate athlete.

Nowhere is this so clear as at track practice. Husband and I had a little conversation prior to this week’s workout:

Queen of Denial — Do I have to go to track practice this week?
Husband — You’re running the duel, aren’t you?
Queen of Denial — I really don’t want to run a mile rep. It’s going to suck.
Husband — It’ll be good for you!
Queen of Denial — Yeah, but I can’t run more than an 800 at 1:40 pace.
Husband — Um…so slow down. I bet you could do it at 1:47 or so.
Queen of Denial — I don’t want to be that slow.

Husband went on to give a wonderfully encouraging speech that said he understood but I just needed to not think about the “used to be” and concentrate on getting this Megan into better shape. It was a great speech and he’s absolutely right…I apologize in advance for the annoyingly whiny tone, but it’s just so HARD! Other running is a bit easier. College Megan has never run in South Carolina. She’s certainly never run the Swamp Rabbit Trail or any of my Simpsonville routes. During marathon training I would occasionally fantasize about how much faster I’d be done with my long runs if long run pace was still 8:00, but that was it.

But on the track…oh, on the track. An oval is an oval is an oval. It doesn’t matter if it’s Greenville, Wichita, Cleveland, or anywhere in between. The memories assault me. They hold up a picture of the 10k runner chick at the peak of her career, when she could run 1:30 pace all the live long day. It’s her fault that 1:47 pace seems unacceptably slow. Those memories goad present Megan into running faster than is actually wise, leading present Megan off the cliffs of lactic acid despair. The contrast between then and now seems so stark and so sad at the track. Boo hoo.

Taking a determined step away from pointless complaining and…I think I put up a partial wall to the “College Megan Museum” yesterday. I was at the track against my will, growing increasingly irritated with my shirt. It was stiflingly humid and I was recalling fondly the days of running freedom—running in a sport bra. By the time the first interval was over, I was convinced that my shirt weighed 20 pounds and was plotting my demise. After a quick confidence boost from Scott, I thought, “who cares?” and chucked the conspirator. I ran the rest of the workout in a sport bra, and it felt really good. Plus, no one threw up at the sight of me or even seemed to notice, so that was good too. (Sidenote: I know that I’m in very good shape for an average person…I don’t have a problem with my weight per se. In fact, it’s a whole lot easier to find non-running clothes now that I’m “normal!” It’s just the “then and now” comparison while running that causes difficulties.) When I ran to the bathroom at the end of the workout and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror I just had to laugh. That’s all? Sure, I don’t  have a six pack or anything, but that’s not so bad! It’s a similar experience to discovering that my old running shorts (mostly) still fit…in trying to cling so  hard to college Megan, the picture I hold of present Megan has become hopelessly skewed. Hopefully the construction of the College Megan Museum will help put things right.

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2 responses

  1. Don’t be so hard on yourself, Megan. I think you’re great.

    Remember, you’re older now… you have a job, you have responsibilities an undergraduate does not, you have a house and a husband and a life. There’s all that and you still make time to run. That’s a big thing, something for which you should commend yourself.

    I didn’t run in college. I’ve never run before I started a little over a year ago. I’d love to know what I could have done back then, in my “glory days.” You’re so lucky that you get to know. 🙂

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