I haven't run in almost three weeks, but I have at least been thinking about it.
Specifically, I've taken time to be my own sports psychiatrist, and I've diagnosed myself as needing to ease back into running and learn to like it again.
So here's what I've come up with.
July 1: Open my mind back up to running. Twice a week at most. With only the expectation that it won't be easy or fast.
July 27-Aug. 3: Relax and rest up after RAGBRAI.
Aug. 4: Start a 10K training plan.
Last year, I started training for a half marathon at the beginning of August, right after I'd done RAGBRAI, and it worked out great. This year, the thought of doing that makes me tired and overheated.
As my hairdresser said when I told her I'd most likely skip the 2014 Des Moines Half Marathon: "Yeah, you wanna have fun during the summer."
Yes, I do. I like having something on the horizon, but the local long races are just too close to the dog days of August and two months of intensive biking.
A 10K seemed better-suited to the conditions. Plus, I've never done a road 10K race — only a nighttime trail one — so it'll be interesting to see what I can do.
Sept. 8: Do the Maffitt Lake five-mile. This should be the right combination of fun and challenging — i.e., exactly the kind of carrot/motivation I need.
Fun, because off-road running is scenic and lets me lower my expectations for myself without feeling like I'm a wimp, and challenging, because Living History Farms is the only off-road running I've done since moving to Des Moines.
Sept. 20 or 21: Do a 10K. Preferably the one on a Sunday, if I can find sign-up info and not just a date on the local sports store's race calendar.
Sept. 28: Do the Brew Mile. I again won't have time to do much mile-specific training, but I'll have more residual strength than I did before the Grand Blue Mile.
I'll have the power of the crowds pulling me along, and because I work Saturdays, I'll have the advantage of sobriety over the participants who have already hit up Oktoberfest.
Oct. 11: Do the Boone County 5K History Walk/Run. I'd better start thinking about a clever costume that also allows for good movement, because this time of year is much better for running.
If my schedule and motivation level allow, I might look for a serious 5K in hopes of breaking my PR, but I'm not going to stress about it. I'd rather be a little lazy the rest of this year than risk ruining my hobby for myself.