If you had asked me in the fall what I thought one of my greatest struggles over the winter off season would be, there is no way loneliness would have been an answer. Obviously the life of an elite endurance athlete has it’s bouts of solitude with 5hour rides, 2 hour long runs alone being standard practice. However, this winter there has been something different.
Working at the Talisman Centre, I am continually surrounded by people. Usually I can’t even walk 20m in that tent without saying “hi” to someone I know. In fact, most of my life involves interacting with others, but this is not what I’m talking about. The reason I’m lonely is because I don’t have a ‘pain partner’. In January I lost my training partner Jon Bird, as he moved to Victoria to train at the national center. I was never excited about this, but was excited to have Jon take a necessary next step as he continues to show great promise as threat for the 2012 Olympics. Over the past year, Jon and I had developed a great friendship that encompassed training and coaching together on almost a daily basis. Now that he is gone, I am craving someone to talk to about my ideas for racing, training, diet, etc. I yearn to have someone sweating out beside me as I do yet another tready run inside while the wind blows at -35*C. I long again for the days where there is someone I can joke around with and play in the pool with between the hard swim sets. Even to have someone that you can schedule your workouts with when you are lacking motivation. There doesn’t even have to be any talking, it’s just knowing that someone else is there hurting beside you.
As much as I like to do training on my own, this winter I needed a training partner. I spent way to much time alone, inside on a tready listening to my ipod, watching sports center and trying to stay motivated as I hashed out intervals or long runs. The chronic darkness and cold outside really seemed to get to me as I just wanted a fun run in the sun with a friend.
This morning I had a 5km run test set and didn’t perform as I would have liked. This test just reiterated how frusterating running has been for me lately. Every time I strap on my running shoes it seems like I’m trying to keep an injury at bay and for the first time in my life, I wasn’t enjoying running. I really hate to show weakness, but I feel sometimes it’s important for others to know what goes on inside my head.
Now, it’s time to do whatever it takes to make running a priority. The summer is just around the corner and motivation, loneliness, weather, can’t get in the way of my goals. It’s time to get outside and start running like it matters. Even though Jon isn’t here training beside me, I know he and the other boys are busy training to beat me at the races this summer, and that is motivation I can take into my next workout!
Miss you Jon.