I have a confession of sorts to make. I am not a full time runner. Full contact, yes--I have had every injury you can get and still lace up my shoes every weekend for my LSD. Full time? Well, not yet.
I know, I know...the blog even has runner in the title, but it's true. How can this be? The truth is, I am much better at cycling than I am at running. Actually, it's not even close--I can out mountain bike my best run performances with ease in most cases when viewed in a macro sense. As if that wasn't bad enough, I love duathlons. Point of fact, there is a good chance that duathlons are my favorite thing to compete in next to fight sports and, as the years progress, it seems that they might take the number one position in relatively short order.
So for those of you keeping score at home, my top 10 list looks like this:
3. Mountain biking.
4. Everything else sports combatives.
5. Everything else cycling.
7-10. Whatever makes me better at the top six.
That list looks a little odd for a blog called Full Contact Runner, I know.
Let me explain.
It's like this: running is the sport I need the most improvement in, so the journey seems like it will be far more interesting to write about than any of the others I do. I could fight an amateur or pro boxing match with a few months of tune-up training, no problem; most likely win, too. Not much drama in that. Mountain biking? I will do okay. What I lack in horsepower, I make up for in mileage; I don't get tired on a mountain bike, just slower. That hardly seems blog worthy. Any variation thereof of the aforementioned sports, I am totally into--love wrestling, enjoy submission grappling, adore kickboxing, can't wait to do road rides, think cyclocross is epic, et cetera.
None of those are going to make for interesting topics because, quite frankly, it wouldn't take all that much for me to get better at them.
Running, on the other hand? Well, that's different. See, running used to be in that "7-10" heading on my top 10 list above, in that it was only there because. It supported my other favorites by making me better at them. I might not be in love with running, but I have a deep affection for cross training and running provided exactly that. You have to do your roadwork to be a fighter and a couple of runs in the off season of cycling helps keep your legs prepped for the vibrations of hard cross country riding. A little goes a long way when it comes to supplementing your "A" training with running. That's what I used it for and I respected it for that purpose, but not much else.
As I have mentioned previously, running is completely egalitarian in terms of who can do it; ergo, it made for some excellent cross training when it came time to do something other than box or ride. But these last couple of years have made me realize that running means more to me than I liked to admit. I pat myself on the back for being able to box or wrestle, and I love riding my bike with a sense of invincibility and fearlessness that only other cyclists can truly appreciate when they see it, but running doesn't lend itself to easy gains and immediate rewards. It takes work; in my case, lots of work. The ring-craft of fighting or the technical prowess of riding always seemed like skills to be admired, whereas running simply seemed like a byproduct of fitness.
I was wrong—running is most definitely a skill.
I won't win any of the races I have scheduled for 2016 if I don't make major improvements in my running. That's the bottom line. If I don't win any of my 2016 races, I don't qualify for my 2017 races; that casts a doubt on whether or not I get to do my dream races in 2018 and 2019. That's almost four years of not achieving my dreams and goals. Now that's drama. That's also why this blog isn't called Full Contact Cyclist or Full Contact Duathlete. I need to own my running this year, or it will own me. The only way I know how to do that is to go all in, just like a fight or a gnarly descent; no hesitation, full contact all the way.
Full Contact Runner.