Sometimes running sucks.

Normally, I’m a sunny kind of girl by nature, so please forgive a less upbeat post once in a while. Because I have a confession to make.

I am NOT loving running at the moment.

I am not actually even LIKING running at the moment.

I LOVED running with my friends in Pleasanton last week. I loved running with my boys the other weekend. But apart from that, running has been pretty dreadful over the past few weeks. The past four or five runs I’ve done on my own have been grim from start to finish. Every footstep has felt like hard work, and I’ve had to really talk sternly to myself to finish it properly. Not a single solo run has been remotely pleasurable for a few weeks now.

I do not feel like this when running at present
I do not feel like this when running at present

I know that, since Kaiser in February, as my amount of free time has diminished, my running has stepped back considerably. I’ve gone from running 5 times per week to running 3 times per week, and clearly that has had an effect. I get that.

Being honest, I’m still eating like I’m training hard, and I’ve put a few pounds on. According to the scale, it’s only 3 pounds, which I appreciate is NOTHING, but when you’re short, it’s actually quite a lot. My waist feels thicker. My bottom feels wider and I feel like the front of my torso is flabby and soft. A lot of it is stretched skin from when I carried an enormous child…but a lot of it is simply flab.

You do not carry a forward-facing child for 9 months and end up with taut skin
You do not carry a forward-facing child for 9 months and end up with taut skin

 

When you put together some additional weight and less overall running, you end up with just blerch! When I run, I feel heavy, slow and uncomfortable. It’s just hard work. Nothing feels smooth. I do not enjoy running, right now.

But I WANT to enjoy it. I keep thinking back to a race I did on Angel Island last April (ie. 2014) which is the last time I think I felt awesome when running. I was fit. I was (relatively) agile and (relatively) good at hills due to consistent training on hilly trails at Edgewood. I remember flying down the trails feeling like Emelie Forsberg and just grinning inside like a crazy girl.

Lots of joy that day
Lots of joy that day

I have had good runs since then, MANY of them, but I keep thinking back to that moment and wishing I could have it back.

I’m hoping that you might appreciate a bit of honesty instead of me being all ‘Running Bloggery’ and saying ‘Ooh, running is always rainbows and sunshine’  Sometimes, running is awesome and sometimes, it isn’t.  At the moment, for me, it isn’t!

So this is what I am going to do about it.

1) Accept that there are good weeks running and bad weeks running and just suck it up!

2) Clean up my diet. Again.

3) I’m cutting out alcohol for the month of June apart from a wedding party on the 20th where there might be champagne. I never turn down champagne, on principle.

This girl also does not knowingly turn down champagne
This girl also does not knowingly turn down champagne

 

4) I’m actually considering reintroducing some meat into my diet. I have been vegetarian for two years now (with some fish, so officially pescetarian) but lately my tummy’s been not right and I just don’t feel awesome. I’m not ill (don’t panic Mum if you read this) but something isn’t right and maybe I just need a bit of steak. I’m LOATHE to do this, I really love being vegetarian, I LOVE vegetarian food and meat no longer appeals to me…but I’ve lately been wondering if my lentils, nuts, greek yoghurt, black beans and protein powdered smoothies just aren’t cutting it. (Any thoughts, guys?)

5) I’m going to cycle more, as you know, and hope that taking the pressure off running as my ‘only sport’ might help.

6) I’m going to keep running because I’m committed to it but I’m going to run without a watch for the rest of June. EEEK….even writing that makes me shiver inside.

7) I’m going to TRY to get to the trails a little more often. Due to my schedule, this isn’t easy but the trails are usually an injection of joy into my running even when I’m not suffering from Loss Of Mojo.

How can this not bring joy?
How can this not bring joy?

8) I’m going to go hunting for my abs. They are there somewhere. I want them back.

Abs.
Abs. Source

I’m unlikely to get those abs, so I think the following pic basically sums up my current abs and the abs I’m after.

After: before
After: before. Source

At the end of this potentially miserable, First-World-Problemy post…anyone got any experience of losing the joy of running, and how did you get it back?? Thanks :).

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Ju says:

    it is nice to know it is hard for you, since you always seem to glide around! Keep in there girl! xxox

    1. Cathryn says:

      Bless you – I don’t think I’ve ever glided, but I appreciate the love x

  2. erin says:

    Ah, hang in there sister. We all have these times. You’ll get through it. And coming from another vegetarian…talk to your GP. If you don’t want to eat meat, and it sounds like you don’t, ask to get your iron and ferritin levels checked out. If your runs have been feeling like ass, your counts might be low. It’s fairly easy to rectify, if I’m not mistaken. Hang in there!!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Good suggestion, thanks. I’ve wondered about iron levels too. Might try that before I munch into a cow.

  3. I wonder if biking more might help you. Honestly if you’re kind of hating running right now, forcing yourself to do it is probably NOT going to cause you to suddenly start enjoying it again. But, biking will let you still get your exercise in. And who knows, maybe if you take a couple weeks off from running to do other activities you might start to miss running & be excited to do it again!

    I think for most of us it’s normal that time for/excitement about running ebbs & flows over the course of life. I have faith that it will come back. 🙂

    1. Cathryn says:

      I agree – things go in ‘seasons’. I’m going to focus on cycling and use running as a way of getting fit for the big bike ride, I wonder if changing running’s purpose (and taking pressure of it) might help! The love of running will def come back.

  4. Rachel says:

    You’ve achieved so very much study wise, I guess it may take energy away from other things for a wee while. Your plan sounds goodly to me (you’ll be shocked to hear I’ve never run with a watch, maybe I should try June with a watch!)

    The iron thing – I find it helps, I take Spatone liquid iron (milder on the stomach). If I’ve not taken any for a week I can really tell running. I haven’t eaten red meat since the 80s and came to the conclusion only recently, even with a healthy diet, for me iron is tricky. Because of ill-health last year iron levels were tested, they were just ok, so technically no need for extra but the gp advised taking at low levels and it made a big difference. I also have a piece of 85% choc most days, I don’t care if it’s a placebo, I’m on it!

    Also I find running like Phoebe and cantering like Miranda always helps, always. x

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thank you so much for the Spatone suggestion. Iron is definitely a possibility, I will look into this!

      1. Susie M says:

        +1 for the Spatone! I was veggie for five years and now eat some meat, but not much, and I have a couple of sachets of Spatone a week. I can tell if I forget to take it as I start to get lethargic again. It is gentle on the stomach and if you sneak it into a little orange juice you can’t taste it.

      2. Cathryn says:

        Thanks so much for the recommendation. I’m ordering it today. My veggie neighbour also reminded me about Vit B12 which i’ve completely ignored, so I think some vitamins might help.

  5. Jen says:

    I agree with Angela – if you’re not loving running right now, don’t force yourself! And if you do choose to run, don’t worry about distance (i.e., “only runs longer than 4 miles ‘count'”). Just go out for as little or as much as you feel like. Exploring new routes might be helpful too, and running without a watch is a great idea (brave girl!).

    1. Cathryn says:

      Hehe…I haven’t quite had the guts to run without a watch yet!!

  6. bt says:

    I’m with the mix it up crew re: running. Your hobbies shouldn’t be too unpleasant. I find that when I’m not in a running mood, just getting out the door and walking some miles, hiking, or riding the recumbant bike in the gym while reading are all good substitutes that keep me active but are infinitely more pleasant. On the meat issue, anecdotally, I know several folks who went vegan/pescatarian for a few years and found that they felt better if they periodically added intermittent red meat after a few years to avoid feeling sluggish. The explanations given were B12 and iron, but I don’t think there was much confirmed behind this theory, it was just that these folks found they felt better.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Yes, hobbies shouldn’t be unpleasant. Totally agree with all you said.

      Thank you also for the suggestion of intermittently adding red meat. I could handle the odd bit if it helped. Rachel suggested liquid iron, I’m going to try that first but I appreciate the suggestion.

  7. Nic J says:

    When my ‘mojo’ left, I found inspiration from a running blog written by an ex-pat friend living in California – it definitely helped! There’s a tonne of great advice here, all stuff I was going to throw in. It could be worth getting some iron and other tests done around vitamin and mineral levels. Meat is a good source of iron, but there are plenty of other sources that are richer, so that may not be the answer. Having said that, could be worth a try, in which case, do it in small amounts, and go for the highest quality, most organic and farm-friendly meat you can find. You can’t move around here for ethically raised, farm based food, and you can definitely tell the difference between a decent egg/bacon/steak/whatever and the intensely farmed supermarket stuff where you get 4 fillets for £1… We’re omnivores, so we are ‘built’ to eat meat – just be very selective over what you go for!
    Any chance you can try the running club idea again – either already organised, or a Women’s Network type of thing? Could be an option. Or maybe it’s just time for a rest – nothing wrong with that, provided, of course, you knock back the cake! I may have fallen into the same trap there – an additional 3lbs has crept on since I stopped my half marathon training! Still, it’s Sunday morning, the sky is blue, K is still in bed, so time to just head out and enjoy! Once I get out of my pj’s…
    PS – I love the fact I made it into this blog post – I love that photo!! And folks, the caption is 100% true…

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thanks for the sweet comment and the suggestions as well. If I do intrduce some meat, I’ll definitely be more choosy about what I buy, but I’m going to try some iron supplements first!

  8. dlubi says:

    Do whatever activity makes you smile and makes you feel good! I agree with everyone’s comments about not forcing the running and also mixing up the activities for sure. Cycling is a really great way to get out and appreciate the beautiful places where we live, and any activity on a trail is also awesome for inspiration! When you feel like running – get out there, have fun, and, no matter how the legs feel, be sure to smile every mile (instantly makes me feel better every time)! Think about your exciting new goals and the fun challenges ahead (century ride!!!)! Your new plan of mixing in cycling will actually make you run faster and stronger in the long run! (literally) 🙂

    ps – So sorry for the late reply here… been really under the weather on and off for the last week! Just catching up on all my favorite blogs now!

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