I’m generally a cheerful person. By disposition, I’m perky and enthusiastic about most things and I’m nearly always perky and enthusiastic about running. So the past month or two has been a bit of a shock…because I have been very unenthusiastic about running lately. VERY unenthusiastic.
I feel the need to chip in before I say any more and make a disclaimer. I’m aware that this is such a ridiculously first world problem that I’m a little uncomfy even talking about it. I’m not in Syria. My family and I are healthy, housed, happy, fed…I have nothing at all to complain about. But sometimes running bloggers can make it seem as if running is always sparkles and unicorns. Sometimes I do that. But sometimes running is just not fun and it would be disingenuous to pretend that it is.
I haven’t loved running since Healdsburg. I loved training for Healdsburg, I loved the race weekend. But the race itself took some wind out of my sails. I missed my goal, I didn’t race well and I was disappointed. And since then, the running stars haven’t quite aligned.
I’ve been poorly pretty much all the time since then. Nothing serious at ALL, just cold after cough after cold after cough.I’ve had two stinking coughs that have lingered and lingered. I blame my adorable but germ-infested preschoolers. But I’ve not been able to stay healthy for more than a week or two at the most since mid October. And on those healthy weeks, I’ve had my period so I’ve been swollen, sore and uncomfortable. Because of this, I’ve been unable to string together any weeks of solid training. I’d have a great week and I’d run all the miles and then the next week I’d be wiped out by some preschool germs and I’d be doing 10 slow miles as my weekly total, feeling rough!
On top of that, I’ve been eating too much so I’m several pounds above my happy weight. When you’re 5’1, that’s quite a big deal. So I’ve been feeling fat and ugly on top of unhealthy.
Because of the lack of consistent training and the extra pounds, running has never been comfortable. It’s always hard work and a long slog. I’ve been using RunCoach which I’ve been really enjoying for the structure and the variety of workouts…but I’ve failed to hit all my goal paces. And that, time after time, is depressing.
It came to a crunch last week. My most recent cough and cold wiped me out for three days, it was brutal and I did no running at all. On Thursday, I headed out for an hour. I had been running for about three minutes when I just ground to a halt and stood there on the Bay Trail. I literally just stood there for three or four minutes, debating internally what to do. I didn’t want to run. I wanted to go and sit on the sofa. I pulled myself together and started running again…and then just stopped again. NO desire to run. In the end, I ran three miles and I’m ridiculously proud of those miles because every inch was mind over matter.
I got home and discussed this with my running ladies. Jen suggested I take a break from running for a while, which is great advice. But as I reflected on it further, I realized I don’t want to take a break from running…I want to LOVE running again. I love riding my bike but no other form of exercise thrills me like running and no other exercise fits into my life as easily as running. I just want to love it again.
So I’m on a mission to fall in love with running again. And these are the things I’ve implemented to make that happen.
- Remove all the pressure.
The first thing I did was put my RunCoach membership on hold. I’ve been impressed so far and I want to use it to train hard but I’m not consistently healthy enough to do that. So I froze my membership. Immediately I felt relieved, like the pressure was off. I love goal paces and goal workouts but that’s not helping me at the moment.
I have also have scrapped any expectation for the Kaiser 5k. A PR is hugely unlikely now. So I’ll concentrate on getting healthy and getting three weeks of consistent running under my belt and then I’ll race it as hard as I can on the day and be grateful for the fun.
This week, I spent a small fortune on vitamins. A good multivitamin, some iron tablets and omega tablets. I find the whole vitamin thing confusing but clearly my immune system isn’t the best right now and I want to build it up.
I’ve addressed my diet, cut out some (not all) of the cake and I’ve started losing those Christmas pounds. Two pounds down.
The trails are the easiest way to add joy to running and I’ve managed to run trails twice in the past two weeks. The first time, I ran Edgewood one afternoon and then this past Saturday I dragged Lisa and Eden to Wunderlich for some dawn running. The trails were wet both times from the recent storms. Trees were down, the trails had rivulets of water running down them, there was plentiful mud. Both times, the hills humbled me and reminded me of the extra weight, the lack of training, the germiness…but the endorphins made it totally worthwhile. I have a goal of 250 miles on trails this year and it’s lovely working towards it!
So that’s where I am right now. I’m hoping to string together three or four weeks of solid easy running, 25-odd miles a week, no speed work and hopefully four weeks of better health. Not much to ask, eh?
Running isn’t always sparkles and unicorns…but hopefully I can find a little glitter again.