You are looking at one sorry ass excuse for a runner.
"How the mighty have fallen" plays on repeat in my mind.
I hate it. I really do.
I thought this type of post would be an important part of a running blog. The conversation where you really don't like running anymore and wonder if you'll like it again. I would hope every runner goes through this battle, at least once in their career. Here's mine.
Sometime after the Half Marathon, I stopped loving to run. The multitude of factors squeezed into the last month include:
-the stomach flu knocking me on my ass and the mental game I had to play to run the Half anyway
-the aftermath of the above, including not being able to eat properly for at least three days following the Half
-no longer having a goal once April 10th came and went
-taking the week off and feeling laziness creep in
-two shitty runs after that week off
-a disappointing 5K
-a 2.5 week break due to my vacation and then more laziness
-all the other various stressors in life: getting a new job last week, wrapping things up at my current job, an awful stomach sickening family crisis...
Tuesday I went for my first run in two and a half weeks to get my mind off the family stuff, and it actually felt great! My body felt strong and I did 4 miles at a good pace. But today I had yet another shitty run. I *only ran 3 miles, but I was so tired and it felt like a struggle the whole way. My pace was identical to Tuesday's.
I know I can't base my entire opinion of the sport on one lousy run, but it's hard to keep shoving myself out there when I've been dealing with so much stress. Not just life stress, but running stress most of all. It's as if I'm suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from the whole flu/Half ordeal. Is that even possible? The funny thing is that the Half wasn't even bad...it was quite lovely in fact. But maybe I was suppressing certain emotions under the surface, I don't know.
One bullet point I failed to mention above--and I dare say a key component to my dying love affair with running--goes as follows. I've mentioned this runner "friend" before, but in a nutshell: A girl my age, my size, started running this past Dec/Jan, can now run just as far (completed her first Half as well) but much MUCH faster. Now we're all different. We all have completely varying histories when it comes to personal records and paths we forge in our running careers. However, this is the type of runner who fully admits she'll "take it easy," but can still run sub eight minute miles, like it's a piece of cake. This is all after a mere four months of training. And not knock-down drag-out training either. Avg 15-20 miles a week. I'm completely absolutely CHALLENGED to run sub NINES. Even at my peak, when I was able to complete a 5K in 25:30, it was HARD. It wasn't easy breezy. I literally cannot wrap my mind around it.
Ok I digress. Like I said before, we're all different and some people are just naturals while others have to work very very hard to even get anywhere. That's life. Life's not fair. IN FACT. Somewhere, someone reading my OWN story could say the same thing about the two of us. Perhaps this runner works her ass off, has been running for three years, averages 30-40 miles a day, and I still beat her Half Marathon time. It's possible, and it's food for thought.
At the end of the day, what does the top of my blog say??
"It doesn't matter how many people have tried it before; it's important to realize that whatever you're doing - it's your first attempt at it."
In any case, with the stressors and disappointments and frustrations swirling around in my brain since the Half, I was destined to come to this point. I lead myself here and I'm the only one that can get myself out. For one, I'm FAR too deep inside my head. Running is like 80% mental. It's impossible for my physical body to break down THAT much in just two weeks, and actually my pace has been right on target to what I usually do. It's the mental part that has broken down. My mind is playing tricks on me, I'm doubting my abilities, and I'm far too focused on other people. Therefore that 80% of running is currently a complete failure.
No wonder I hate running.
So it's time to change. It will be a complete overhaul of the way I go about running and I'm going to need some help from somewhere. Some kind of inspiration and a different desire/motivation than what I've used in the past. Competition with myself is healthy to an extent. Competition with others, good in moderation. But neither can represent the Be All End All. I have to find a better reason to run: a reason I believe in and a reason that is healthy for my mind.
The first step in my overhaul will be to quit DailyMile. I started an account there a month or so into my Half training, and was actually pretty wary about it. I already keep my mileage logged on MapMyRun, and DailyMile is like the Facebook of running. In one way it can encourage you to keep up with your fellow runners. But keeping up out of spite rather than to simply push yourself? Ugh no thanks. When this turns into a sickness like it did for me, that's just not a great road to wander down. CLEARLY thousands of "normal" people can endure the social pressures just fine! (Do I have enough friends? Did so-and-so beat my 5K? Did I get enough comments on my last workout?) Clearly I cannot. I think I work better when I triumph alone. This is NO cut on the handful of people who read/comment on this blog, however. It's more personal here for some reason. Probably because of the people who actually take the time to read my 5000 word essays in which I basically just whine and rant! They must care! ;)
To conclude this whiny 5000 word essay, my only hope is that there's someone else out there just like me, going through some kind of slump...who may stumble upon this giant nugget of poop and feel not so alone in their own swirling pool.
For now, I guess I'll keep running...