For as long as I can remember, I told people "I can't run." But in March of 2009, I decided that this was no longer an option. From my first 5K to my second half marathon, I've endured my highest highs and lowest lows as an official Runner. This year I want to embrace running for something beyond times and distances.

Running is so much more than merely getting out there. I want to get out there and love it.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I want to quit running.

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 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??
Altogether now!!!!
"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...


  1. GUH! This is sooo where I'm at with my weight loss! As I whined about to Tim the other day - the way I'm eating (SlimFast) and how much I'm working out is the lifestyle I had our wedding year, when I was 10lbs less! Yet, the scale WILL NOT MOVE. It's like now this is my new "ideal" weight. The best I can hope for and that BLOWS! Cuz even my "ideal weight" (wedding/drum corps) in the world, I'm still a *big girl*, but knowing how hard I had to work in corps and for the wedding to look that way, I know that's the best *I can be. But now, that's 10lbs plus? I see flab on my belly, and saddlebags and I just curse -"WHY WON'T YOU GO AWAY?" I can feel my abs of steel when I do sit-ups, yet I don't see them. My legs ache with every step, yet I have thunder thighs. I want to give up - but on the good side, the thought OF giving up, and no longer caring what I eat or working out sickens me and I know I can't turn back now.
    SOOOO to not make this entire comment all about MY whininess - you should adapt that thinking to your running. Like you've come SO far, you can't turn back now! Yes, your Half was the top of the mountain, so to speak...but you should look at running as "who you are" - it's a hobby, it's what you do for enjoyment. You have to find a way for this to be like your golf game, or your musical instrument. When you pick up that club, when you warm up that horn, when your foot hits the pavement - it's you, it's who you are and it's what you do!

  2. "Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it's very important that you do it." -Ghandi.
    Remember this quote, from the movie "Remember Me"??! :)

  3. Well, imagine me taking up running and no matter how hard I worked, always being in the 99th percentile, and able to go no further than 8K, and having to be happy when I managed to break 10 min. miles. But I always had only one incentive and it was that running was good for my health, so I just had to find a way to do it on a regular basis. No pressure regarding speed or distance or ranking. Just go and do the thing. Now that I had to quit and switch to the elliptical, it's exactly the same deal.

    I'm wondering if it would help at all to lower your expectations/standards (I definitely agree that quitting DailyMile is wise). The prize in the long haul is exactly that: the long haul. I mean, the real accomplishment is just slagging through year after year on a regular basis that keeps you reasonably fit. If you have a good race, that's gravy. If you go extra fast or far, ditto. But if you just feel meh about running or truly don't want to, and do it anyway, you are a champion! And bottom line, the most important thing is that you are prolonging your good health and life. That's really what it's all about.

    My two, cents....

  4. Just wanted you to know that I was here and reading... I feel for you!!!

    I think my only saving grace after my first half is that I was stupid enough to sign up for another one before I even knew if I could do the first... then when I wanted to stop running after the half was over I knew I couldn't because I had another race coming up. If you still think you might want to...maybe you just need another fun goal to work towards?

  5. I was facing the same burn out before I left on my trip. Maybe do something else for awhile or focus on shorter distances? After more than a year on the half marathon train, I´m finally admitting to myself that I hate 12 mile training runs with a loathesome hate.

  6. Monica: I totally teared up at the last statement: "it's you, it's who you are and it's what you do!" Half because I feel like I don't deserve that statement (because I've been such a shoddy runner lately) but half because I feel like I DO deserve it (because of all the work I HAVE put in!) As for your own situation, I can honestly say that this is a frustration EVERYONE trying to lose weight suffers. So you're definitely not alone. I mean I know you don't watch Biggest Loser (reality TV!) but they always come to a point where they're working their ass off every day ALL day and just don't lose weight. Part of it has a lot to do with the muscle gain which weighs more than fat, but part of it is just that the human body is totally unpredictable. Just focus on the part where underneath you are becoming stronger and stronger AND healthier, and that's what matters most!

    Tina: LOVE THAT QUOTE!! I remember that!!!

    Mom: I DO need to focus more on the health aspect. I'm very VERY lucky that it's not about weight loss, as it is for so many people. So in that respect, I don't necessarily see the "health benefits" like someone does who runs to lose weight. But if I keep it up, I WILL thank myself 20 years from now when my metabolism is much faster than a typical 50 year old!

    Steph: I signed up for another Half in September but I think because it feels so far away, I'm not thinking about it. TURNS OUT it's "only" 17 weeks away...those will fly by before I know it! I'm going to try and think about different kinds of fun goals. Maybe even cross training goals like taking yoga classes or something and finishing a program. PS Thanks so much for reading AND commenting :) You're the best!

    Jason: Like I told Steph, I think that's a great idea. Mix in something completely different than running so I don't get burned out again. What's hilarious is that I kinda miss the long distance training runs! It's these 3-4 miles that I'm having trouble with perhaps because on long distance runs, you don't have to go too fast...just take it easy for an hour or two ;)

    THANKS EVERYONE for your advice!!!!!! You guys really helped me out and there aren't enough words to say how much I appreciate that!

  7. Take a few weeks off...and after the words of Beth...shut up and run.

    But I hear a way. Do I envy those with natural ability? Sort of...but I like to think that nothing good comes easy. I want to make my own hell with what everyone else is doing.

    It's like that bible story...don't ask me where it is or anything...but it goes something like..
    A poor broad gave her last two cents to the church..or whatever....and a rich guy gave 100 bucks..or whatever to the you tell me....who gave more?

    If all you EVER are is the poor broad...and this 'girl' is the rich don't matter. If you're doing the best you can do...then that there is plenty.

  8. Lady you always know how to motivate me. Give me some Bible story and I'm there ;) Honestly though "to hell with what everyone else is doing" is something I've gotta tattoo to my eyeballs. I didn't care for SO LONG and then suddenly it just crept up on me.

    Anyway, this morning I shut up and ran :) I didn't bring my watch. I ran a random route. I liked it. And most importantly I felt SO great that I had already ran for the day.

    At the end of the day I gotta make that poor broad look good right? right.

  9. Hey...just stumbled upon your blog. After I did my first half I took a few months "off" and really only went on 3 mile runs regularly. If I was feeling adventurous I'd do 5 miles.

    After a few months of that I realized I missed training and started up again. I think it's normal after your first half to want/need a break.

    I'm still surprised at how motivating the blogging community has been for me. Daily Mile sounds not too personal, and I don't think I'll be joining that anytime soon.

  10. Just remember why you started running..with your step dad...

    I have so been there and you are right..its a mental game. Keep at it. Dont give up

  11. Thanks to you two as well! I agree...the blogging community feels much more motivating than DM. Which seems odd because many DM people you can actually meet in person in your own town. It's strange and I haven't wrapped my head around it yet ;)

    I definitely had to concur the mental game and what I'm starting to realize is that part of concurring your mind is not thinking at all! If that makes sense ;)