A few months ago, I had had enough with running.
I was “training” for a 10K after coming off of training for a triathlon, and I was sick and tired of running.
Looking back, I realized that I wasn’t really running that race for myself. I wasn’t trying to beat my own time, I wasn’t trying to push my own limits for my own personal gain… I was running for all of the wrong reasons. I wanted to beat someone else. I know, I KNOW, how immature of me, right? I wanted to prove a point and beat someone else who I wanted NOTHING MORE than to beat at the finish line.
And you know what? I beat them. I crushed their time by almost 30 minutes. And to this day, I still revel in that fact.
But you know what else? I hated training for that race. I hated running altogether. I was burnt out and just done, done, done. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever want to run again. I literally had to take an extra hour out of my day to weigh the pros and cons of running for that day. It was miserable.
I took a few weeks off from running. I didn’t think about it, I didn’t even attempt it. I stored running in a far, back corner of my mind and kept it there. The best feeling ever was when running decided to make it’s way from that dark corner of my mind to the forefront and make itself known. “Go for a run, you lazy ass” it said and tugged on my every waking thought. I would see other people running and envy their overflow of endorphins, their sore lungs, the rhythmic pounding of their shoes on the pavement. I craved it. So a few weeks later, I laced up my shoes and ran. For no one but myself.
And you know what? (this story is so predictable) I LOVED IT.
I signed up for my first half marathon.
I signed up for another 10K.
A 200-mile relay.
My first 7K.
Almost signed up for ANOTHER 13.1 except it’s the weekend before the 200-mile relay and I feel like I’d regret that come June.
I ran in Europe: Amsterdam and London.
And I’m trying to figure out how to drive to the West Coast and run in every state along the way.
I’m kind of nervous, though. What if my burnout wasn’t because I was being an immature little brat and wanted to beat someone else? We studied burn out in one of my sport psych classes, and there’s actually a really predictable pattern (I’d have to dig out my notes to recall the actual pattern) that training schedules for professional athletes actually follow somewhat loosely. I’m scared that I’m going to delve too deeply into my current obsession with running and before I can even get to the bulk of most of my races, I’m going to burn out and resist running like the plague.
I’ve been much more lenient with my training plans. I follow the plan as best I can, focusing mostly on getting my long runs in, and skipping my recovery runs when I just don’t feel like running. For me personally, I find that forcing myself to run is counterproductive. I’ll usually have a shitty run and then hate running for a week. For the most part, I love running so it doesn’t take much to just get out the door and do it- so I know when my mind and body just needs a day or two off.
I’ve turned to audiobooks which has been AMAZING. For the 10K last Sunday, I ran to music because the audiobooks don’t amp me up, they actually calm me down which lets me finish my long runs of 7+ miles or more without wanting to cry of boredom. I’m sure one day I’m going to get sick of running to a man’s voice narrating a story to me, but I like the change-up for now, and once I get sick of it, I’ll train to music again. I’m excited for the variety.
I refuse to run the same route twice in a row. I found that running the same route made me DREAD running even more. The minute I started taking new routes, I was instantly more excited to run. Mapmyrun.com is the best.
I’m not even going to lie. I’m REALLY scared about this half. I think that maybe my training runs have been fueled by fear. I’m also really nervous for Ragnar. Our team is full of REAL runners. Sure, I’m a runner but I still feel like I’m not real. What I mean by REAL runners is that they’re sub 7 minute mile runners. I’ve made it perfectly clear that I’ll be lucky if I break sub-10 at that point. We’re talking major hills in the middle of a June day (HOT!) for 24 hours. The hills at the 10K this past weekend had me running at a SLOWER than usual pace of anywhere between 10-9:45 pace. We finished in under an hour, but there was an issue with the official clock at the race, so I’m still not sure what the hell ended up happening with our time, but it was a difficult course. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the course, and I love a good set of hills, but if this poor Ragnar team wants to get any sort of place award, they better have me running the shortest and easiest legs. With that being said, my training for Ragnar is DEFINITELY fueled by fear because if I fuck up the half, I’m not letting any body else down buy myself. Ragnar? I’m letting down 11+ people. YIKES!
Nevertheless, I’m in LOVE with running right now. Even though I pretty much just made it sound like I’m training for other people because I’m scared to let them down, the people on the Ragnar team are great, so I want to prove MYSELF for MYSELF. When they asked me to be on their team, I told them ahead of time that I’m not fast, and they didn’t care. I guess I am a RUNNER because they asked me to join their team =) You wouldn’t ask a non-runner to be on a 200-mile relay team =)
I hope I can stay on my running high for these next couple of months.
After this summer, FULL MARATHON TRAINING will be in full swing– Stephen and I are planning to run Disney next January.