“The only one who can tell you you can’t is you. And you don’t have to listen.”
For the last month or so I have really been struggling with my running. Not only have I felt unmotivated but my pace has been the slowest these last few weeks that it has been in well over a year. Getting out of bed has been rough. The thing about this that has frustrated me the most is that I am training for the BOSTON marathon, the marathon of all marathons, and I am having the worst time training that I have had possibly ever. I have waited years for this. This running rut has truly crushed my spirit.
I have racked my brain trying to figure out why this is happening. Two weeks ago I got a very bad chest cold that turned into bronchitis so that didn’t help. But if I’m being truthful with myself, it started before then. I would definitely say that this cold and dreary weather has not helped at all. It has been a rough winter. Still I wanted to find out what I could change to get back to the old me. I tried to eat better, but then I didn’t really eat enough and I was running out of energy. I tried my old running shoes because I thought maybe my Saucony Rides were more worn than I thought. I downloaded a few new songs that I thought would do the trick. Then I thought the Hot Chocolate Race would energize me. Nothing seemed to work. I put a lot of pressure on myself I know, it’s just that running is MY thing. It’s something I can usually count on being good at. It’s the one thing I do that is just for me, and it honestly has surprised me that I have felt like this.
For as long as I can remember I have been extremely strict on myself when it comes to exercise. I ran through three pregnancies and have rarely taken a break. I have worked so hard to get to this marathon and this week I haven’t even wanted to go run. So this morning I got up (dreadfully, but I did) and started getting ready for my 20 mile training run. First I couldn’t find my socks, then my headphones were missing. After waking up my husband to try to get some help finding them (I’m sure he loved that at 4:45a.m.), I found a pair in such a knot that I gave up on detangling them. Finally I found another pair outside in my husband’s glove compartment. When I came back in to get my gloves and my water, I stood in the kitchen and tried to motivate myself. Then I thought about all of the things that have been going on the last month. I started a new job, I was sick, recovered from the holidays, had to sell a car, and we have had multiple extended family members dealing with complicated health issues. Then there are the things that are always there, you know like 4 kids, a dog, bills, a house, basketball, homework, laundry, and so on. Then I thought to myself, that really is a lot of stuff. So it hit me, I realized that I am actually the problem. The problem is me and that I need to cut myself some slack and realize that we all get overwhelmed and we all get tired and worn out, both physically and mentally. It’s ok to slow down or even take a break, that doesn’t mean you are giving up. I may try to be a super woman and a super mom like many of us do, but the truth is that I am just like everyone else and I am after all, only human. I decided to just go run, and if it was my worst pace in years I would at least finish the 20 miles. Just run I said to myself, who cares what the pace on the Nike app says? Then the craziest thing happened. My run went so well that I decided to do 21 miles instead. It was my best pace in over a month, and I actually enjoyed it. I haven’t felt that good after a run in a while, and I needed that today. It was as if the pressure was gone and the weight I placed on myself had lifted. I realized that there isn’t really anything wrong with me and that I had not lost the power of my run. I was me out there again.
I have worked for years and ran thousands and thousands of miles to get to Boston. (Actually over 12,000 in the last 5 years alone, but who’s counting?!?) I assumed I would breeze through this training and spring out of bed every morning. So feeling this way caught me so off guard that I never stopped to realize how much time and energy it really took to get here. Sometimes we all just need to cut ourselves some slack.
To get me through the rest if this training I am setting small goals and rewards for myself. Nike has some pretty fabulous colors in their running shorts this year. So after my next 22 mile training run, I am splurging on some new running shorts for the spring weather that I so badly want after this long, cold, gray winter. It is the little things I find that help with motivation. Shopping is definitely top of my list of motivators.
So if you have set goals or New Year’s Resolutions and things haven’t gone exactly as planned, don’t give up. After all, none of us are perfect. We are all only human…..and I am ok with that.