Friday, July 3, 2009

A big decision to make...

Wow, it has been a WHILE since I wrote a running blog. And that's mostly because it's been a WHILE since I've gone running! I will say that after my 10k, I did do a 6 mile run the following Sunday, which just about did me in. I was so miserable and thirsty the whole run, and ended up walking about 8 minutes of a 70 minute run. Ugh.

When I got home from that run, I didn't feel very accomplished. When I first started running, and right up through my 5k's, whenever I ran, I would come home feeling like I'd really accomplished something. Even on days that I didn't really feel like running or when I had a tough run, I was always glad after I'd pushed myself to run. It was very...satisfying. But as you know, after my 5k's, I just couldn't seem to get back into the groove of running. I would take a few days off, more than 2 in a row sometimes, and each time I ran, it was a tough run. It didn't matter what the circumstances were, I struggled. And it was a much tougher battle with myself to get out to run in the first place, and to hit my goals each run. There were a couple of bright spots in there with good runs, but mostly, the longer distances I was running, the more miserable I was becoming.

Finally, the 10k was upon me, and you all know how that went. I realized last week that after my two 5k's, even though I was so tired and sore, I felt so invigorated and exicited. I felt like I'd really done something, accomplished something. But after my 10k, I was just glad to have it over. I'd wanted to skip out on doing it the whole four weeks leading up to it, but because I'd signed up already, I pushed myself to do it. And I didn't feel accomplished; I just felt relieved. And very, very tired.

Because I was so unhappy, I started to give my running some serious consideration over the last couple of weeks. I was on vacation, so I had a lot of time to really think about it. I talked to a few people, and I realized that I was really starting to hate running again. I dreaded pushing my mileage up instead of having that feeling of "cool, I can now run x miles." I even dreaded the "shorter" runs, which to me, still felt so long and exhausting. I started to think that I couldn't carve out that kind of time in my schedule or deal with the humidity, all just excuses to put off running. In short, I was done.

So I had to make a decision - continue to train for the LBI 18-mile race or content myself with being a 5k-ish runner? I knew that physically, I could probably get myself in shape to do 18 miles in October, but that mentally, it might destroy me to do it, and I'd probably never run again after that. But I also had the internal battle of having put the LBI race and running a marathon on my life goals list. Also, I had told a lot of people of my plan to run the 18 mile race - would I be letting them down? It finally came down to a question of what would make me happy. And the answer was to put off the LBI race for at least a year, and instead focus on really learning to love running and to make it a part of my life permanently.

Let me tell you, what a relief it was to come to that decision!

I talked to a few people and they all agreed with me, which made me feel a lot better. A friend reminded me that just because I won't be running the LBI race this year, doesn't mean I can't do it in the future. Even my coach said "Good for you." So that settled it, and now I'm starting to feel excited about getting back to running again. I've decided to go back to the three-day a week schedule (because 4 days was just too much to wrap my brain around), to run 2-4 miles at a time, and get myself to the Ocean Running Club's Summer Series - of which I missed week 1 last week thanks to a migraine.
So the next hurdle was actually starting to run again. I've been away from running for almost two weeks, and in between my 10k and the 6 mile Sunday run, I'd only run for about 10 minutes maybe. I've run about 14 miles in the last 3 weeks, most of that in two runs. I knew I just had to get out there once, see where my body was, and not beat myself up too much about what I've lost. After all, now that I'm not training for a long distance race (though I plan to keep up with 5k's), I don't have to panic if I'm not in top form!

With it being so humid lately, I figured I'd start out with an easy 1-mile run today, follow that up with 2 miles on Sunday, and then head to the ORC summer series 5k on Tuesday night. I really wanted to run about a mile and a half today, but it was pretty humid (since I didn't make myself get up early on my day off or anything!), so I didn't push myself too hard. The important thing was to get back out there. I ran about 0.9 miles in 10 minutes (about an 11:06 pace) and I think it's a good start. I think if I can get myself to keep a consistent schedule, even in these hot, humid summer months, my running will really start to blossom in the fall.
So I plan to be back to my regularly scheduled blogging, and I hope that the shorter runs will do their job of keeping me healthy and lowering my stress, as well as reminding me of how I fell in love with running a couple of months ago. Tomorrow, I'll be celebrating the Fourth of July with friends and family, and especially thinking about our troops, and the sacrifices they've made and are making to give us the freedom we celebrate tomorrow. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July, and if you see a service member, remember to thank them!

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