Losing Myself and My Joy

I’ve been off the grid lately. To be honest, I’ve felt some blues the past few months. I haven’t been sleeping well and have been stressed and lonely thanks to a variety of things, including Josh having to work pretty much seven days/week up to 15 hours/day. That is no fun for anyone. A combination of factors that leads me not wanting to blog at all. After all who wants to read complaints?

Over the past several weeks I’ve taken a few steps to help myself feel like myself again, including getting rid of my Mirena. Did you know that side effects include weight gain, depression, acne, and ovarian cysts, among others? That might explain this solid 10 lbs that I cannot explain how I gained and cannot lose no matter what I do. Which has done nothing for my self confidence. It may also help explain these blues. Lucky me, I also got a tennis ball sized ovarian cyst that ruptured a few weeks ago. I apparently have a really high pain tolerance because I just thought my IUD had moved. Not so much. Side note: DO NOT run a half marathon a week after your cyst ruptures. It’s a horrible idea. More on that later.

I also saw my family doctor who prescribed me something to help me sleep. Some nights I wasn’t falling asleep until 2-3 am. Other nights, I’d fall asleep but wake up around 1 am and not be able to go back to sleep for hours. I had forgotten what a good night’s sleep was. Now I’m finally sleeping well again. I wake up and I’m a better mom. In a better mood and have more energy, not to mention more patience.

All of these emotional and physical things have definitely started to effect my running. Even before Boston, I started feeling like running is a job. It’s something I have to do, not something I want to do. There is no joy for me in it right now and hasn’t been in at least six months. My training for Boston was really hard. I didn’t want to do it. I had worked so hard to get there and then, I just struggled.

I have all these thoughts and concerns going through my head as I put off runs as long as I can before I make myself trudge out the door. I have to continue racing. I have to continue doing speed work here and there. I have to maintain my reputation as a ‘fast’ runner within our running group or among my loved ones. What will happen if I stop running? Will I ever be able to regain my speed again? Have I peaked? Will I have a great race again?

I don’t have the answers to these questions and I am sick of them causing anxiety. I don’t know if I will ever set another marathon PR. If I don’t, is it really that big of a deal? Who even cares but me? For now I’m trying to take care of me, outside of running. Getting sleep, spending time with friends and family and trying to take back my joy.

 

The Burnout & Remedy

After Wobegon I was ecstatic. I had qualified for Boston which meant two things, I achieved a running goal I never thought possible back when I was struggling to run a sub-5 hour marathon, and I had a summer free of required training! Though I was already registered for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon which is the first week in November. With a pretty comfortable cushion under my qualifying time, I decided I’d switch to the half. Even doing that I wouldn’t really have to start training until later summer/early fall. But then I seemed to lose my marbles.

Somewhere along the line, I started doubting whether my 5:32 cushion under my qualifying time was going to be enough to get me in. I starting thinking, oh shit, I need to start training for the full even if I do get into Boston. After all, registration isn’t until September and if I fail to gain entry, I’d be so behind in training for a full, I’d hate myself come race day. So I started training for a full as if I was going to run it in November. I even ran a 16 miler with my BRF.

I put on a good front while on those long runs but the truth is, I was feeling burnt out. I was putting off my weekday runs as long as I could and often cutting them short or opting out of my tempos or intervals in favor of a ladder or just a nice easy run. I wasn’t sleeping well, was irritable, getting achy and sore, and other that loving the company, I dreaded the long run. Nothing about my running felt good, easy or satisfying. Deep down I knew that even if I don’t get into Boston (which I’m sure I will), there is no way I WANT to run a full in November. So why was I forcing myself to training as if I was? It was putting me in a funk that may be the worst running downer I’ve ever had.

So last week I decided to make a change. I had to re-examine my motivations. First was not getting into Boston leaving me with no spring full on my calendar. I will get into Boston when I register on the 16th. I get to register the first week and I don’t think the minutes under qualifying times are going to double. Second was feeling like I had to do a fall marathon. When did I start feeling like I needed to do two marathons a year? That’s just silly. Since we moved to Minnesota just over two years ago I’ve done four marathons. FOUR. While that’s not a lot to some, that’s a lot to me. I just needed to give myself permission not to feel like I have to do two a year.

Starting this week I’m starting my new training plan, for the half that I’m going to run. No more extraneous long runs or 10+ mile tempos. It’s unnecessary and was making me unhappy. And after Boston…I think I’ll take a break from marathoning all together, at least for a little while.