Friday, April 4, 2014

Finding the Fun Again

I've had a pretty rough time lately.

I wish I could pinpoint exactly what happened and when, but I lost my mojo.  My running and other workouts were going fantastic and then out of the blue - bam.  On a rest day of all things, I started getting sore.  I took some ibuprofen and played it cool and it got better by the next morning.  I was due for a 5 mile run and felt confident enough to do it.  The run went ok until about the last half mile or so and then it was like my body didn't want to go anymore and I really had to push to get to the finish.  I got home, stretched, got a drink and felt ok.  Then throughout the day I got crazy sore again - enough to require more ibuprofen, ice, and to pretty much lay around.  What was concerning was the soreness was near (but not exactly on) where my stress fracture was.  So, I made the decision to toss out the following days long run.  As a runner you hate to miss out on the long run of all things, but I didn't want to be a hardass and play around...

I felt better by the day after the off day and went to the gym to ride the bike and lift.  I felt good.  The next day I tried out a run, hoping to go 4-5 miles and made it 3.5 before just feeling wiped out and done.  My hamstrings felt tight and again, I wasn't chancing anything.  So I kicked the treadmill down to a walk and planned to walk another mile and a half.  After a while my legs felt recovered and I felt better so I did go back to running just a little.  But that was that.

The next day I just wanted to try a 15 minute run, and I made it 1.65 miles (16 minutes, due to a 1 minute walk warmup) and felt pretty good.  I finished up my cardio on the cross ramp and felt great.

This brings us up to yesterday where I ran 3.45 miles and felt just fine.  Never got fatigued, no twinges, no soreness, and I even ran faster without realizing it because I was just going by RPE not pace.

Today's a rest day and I plan to run tomorrow again.  I have no clue what's going on.  I'm hoping I can get through my long runs the next few weeks because that little doubt creature is starting to enter my head and I'm getting concerned about May 4th.  I need to just suck up the fact that it's going to be my worst half ever but that realization stinks and isn't really motivating.

Which brings me to this... **Warning:  Pity Party Ahead!**

Nick and I were talking and he brought up something:  Running isn't fun for me anymore.  He said he always loved when I'd come home from a run because I'd be bubbly and happy and it seemed to just make life better.  Now I come home and I'm talking about all the bad things (my pace sucks, the weather sucks, there's a twinge here or there, my watch is screwy, some other runner didn't wave and I thought that was douchy, the EQT 10 miler ruined my life, etc) and then I spend the day overanalyzing that run and all the others past and future and crunching numbers and trying to figure out pace strategies and race times and what should I do with this or that.  I'm miserable.  I've lost my ability to simply run and be happy to be doing it and then be done.

I'm very excited about MCM and I will do that race if I have to crawl and drag myself up that last hill to the finish.  But until I officially start training for it (my plan is to take a light easy "off" week after the Pittsburgh Half and then start a base building phase and then start a "real" training plan at the end of June.  Which plan is still up in the freaking air until I can figure my crap out), what the hell do I do to make this fun again?  How do I stop obsessing over numbers and what was and what is?  How do I stop comparing myself to this chick and that one and even to myself 6 months ago?  How do I bring myself to simply NOT CARE about anything other than the pure simplistic joy of doing something that not everyone does?

I suppose the answer is "just do", but I'm struggling.  And it's sad, because I really do love to run... I just hate feeling like I totally suck at it now and it doesn't seem to be getting any easier or better.  :(