It’s been a while…

I’ve been pretty incommunicado on my blog since the marathon. I’ve heard rumors of  post-marathon blues/depression/funk, but I’ve never really truly felt it until this go around. While the race was fine — I wish I’d done better — I wasn’t really upset about it. I made up my mind pretty quickly to run another race on May 29: the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington. However, last week I firmly decided against it, and here’s why:

I needed a break.

Looking back, I trained hard August-November last year, then as soon as my hamstring recovered in mid-late December, I was back at it with 35-40 mile weeks, and shortly after I bumped up to 55 mile weeks in late January and never looked back. The fewest monthly miles I’ve run in the past 9 months was 110 miles, when I was injured/recovering last December. My legs need a break from training, but so does my brain.

img_2836Beautiful sunrises do help me get out the door though.

So I’ve been laying low. I’ve only been going to group runs for the last two weeks and keeping my mileage around 24-28 miles per week. It’s been hard because my heart just hasn’t been in it. I’ve been out in the middle of a run — doesn’t matter how far: 5 miles, 10 miles, whatever — and suddenly I just don’t want to be running anymore. I want to be at my desk getting work done, or in my bed taking a nap, or back home eating breakfast. After a few runs like this, I definitively crossed Vermont City off my “to do” list and decided I needed to take care of my brain before I could get back to running full steam ahead.

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Instead of running a million miles per week solo like I’m used to doing, I’ve been going to group runs — that gets me out the door at least — and I volunteered at a race last weekend instead of running it (see the lovely, neon yellow course marshal vest above!). I’m trying to reclaim my “happy running” feelings, but it’s been tough. I’m trying to be supportive of my other running friends, but my involvement on my running forum on MyFitnessPal has definitely tapered in off the last few week (sorry, MFPals!).

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Big group run of 13 x 1 mile hill repeats… we’re crazy!

I think what’s making this running funk even more difficult is the fact that I have so many major, real life stressors right now. I am meant to be finishing my thesis, but I defered my degree to September for a whole host of reasons. Primarily, because I really, truly, desperately need to focus on getting a job. I’ve been applying to jobs like a madwoman: jobs in Princeton, Philadelphia, D.C. and NYC. It’s just taking forever to hear back from anyone, so I’m in this awful “wait and see” limbo in which I can’t do anything  real world productive… like find a place to live, since my university lease ends June 30. Everytime these thoughts cross my mind while I’m running, my energy is zapped and I feel guilty for taking the time for myself when I should be working on applications. I know that’s silly, but that’s the way my brain is working right now. So I’m just trying to run enough to keep my stress level manageable.

Hopefully I’ll be back at it in 1-2 weeks with regular updates and a new zest for training, but for right now, I’m in a definite slump, and I’m just going to have to ride it out. I’ve got too much on my plate to even let myself feel bad about not running 50-60 miles a week again (yet) or for not even wanting to run most days. Plus, with all these rest days and low mileage, my legs are the peppiest they’ve been in almost a year. It feels great to get up in the morning and not hobble to my coffee maker!

I hope everyone’s spring–>summer running and/or training is going well!

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5 thoughts on “It’s been a while…

  1. Awww *hugs*. God, the job search. What an awful, awful time. It’s been almost 4 years since I was in the exact same spot you were in – racing to figure something out before (in my case AmeriCorps) ended, applying like crazy and never hearing anything, ugh. It’s such a stressful time. If it’s any consolation, the job market now is supposedly much better than when I was in this spot. Fingers crossed for you! You could always go live back in CR and then I could visit 🙂

    I was feeling exactly like you were re: training, which is why I took a planned break after Pittsburgh. I’ve been loving it. It’s so nice running only when I want to, and only a little bit at a time. I smile when I look at everyone starting up their fall marathon training right now, feeling so glad that I’m not one of them! Remember: it’s just running. Yes, it’s JUST RUNNING. It can wait. Running is supposed to be the one thing in our lives that’s fun and refreshing, so if it ceases to be that way…what’s the point? Good for you taking a break. You will be better off for it in so many ways. Life is always more important than running!

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    • The job searching is so stressful! And like you said, it’s the never hearing anything. That’s what makes it awful!

      And you nailed it right on the head: it’s JUST RUNNING! I don’t have anything official on my schedule til November, so I can afford to take some time to regroup until running becomes fun again!

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  2. Every runner needs a break sometimes whether it is emotionally or physically and graduate school and job searching is stressful! I think you are doing the right thing. Let your mind and body decompress and you’ll be logging miles before you know it!

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  3. real life stressors totally affect training! when i’m stressed I just want to sleep, so getting out the door and being a “happy runner” is tough when real life decides to backhand me. Hang in there and don’t force the workouts, especially if you’re not training for a specific race. Try and make your workouts a “break” from the real life crap. Tell yourself for 1 hour, this is my time where I don’t think about the job/life stuff.

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