So… it’s been a while since last I blogged. I just needed a good long break from everything running, but I think I’ve finally, FINALLY managed to pull myself out of this major slump. So let me sum up the last almost-3-months:
May was a horrendous running month. I’m so glad I didn’t try to throw another marathon in at the end of the month, partially because there were major heatwaves the weekend that I would’ve run, but mostly because even by the end of May (after a not-so-great marathon on May 1) I was still not able to put my heart into the miles I was running. I went from running 50-60+ miles per week in March and April to barely making it to 25-29 miles a week for all of May. I was basically just going through the motions, trying to reignite my love for running and failing miserably.
And in the meantime, I took a step back from run blogging (writing, obviously, and reading along with everyone else who I follow), the running challenge forum folks on My Fitness Pal, and avoided all but my core group runs, slogging my way through weekend runs solo or skipping them all together. I managed 135 miles for the month of May, but I think I could count on one hand how many of those runs I actually enjoyed.
June was better than May, but that isn’t saying a lot. However I managed to get back on a training plan and knock out a couple 45-55 mile weeks before I had to cut back the miles to accomodate moving to my summer place and then adjust even further downward for a horrendous cold the last week of the month. I started to feel like I was getting my mojo back, though the sudden onset of heat and humidity — and continuation of some horrible allergies! — made it hard to really enjoy running the miles, and I did a lot of whining.
I started going back to all my group runs in June however, and doing more weekend group runs. And with my mileage returning to higher (normal) levels, my parents and a few running buddies all told me that I was more “like myself” and I totally knew what they meant. Even if I wasn’t full recommitted to my running yet, I could tell that I was less whiny, complaining less, and far less bitchy than I’d been in May. I also managed to run 189 miles which was a huge improvement from my May mileage.
I even mostly enjoyed this 13.1 mile group run despite grueling mid-morning heat!
July has been the most “me” feeling, especially in the last few days. It’s been a pretty hot and disgustingly humid summer so far, which has made the longer runs really difficult. Last weekend, I had a 20 miler scheduled but cut it short at 18 because it was nearing 80F and there wouldn’t be much shade for the rest of the route, and I just couldn’t stand finishing the last miles. I’ve been going to tons of group runs, because if I’m going to get gross and sweaty and suffer in this heat, I am not going to do it alone!
But this month I’ve run 2 races and had some good runs and had some amazing news.
First, I ran the Belmar 5 mile race on July 9. I was still getting over my cold (read: phlegmy lungs) and it was a humid, drizzly morning, but the race went WELL. I ended up pacing in the low 7:30s, which was my goal, and I managed to run my last mile close to the same time as my first mile split. I hadn’t raced since the New Jersey Marathon and that didn’t go well, so it was nice to go fast and feel good for the first time since the Caesar Rodney HM in April. Plus it was a fun race morning spent with friends, and after the race, I started to feel that competitive itch for the first time in ages.
Me and my running crew at the Belmar 5!
Then three days later, I ran a small club XC race. Now, I LOATHE cross country. I ran it for 2 years in high school: hated it. I ran it for a season in college: hated it. And now I can say, I’ve given it a fair 3 tries and it is not for me. My calves hated the constant stabilization, and my lungs were awful from the pollen/allergen levels that day. I wanted to cry in the second half of the race because I was just so miserable and I was almost panicking that I couldn’t breathe well. But I got a good race photo out of it!
But then on Thursday, I got amazing news: I FINALLY HAVE A JOB! And all my runs since Thursday have gone really, really well. I think that I’ve been carrying around the “OMG WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT MY EMPLOYMENT STATUS AND MONEY AND OMG” stress for so long that it just sat there silently draining me of energy. As soon as that stress was lifted, it was like someone took 10 lbs weights off my legs. I ran a 10 mile easy long run on Saturday and felt great; then I did 15 miles on Sunday and managed to keep it at a quick ~8:30 pace (which for a long run, for me, is much faster than normal!) and it felt EASY. I haven’t had a run feel really, truly easy in months. It’s nice not to be counting down the “miles to go” from the first mile of a run.
I’m hoping that with my stress levels significantly reduced, I’ll make some good progress with training for the rest of the summer. I finally want to run and I have the desire to challenge myself, which is so much better than just wanting to survive the constant heatwave of this summer.
At least the morning runs have been pretty, if hot and humid.
So what’s next for me?
I’m signed up for the Via Marathon on September 11, where I am going to try my darndest to BQ for 2017. Then I’ll run a HM in October (maybe) and then run the Philly Marathon on November 20 and try for another BQ for 2018. And now instead of dreading having to tackle 26.2 for the fifth and sixth times, I’m excited to see what I can do in the next 4 months to chip away at my marathon goals.
Oh, and I’m going to try not to let there be a 2 month lapse between blog posts next time. 🙂