I touched on it briefly in my Totally Trials posts, but wanted to spend some time honestly sorting through and explaining my recent love/hate relationship with running.
After Ojai, I was burned out. Not in your traditional “ugh I can’t stand the thought of running another step” way, but in a weird exposed and demeaned way. Sure I was a little battered/bruised physically from the intense (for me) training schedule, but what really needed repaired was my mindset.
The Ragnar/Eugene/Ojai training cycle was like a roller coaster – a huge climb-climb-climb to the very tip top, and then free-fall without brakes all the way to the bottom kind of ride.
For the first time I enjoyed the entire training process; I never got “sick” of running and learned a lot about myself and the sport along the way. (talked about here). The measurable improvements at the track, well-executed long runs, and general excitement about running catapulted me into “goal week” – where Ragnar Ultra exceeded all expectations and a 20 minute PR (3:37) at the Eugene Marathon validated all my hard work of the past 10+ weeks.
that’s 20 fingers for each of our 20 minute PRs, in case you forgot
I was riding a high of consistent success, but was greedily hungry for more.
I quickly registered for Ojai2Ocean, just five weeks away, and told the world my plan to Boston Qualify. The Eugene PR was great, but being so close to BQ (3:35) left me with a feeling of unfinished business and cockiness.
And after the spontaneous bonus-training and shit-talking, I failed to own up to that promise.
For the first time that cycle, I had a set back. And as they say, it’s a long way down to fall from the top.
Missing my goal in Ojai (in the most elaborate of fashions) was hard. Defeating. Humbling. Embarrassing. Plus, when you whore your goals out on the internet those feelings get magnified a bit.
I first tasted the evil side of social media accountability last year at Long Beach, where I built up, and eventually blew up, my goal of a Sub-4 hour marathon. It wasn’t just being disappointed in myself, but after investing others in my goals there was a huge feeling of letting them down as well.
So after sticking my neck out like that for the second time (in Ojai), I needed some time off. Not from the sport altogether, but from the pressures of high value goals and public expectations.
Sure I could just stop broadcasting my goals, but that would just be bandaging the wound. I can’t go on forever sneaking behind everyone’s back running “secret” races.
Plus I wouldn’t have anything to blog about then.
It’s no secret my mental game is one of my biggest weaknesses. Learning to manage these feelings and pressures is going to be key if I’m going to continue growing and progressing as a runner.
So I took these last few weeks off. No scheduled workouts, race countdowns, or feelings of obligation towards running. I ran when and what I felt like, including two 5k’s where I had time “expectations” but not necessarily goals, and didn’t run when I didn’t feel like it.
Getting back on “my terms” was refreshing and exactly what I needed – once I began regularly hitting the pavement again, pressure-free and with the past behind me, I felt ready to test the waters again.
The Trials in Eugene was the final turnaround I needed. Being around amazing runners – peers more so than the pros – who adore the sport and are genuinely excited to lace up every day was infectious. While those three runs were hard mileage and pace-wise for me, they were SO great for my frame of mind.
running in the rain! with the Oiselles! it’s fun!
It’s great timing really, since Fall running is just around the corner. While the rest of the summer will still be dedicated to running fast & base building, because I’ve got some big things coming up – Hood to Coast (which I have some major hills to get ready for) is just 8 weeks away, I’ve got a goal half this October, and am committing to a full 16-week training plan for CIM in December.
So this rekindled Run Love really couldn’t have come at a better time.
Get ready for a lot more running talk around here. I don’t wanna call it a comeback, but…
Ok maybe we can call it a comeback.
* Do you struggle with burnout? Do you let pressures (internal or external) F with your head so much you spend half your runs drafting mea culpas for future use? Can somebody make me feel less like a headcase, please??