No Photos, No Jokes, Probably Shouldn’t Have a Title, Either.

This is going to be a photoless, humorless, really un-OUaL-like post. If it ever gets published. There’s a good chance it will just be one of those, pound it out on the keyboard, feel better, and delete it kind of things…


Let’s background the story with a quick summary of the events leading up to tonight :

  • Bail on the track since no one else can make it and I’m not hard enough for 630am 400s solo.
  • Feel guilty ALL. DAMN. DAY.
  • Vow to run a hard tempo tonight to make up for it. Daydream about big half PRs and BQs as a reminder of why I do all this in the first place.
  • Buy and eat a bag of candy corn while at CVS getting tampons (that’s a relevant point in the story) because you’re too busy catching up with your cross country best friend who just got engaged to let your conscience chime in and stop your fat ass from throwing them in your basket.
  • Lay on the floor for an hour in a “ughhhh too much sugar” and “ughhhh too long till next Ohio trip” painful stupor. Pretend to be doing abs/stretching every time Brian looks over.

Ok, now we’re at the run. 1-4-1 tempo at 7:15, which I got close to before HTC and was amped to nail this time. But as you’d guess my ambitions had been shot with a sugar  tranq gun and by the time I laced up I was not feeling it.

I stopped three times during the mile warm up (fucking candy corn). Took a breath and decided to aim for 3 tempo, and go for the 4th if I had it. No pressure.

My legs felt great – they locked into pace and turned over easily – but everything else felt like absolute shit. I had knives between my ribs, my head was pounding, and my breathing was all over the place.

Mile 1 clocked at 7:16, and a few steps after I pulled up to an abrupt stop.

Just stopped. Completely. For no reason.

Before I could even catch my breath I was choking back tears. What is happening?! The run wasn’t going great, but it was no reason to stop, and definitely no reason to cry. I tried to compose myself, or at least figure out wtf was wrong with my head, but it was just buzzing. Too many tangled loose wires, no way to sort them out.

I started walking back towards home, admitting tempo defeat, and as my breathing regulated and my eyes dried, things finally started clearing up a bit.

There’s nothing really wrong in my life. Life is actually pretty damn good. Family, stable jobs, strong relationships, health all around and many privileges I probably don’t deserve. We live in paradise, albeit very far from home, leading lives I consider us very lucky to have.

So what’s wrong? Jesus you spoiled brat what more do you want?

But I think that’s it – I don’t know! I have no fucking idea what I want. While I’m not necessarily UNHAPPY, I feel I’m falling short of a TRUE level of happiness. Where “things” don’t matter and you can just enjoy the life and people around you. Where a simple to-do list doesn’t bring you crumbling to your knees and a tough day at work doesn’t lead you straight to the bottle. Where you wake up EXCITED for what the day holds and the opportunities you have in front of you. Where a funny joke, loving glance, or your dog chasing his tail makes you grin ear-to-ear and your abs hurt from laughing so hard.

At Hood to Coast I met some amazing people – who truly love running, are genuinely grateful for their abilities, and find so much honest joy in life – it was inspiring but maddening at the same time. Talking with Lauren tonight brought those feelings back out front and center, and it finally just broke me.

I know this tempo wasn’t my epiphany or magical life-turning moment, but I can’t help but hear “darkest before the dawn” echoing in my head as I write this (debatable whether the vodka has anything to do with that). It’s time to sit down and have a stern talking to with  myself – what’s important? what do I want to do? what makes me bounce-up-and-down, belly-laugh, proud-mama-bird HAPPY, and how can I make my world revolve around it?

Thanks for listening – this is all very rhetorical, therapeutic writing, and I promise it will be the last depressing “guts” post for a while. I can’t afford to be handing out Cymbalta prescriptions to every OUaL reader.

Sarah OUaL


47 thoughts on “No Photos, No Jokes, Probably Shouldn’t Have a Title, Either.

  1. Okay, first, I have to say I loved this post. And not I-love-wallowing-in-someone-else’s-misery-love but loved it because it makes me realize that I am not alone in going through exactly what you described. I’m not in that same state currently but I was this summer. And it was bloggers just like you who brought me back from the darkness and back into the sunlight. Now here I am, brand-spanking-new blogger myself, who still has no clue what it is I want. But I’m feeling one step closer every day.

    Candy corn. It will get you every time!

    Tomorrow is a new day. And you will wake up (maybe with a hangover) but happy to have today behind you and ready to try again. :)


      • Today should be a good test of a new approach….having total shit day and heard someone say a while ago….”Go run in the rain, they can’t see you cry”. We’ll see if it works…

        Oh and not to get all sappy on your butt…but here’s another one I heard that I quite like: People don’t cry because they are weak, they cry because they have been strong for too long.

        Go get’em tiger!


  2. are we long lost sisters or something? i swear to god i am going through that same thing right now. i keep saying “i dont know whats wrong but i am not happy and i have no good reason.” I have a great life, i really really do but right now I am in a “fckeveryone, my life is meaningless, i hate my job, i have no purpose” funk. I mean, i am sorry you are having a tough time but thanks for writing that… now i know its not just me, its a combo of being 20 something, being a girl and possibly a training schedule that I love but is starting to wear on me.


  3. Funk happens. Happens to everybody. If it happened because you didn’t hit your mile the way you wanted to, just know that happens all the time. Nobody has a perfect cycle and hits all their goals. Don’t worry about anything you missed on your workout. You’re in good shape and you didn’t lose anything. It’s so cliché, but keep your head up … hope you’re back on a positive kick sooner rather than later.


  4. Bad days suck – especially the ones that have you questioning very aspect of life. You are certainly not alone!! Hopefully, the sun comes up today and shines a little different light on things.


  5. Thanks for the transparency…truly. I’ve had runs that made me cry because I felt like a quitter and runs that made me emotional because I went out and took it. Each feel very different. But, this is one of the reasons I love your blog…you aren’t afraid to be real. Hope the sun shines on you today and you get to belly laugh a few times.


  6. I have definitely cried on a run. And stopped mid run for no reason. Especially tempo runs. And wondered why the hell I was running anyway. And why I do whatever else I’m doing. And generally had an existential crisis. It sucks, but it is okay. Asking questions is good; it doesn’t mean something is wrong. Though sometimes it is. This comment wins a prize for being utterly ambiguous and useless. Sorry. Basically, I hear ya.


  7. Hang in there Sarah. We all catch the funk from time to time. That said, I definitely think you should take some time to reflect, contemplate and chat it up. That said, if you want to talk about it this weekend over a nice cold beer, you just say the word! (I need to celebrate a post-personal worst that I have coming in a half marathon on Saturday morning sometime this weekend). Plus I’ve officially decided to trade in my #classypants for #crabbypants today. I would probably make good company.


  8. You’re in your mid 20s, right?? This was my state of mind through much of my 20s and I think most of my friends would agree that it’s completely NORMAL. If you didn’t have these feelings, you wouldn’t grow. You wouldn’t push yourself to be who you want to be (if that makes any sense). I had this crazy meltdown 10 years ago on my 24th birthday and while I now look back and think, “Why the f*ck did I think I had it so bad?” I also know that that moment gave me a sense of clarity that helped push me into who I am today. And I am really happy with that person (most of the time). So while your life and these feelings might not make sense now — trust in those feelings and become the person you want to be. /cheesiest comment ever


  9. We all have these moments. In fact, sugar binging and running bring out the rawest in us. Good for your for recognizing it. I am not one to get incredibly joyous about running. I meet and talk with and run with people all the time who think it is the best thing in the world. I run, but eh, I don’t live and die for it. I’ve accepted that.


  10. Damn candy corn…it can undermine everything.
    I blame the corn!
    But in all seriousness…it’s good you are thinking of these things…I don’t know if those feelings every really go away…I just think you try to do what makes you happy, while always striving to do more and be better or closer to that belly ache type of happiness.


  11. I’m going through the same thing-I can’t figure out what I want but I know I’m not neccisarily happy. I feel like crap though being unhappy with all the privalges I have. Shit I suck.

    Life sucks sometimes-xoxox <3


  12. Don’t feel insane I am sure that there are tons of people out there who get a case of the psychos from candy corn overload (she said while slowly backing away in a non threatening manner).
    I kid.
    I felt that way before I started running and kicking my ass into healthy high gear. It was the one thing I was missing in life that finally made everything fall into a better place. You’ll find what it is an WHABAM euphoria. Life will be all clouds, cupcakes, and unicorns.


  13. I have an interesting theory, but I hate to risk coming across as stereotyping. The thing is I have very similar feelings every time I am PMSing or getting my period. Like “Why am I crying?! My life is great?! I hate that I am upset for no real reason!!” Now I’m not saying this is what you were feeling, but I’m just saying that the time of the month possibly had an effect. Even sometimes after a great run when my endorphins are flying, I can still get that downer feeling during that time.


    • Definitely a factor, but I’m not typically a bad PMS’er, and am DEF not a cry-during-a-run-and-then-in-the-shower-and-also-in-your-vodka kind of girl. Maybe I’m just paying my dues for all those “easy” months? Ha


  14. This post was really amazing and honest … Not to get all weird and existential, but I think it’s sort of a curse of our generation (particularly for women, but I’ll save the feminist rant for another time) to never REALLY be satisfied. We have so many opportunities open to us, and we can proceed along a path that we think will make us happy, but we aren’t ever really sure if we are as happy as we CAN be. We all (well at least I do) feel like this every once in a while. I don’t think it’s always easy to find joy ALL the time, but if you keep trying to find it wherever you can, hopefully things will get better!


  15. Oh you are not alone. I’ll save you my current stupid life story and just say, we all want to have our lives ‘figured out’ all the time. And life just doesn’t work that way. I’ll say to you what my shrink said to me after my recent panic attacks: BE KIND to yourself, and give yourself time– time to achieve your goals, time to figure out whatever needs figuring out, time to be happy. Everything in life takes time. It helped me, and I hope it helps you.


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  17. Don’t apologize for this post. It was real and you felt real. As most of the comments say, we all feel like this. And candy corn and your 20’s definitely encourage self-reflective wallowing. Quarter Life Crisis is a real thing. I had a year or so when nothing I typically liked gave me true joy. It was hard, but I took it as a sit and think about what really matters time. So now when I get distracted by all of the busy fluff of life, I can remember that it’s not real. Journaling helps. Talking to wise mentors helps. Sitting helps. It may be your soul telling you that you’ve been “go go going” without enough chill time or maybe without enough time to listen to yourself and see where you want to go. Find a safe place and let yourself process what you’re going through.


  18. I stumbled upon your blog from Karyn on one of my “my job is boring i think I’ll read blogs” mornings. I wanted to write to you because what you wrote was how I felt for a really long time. The outcome for me was being diagnosed with depression and seeking out treatment for it. I’m not saying this is true for you, but I wish I had spoken more about how unhappy I was when I felt it and wasn’t afraid of what people would think.
    It is possible to be happy and, almost more importantly, content with life. Good luck with everything and keep being so open and honest.


  19. okay. where to begin. i love your honesty. truly. and i had one of those moments a few weeks before hood to coast-all out ugly cry face driving down the road. for no reason. well, there are lots of reasons-but i feel the same way about my life as you. plenty to be thankful for-but still want more. and i’m not sure what that “more” is for me (marriage, children, new career-i got lots to think about). my point is-everyone goes through this, but most people don’t admit it. and, i think it’s a good thing to always want a little more, have goals, drive, etc. what would you be without it? and i guess “what is happiness really” is something else to think about. i think everyone has a different definition of that. okay. i’ll stop rambling. if you are all better next week-blame the PMS and candy corn sugar rush. :) xo


  20. to me happiness is a far out of reach concept. i have been happy for moments of time, but to be happy all the time? i don’t get that. is happy the norm? or are we expecting something from life that isn’t there? can you ever be in that place fully in this mortal life?


  21. “Thanks for listening – this is all very rhetorical, therapeutic writing, and I promise it will be the last depressing “guts” post for a while”
    Sarah Sarah Sarah……this is YOUR blog….this is not depressing. This is REAL. coming from a REAL person. yeah hormones…they are a pain in the butt me I know (here’s TMI for you…complete hysterectomy….) a happends… sucks but it passes….maybe you are at a crossroads…it is not a bad thing to hit pause once in a while…even if it “hurts” and “scares the crap out of us”..but good stuff comes out of it usually….I had these serious pause twice…late 25 and 30 right before meeting my husband…but this is not about me…I do think that whatever this is ..its is not about running…what changed everything for me and made my life make sense was my kids…I am not saying you are ready for that…I dont know…I dont even know if this is something you want one day. I waited until I was 35 for kids. Do I wake up everyday jumping for joy…no…no..nobody does I dont think. Man this is so long…One advice is do not keep the crap inside..write here or talk to someone..but pretending all is good when its not is a mistake…hand in there my young beautiful friend…I will see you in LB…! xo


  22. Thanks for letting me guest post on your blog.

    Just kidding. Hugs hugs hugs emo Sarah! Life can suck for no good reason but it can also be awesome for no good reason. Don’t beat yourself up over one day and don’t beat yourself up over how other people experience things.

    Can’t wait to hang again!


  23. I feel like you read my mind. I have been feeling the same way for awhile unfortunately my relates totally to the fact that I am single and have been for a while. In the past I have had boyfriends and several long term relationships but in the past two years I haven’t been able to meet anyone and it’s frustrating! I feel very lost, I feel that I have a great job, great home, family and friends, great hobbies but there is always that something missing and it’s someone to share all those things with. I hope that we can both get out of our funk soon!


  24. OMG I know how you feel! I keep hitting the emergency stop button on the treadmill after a few miles and thinking WHY WHY WHY!? We’ll snap out of this funk, don’t you worry :)


  25. Hey Sarah,
    I know you’ve already got a zillion encouraging comments, but I figured adding one more to the pile can’t hurt. I love this post! I can’t say that I have any brilliant, ‘magic-bullet’ advice for you, ’cause you and I are pretty much in the same boat :) But I will say that I think being happy means choosing happiness – in every decision, at every chance, even when it seems insane. Case in point: earlier this month, I quit my job, a good, real, ‘adult’ job. In the middle of a recession. I actually wrote a post about it if you want the full story.

    But in short, I quit because I knew that if I stayed, I would shrivel up into a joyless, soul-less ball of sorrow and I would absolutely dread my daily life. And to me, that just ain’t worth a paycheck, recession or no. So I guess all this is to say that if your job, your hobby (or lack thereof), your relationships, are causing you grief, i.d. it and change it. Sometimes that change takes on radical forms, but you just gotta trust that something better will come around!


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  27. hi sarah! i read this post the other day, and have been thinking about you so much ever since i read it. i love how open and honest you are – always. so many of us can relate to how you were feeling when you wrote it, myself included. life is so full of ups and downs. and hormones. thank goodness for good friends and loved ones, for candy corn and for running! xoxoxo


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