Zero Month–Healing and a Big Ass Fire

Zero Month is (finally) coming to a close, and I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with how I handled it. Sure it took daily reminders that “this is GOOD for you” and “you’ll be STRONGER in 2013” and “just let the fatness happen”, but reveling in full laziness and soaking up all the butter and booze it came with was more fun than expected.


Well, mostly.

Fun when I forgot about my rapidly growing double chin to load up on Christmas cookies or hit up another fried-food-and-beer gathering after work. Fun when I ignored visions of the pain of getting back in shape and slept in every morning. Fun having a wide-open schedule and the freedom to make plans on the fly. Fun having time for friends and family and sleep and Christmas Ale to my heart & liver’s content.

(In case you weren’t aware those are the only things higher than working out on my priorities pyramid, which for your viewing pleasure (and to break up this word-heavy post) I made this little diagram to illustrate… )


I will admit there were some embarrassing “I HAVEN’T WORKED OUT IN ___ DAYS!!” meltdowns here and there, usually following a cookie binge or having to last-minute scramble for a new outfit because Hiii Muffin Top is not on the menu for tonight’s party, but I managed to keep my shit together (for the most part) the rest of the time.

What may have gone forgotten or maybe I never really talked about it, is that Zero Month was about more than physical healing. Yes the tib-strain needed rest, and the pre-melanoma sutures needed time to fuse non-sweaty skin back together. But more than anything else I’ve learned, my soul and head needed a break.

Honestly, it took a while to feel like I MISSED running. I’d lost the joy training used to provide – hard work that used to invigorate and motivate me slowly became just… WORK – and the easy “fun” runs required being forced into my Brooks and drug out the door.

Burnout, party of one!


I desperately want need that hunger (fat joke) back before jumping into another big goal year. I’ve said it before and you can put it on my grave, I’m not a “happy runner”, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy my workouts. There’s an obvious difference between giddy smiling through every step and masochistically looking forward to a puke-inducing interval sesh, but it’s not to say one camp “LOVES” running more.

I know the love of the sport still burns inside me, it just needed some time to rekindle. Stifle a flame and it’ll slowly peter out. Breathe fresh air into it and you’ll set the trees above ablaze with an alarmingly aggressive bonfire and have the fire department at your door.


confession– this is a real Corntown photo but I wasn’t there. stole it from L’s facebook

With the green light to return to running just around the corner, I’ve shifted my focus to attempt reviving that flame; from wallowing in the bummer ending to 2012 to reliving the great lessons and successes from the year. Falling in love with speed workouts, discovering my long-lost competitive spirit, and realizing a hidden well of untapped talent thanks to my fast and encouraging friends. Letting myself honestly admit how far I’ve come since my Sub4 days and how I’ve grown as a runner.

And dreaming of all that’s left to be discovered.

I’m feeling that itch to lace up again, drawing up plans, visioning cresting big hills (without wanting to throw myself off the edge), and daring to claim big dreams.

2013 is going to be a good year. I’m not sure where my goals stand or how this start-from-scratch return to running might shape them, but I’m excited to see what comes. Long, short, fast, or… faster.

Better go dust off the Garmin…

Sarah OUaL

22 thoughts on “Zero Month–Healing and a Big Ass Fire

  1. Yay! You posted! (This is the awkward barista from Alta) Sorry to hear about your frustrating time off (minus the good time of good friends, food, and booze ;), I know the feeling of how hard it is to not be running or working out. :/ I’m sure 2013 will bring you a PR! You will find that hunger for running, I just know it!


  2. Welcome back!!! I can identify so much with this post – I took about two weeks off from any exercise that didn’t involve sitting on the sofa. It was unplanned – one lazy day turned into two, which turned into two weeks. I’ve now been back running for about a week and I’m loving it all over again, and actually it hasn’t hurt too badly and I haven’t lost that much speed. (‘Speed’ is a relative term, I am not fast). But it’s been good. What fired up my passion again was doing a list of races I want to do in 2013…I got really excited about all the medals and glory, and the next thing I know, I was out running again. So welcome back – to running and blogging.


  3. Ahhhh love this so much. I’m cleared to start running again after 10 weeks off and this is a much more eloquent way of saying “I’m ready” then what I said to a friend this afternoon – “I’m ready to lace up my mother-effin shoes again”


  4. I’ve been off running for a couple of weeks now – unintentional really(flu, hurt thigh etc), but it has definitely made the hunger to get back into it SO much stronger now..and I am super excited.

    I think this time off will prove to be pretty amazing for you and you’ll see biiiig things happen in 2013! It must have been SO hard to take the full month off running!


  5. You have been amazing! I would have gone bat-shit-crazy during a zero month. I have never taken that long off working out or running. But I know that your body will so appreciate it! You will be ready to rock out 2013!


  6. Sometimes you need a mental break more than a physical break. The hard part will be getting back into but I’m sure you’ll get there and be stronger and faster than ever in 2013! I’ve been slacking over the holiday due to being busy, holiday gatherings/food, and the cold weather. I know 2013 will be a trying year for me but tomorrow I will start it by running :) (I haven’t run since Christmas Eve, oops!)


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  8. Make sure to charge up your Garmin! Heading out for your inaugural run would NOT be funny with a “low battery” signal right after you take off…. at least not initially.

    If you want some more fire, read A Life Without Limits (if you haven’t already). Happy New Years and Happy Running!!


  9. So glad you’re back! I think your words have struck a chord with a lot of us. I guess that’s why it’s so cool to read a blog like this: it really reflects the total spectrum of emotions we all go through. Oh, and just to stop this being too mushy – all that crap I said about journals? Yeah, got given one for Christmas and I LOVE it…!! :) Viva 2013 :)


  10. Good luck on getting back out there. I think everyone needs a little (or large) break every now and then. It is good to know that I am not the only non-happy runner out there!! :)


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