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Remember The Past In Order To Move Forward

So my last run was fantastic.  But as I said in my last blog, I am a realist and I do know that I will get into ruts again and that not every run will be as fantastic as others.   What I decided to do is come up with a plan for myself for the next time that I hit a rut and/or feel like I’m not making progress.   I’m going to try only TWO things first.

#1—I am going to write more.  I love writing as much as running and I don’t do it nearly enough FOR ME.  Before blogs were even “invented”, I was keeping journals and writing nearly every single day.  Why would I stop now?!

#2—Focus on the good things that have happened in the past…running-wise…that can maybe help me get my mind out of the negative gutter. 

Here it goes…I’m already doing #1.  So here is #2.

Max…he’s such a hoot!  I was lacing up my shoes to go out for a run.  I guess he didn’t want me to go! Image

 

As much as I felt like I was in a rut, I did complete a half marathon with my best friend Trish.  What a fun weekend and still is an accomplishment!Image

Having my son come and run the last .2 of my first marathon with me.  Awesome.Image

Running my first half marathon in honor of my dad’s battle with cancer.  He reached out and grabbed my hand near the finish.

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Doing a 5K with my dad after he recovered from his chemo treatments.  AND..he won his age group!  Image

 

 So….I have A LOT of wonderful running memories.  When the going gets tough, then it’s time to take a look back and remember how lucky I am go be running…but even more importantly…how lucky I am to have these wonderful moments.

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Mental Health Run

As many of you know, I have been struggling with motivation lately, I’ve been in a rut.  In my last blog entry, I tried to figure out what has been wrong.  I decided after I wrote that blog to stop trying to figure it out and just move on.   Getting my feelings out about my rut helped me to move on.  And thank you to those of you who sent me messages of support and understanding.  It does help to know that I’m not alone! 

I finally, (after several weeks of dreading runs and going out anyway), was excited to get out and run today!  My plan had been to get outside on part of the trail around here.  Many people enjoy the trails around here, that’s nothing new.  Whether it’s running, walking, biking…whatever way in which it is used, many people love to get out on our trail.  I’m not expressing anything new there!

I have used the trails for a few years….ever since we moved to this area.  I love the peace, I love the scenery, I love the fresh smells of nature.  Maybe this is why I was excited today.  It sometimes feels like a small get away…sort of an escape from reality.  Wait…that’s what running has always brought to me not matter where I run…except for the past 5 weeks.  

I decided to not bring my mp3 player today and just listen to the quiet.  It was amazing.  I didn’t look at how fast I was going.  It was amazing.  I didn’t look at the time.  It was amazing.  I looked at the nature, the trees, the birds.  It was amazing.

I felt like I could have gone on and on and on.  It felt so good to have the escape.  It felt so good to have the run feel good again.  It felt so good to not think about any mechanics of my form or stride.  It felt good to just plain run.

Am I never going to have struggles, bad runs, or ruts again?  Heck no!  I’m not perfect and I am a realist. Struggles, bad runs, ruts will happen again.  However, I needed this run to clear my head of all the over-thinking of why I was in a rut for 5 weeks.  And it truly did clear my head.  It was without a doubt a mental health run.  I FINALLY feel much more centered, relaxed, and am ready to tackle future runs with a better attitude.  

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What’s Going On? Or Not Going On…

Hello all.  I haven’t written since my Get Lucky Half.  There are many reasons why I haven’t written.  I have thought about stopping writing altogether, but the last time I thought about stopping I had so many emails and messages to keep writing.  So I guess there are some of you who enjoy reading!

When I started my blog, my intent was to document my marathon training for myself so that if I ever do another one, I could look back and see areas in which I needed improvement AND to just document the journey.  At the beginning of deciding to blog, I also felt like it was very important to include the down sides, the struggles etc.  Why only write about the good days?  The good runs?  No training is perfect, let’s be honest and realistic. 

This blog is about that very topic.  I am in a serious rut.  I have about ZERO motivation to run.  I have about ZERO motivation/interest to read about running.  I have about ZERO motivation/interest to talk about running.  Pardon this expression, but….WTF???? This isn’t like me.  So why am I writing this blog entry?  Because ruts happen….motivation wanes….and it’s an important aspect to training and life.

What is my problem?  I don’t really know.  I haven’t stopped running.  I’m still putting in some miles.  So I am plugging away at it.  But my heart is not in it whatsoever.  To be quite honest, I could care less about whether or not I get out for a run. 

One theory: I’m burned out.  Let’s face it, last year I jammed a lot of training and races into one year.  It’s not only the physical aspect that training stresses, it’s the mental and emotional aspects as well.  When training for the Minneapolis Marathon last year, all I really thought about was running, training, fuel, ice baths, everything I put in my mouth, every ache and pain, you name it.  That is a lot for a person to have on the brain.  Maybe overload? 

Another theory:  I have a lot going on in my life right now.  But who doesn’t?!  I have a full time teaching job, I coach softball after school, plus other things in my life that take my time…like FAMILY!   What bothers me about this is that my life was the SAME last year when I was training for my first marathon.  I had no trouble getting up at 4am to get my running done before school because I would have either a softball game or practice after school.  This year, I have the same school/job and softball schedule and I am having EXTREME difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.  That bothers me!  What is different?

I was thinking about these two things the other day as I was driving to work and I had a big thought about it.  I think that a lack of motivation hits everybody at some point.  Nothing is always perfect and I think those who say it’s always perfect are not being realistic.  It’s very easy to be hitting the gym hard, getting out for runs and/or cross training when a person feels excited about something.  Training is so easy when a person is gung-ho!  Training is hard when you have lost the “mo-jo” and desire.   This is the time when I REALLY have to dig deep down.  I really didn’t have to dig very deep last year at all because I was so excited.  It was my first one and when something is new and exciting, it’s easy to get right into.   But right now, when I’m not even close to being in the same place mentally, it’s very difficult to train and it’s very difficult to dig deep.

Whichever theory it could be, or maybe it’s more than just those, I don’t know, whatever the case may be, I’m struggling right now.  I am hoping that by continuing to put in my miles, continuing to cross train etc, that my “mojo” will return. 

I am sort of sick of the motivational posters that say “No Excuses”  or something to that effect and I usually like reading those types of posters on websites and Pinterest.  But not right now…sick of them.   If I had to make a poster right now, this is what I would say…these last few sentences would be my poster.   I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’m having difficulty with my motivation.  This is my reality right now.  I’m not going to pretend to feel something I don’t, and I’m not going to pretend to be someone I’m not.   I hope in time, my motivation will return and I will feel excited to run again.  Until then, I plan to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  And to me…this is what digging deep and pushing hard really mean….to keep going when it’s not going well. 

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