I’ve been dragging my feet with writing this post, because I expected it all to be, “Yay, I’m running, and life is great, and it’s like I was never injured!” ...But it’s not. Not at all.
I used to crush mile repeats. In fact-- arguably-- they were my favorite workout. Now, I can barely run a mile without feeling like I can’t breathe. I used to get out the door for easy runs like it was no big deal. Now, I get anxious before each and every run, because I know it won’t turn out like I want it to. I used to enjoy long runs (most of the time) and doing loops from BU Bridge to Harvard to Museum of Science. Now, I get so in the zone about just finishing a run that I miss what’s going on around me, even if Chris Rhymes-With-Chrysler (@RunWestin) and Meb (FREAKING MEB) are running right at me screaming my name.
If you weren’t aware, I’m Type A (and a bit OCD) to the nth degree. My room looks like a museum according to my roommates, I plan my meals for the upcoming week on Friday, and my coworkers know that I won’t even look at a GoogleDoc unless it’s single spaced, size 11, Proxima Nova. When I got back to running after injury (3 months without running at all), I expected to pick up right where I left off… being able to compare my current mile repeats, paces, and distances with the old.
Except I haven’t done a single mile repeat all year (except if you count those runs I have to stop every mile), 9:15s are the new 8:15s, and my monthly mileage (50) is what I would hit in two weeks when I was in training mode. Running is hard; I spent two years building my temple (as Coach Stam likes to say) and I feel like I have lost it all-- even after spending 3 months swimming, lifting, and spinning.
Besides from the constant comparing my post-injury self to pre-injury self, it doesn’t help that I feel like shit. Not even going to sugar coat it. When I’m running, my legs are constantly tired and I feel like the Tin Man who needs more oil. I wake up tired-- and stay tired all day-- even after a good 8+ hours of sleep (thanks Fitbit). I’ve gained weight, and although Jon tells me he hasn’t noticed (isn’t he great?!), I feel the difference (and can’t fit into my shorts from last summer).
Everyone keeps reminding me that I should feel this way (duh, I didn’t run for three months!), but it’s hard to accept it. Along with not running, a lot has gone on in the past few months that I can never categorize as reasons or excuses to my performance: traveling between 7 cities in 2 weeks (Westerly, RI → Bear Mountain, NY → LA → San Diego (just for breakfast tacos and November Project SD) → Irvine, CA → SD (this time for more than breakfast tacos… but a lot of those were eaten) → SF), Aunt Gin passing away, and Maxwell (my most favorite pup of all time) following Aunt Gin to heaven… Also it’s summer and everyone knows (but can’t always accept!) that you’re slower when it’s hot out (#Science).
Stam keeps telling me to ditch my shitty attitude (I’ll be the first to admit it hasn’t been the greatest), and to focus on keep moving. I went from training on heart rate, which did nothing more than make me anxious and therefore drive my heart rate through the roof, to turning my watch to clock screen while running and not even bothering looking at my pace (knowing it’s slower than I want). Yesterday I finally accepted the fact that my “long run” was going to be nowhere in the 8:30s (again, back to building that temple… and it’s humid AF in Boston) and focused on going slow. I told myself I would stop every mile if I needed to, and ended up only stopping twice: once at a light (so does that really count?!) and once to take my shirt off (again, humid AF… and #SportsBraSquad). Whenever I wanted to stop, I told myself that it’s time I started to get comfortable being uncomfortable (thanks Jess Ray and/or Goldie for mentioning that in yoga years ago), and ended my longest run all year (Wachusett was a hike) as also the best run of the year. I ran 4.5 miles in 42:03; not my greatest, but pretty good for where I am today.
From here on out, I do promise to make more of an effort when it comes to my attitude, and being realistic about my fitness and where it should be right now. I’m running Seawheeze in a few weeks and I know it’s going to suck (and be the slowest half I hope to ever run… and be humbling… and I can go on), but I’m going to do it with a smile on my face.
And as for feeling shitty? I’m taking an InsideTracker test soon and hope that will give me some insight into why I’m feeling the way I do. I tested in February, but with all the traveling I did and moping about being hurt, I didn’t make much of an effort to listen to all the recommendations they gave me. I plan to make WAY more of an effort in the nutritional department to help me get back to feeling-- and performing-- my best. Bonus: new InsideTracker results mean new recommended food, which means new recipes (and hopefully means blogging more than once a month)!
Until then, I’m going to continue getting comfortable being uncomfortable, and do my best to “trust the process”.