Hey Running Mojo, where’d ya go?!

Well, I am sure you have all figured it out, as I have gotten a little quiet on here and twitter. Recently, I feel as if I lost my running mojo. I still love running, just struggle to get myself out there to do it. I still make speed workouts every week, but, in general, I have slowed down considerably in my weekly mileage, and even in my workouts. Honestly, I just feel exhausted and unfocused all around.

Let’s be honest, until the end of April, my life has been a whirlwind of go-go-go. I was training for my first half marathon in January (have completed 3 to date), graduated with my masters, began studying for a certification exam that I took April 28th, prepared for a belated wedding reception in PA, was the social media co-chair for the Race for the Cure, all while working full time. After the race on May 5th, I honestly ran out of things to do on my schedule, well, big things. I wasn’t training for anything, wasn’t studying for anything, wasn’t attending meetings at night… nothing. I could honestly come home from work, and sit. I cannot remember the last time I could do that. I would be lying if I said that isn’t exactly what I’ve been doing. Perhaps my body is finally realizing it can sit still… and is running with that option, literally sucking my energy out of my body. I have been eating healthy, so it’s not a sudden depletion of energy due to filling it with crap.

This past week, this has been a struggle for me. I went to the speed workout, and killed it on mile repeats, but other than that, didn’t do anything this week. Physically, I am pretty sure it is what my body needs, but mentally, not doing anything, has been hard. I feel lazy and unmotivated. I feel like a slacker. I can’t seem to synchronize my body’s feeling with my brain’s thinking. They seem to be at opposite ends, and this isn’t doing my mind or body any good. I just can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that this doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I don’t have to be going all out to be happy or feel as if I am doing something. Is there a happy middle ground? Can I find it??

I think part of the other problem is, I briefly became a part of a running team. While I enjoyed the thought of the camaraderie and support, it became more of a focus on fulfilling the goals of a few vs focusing on individual goals. For a brief moment, I lost my goals… and I seem to be struggling to relocate them. Perhaps, I was able to to lose them, because I really didn’t have any set goals at this point in regards to running. I wanted to run a half marathon. Then, I wanted to run 3 in 90 days to become a half fanatic. I have accomplished those goals. Now what? And the bigger question, can I run with no clear goal to focus on? Run to just run, because I love it? I love running, how my body feels, how it clears my mind… but, I think that since I started running, I have always had a goal, perhaps out of fear of stopping or getting lazy without one. Is this what I need? To see where the road takes me, no goals for a bit?

Or, to trick my mind, does that need to be my goal, run to enjoy the run. I’ve heard that saying a lot lately as I wrestle with my lack of energy and focus. Enjoy the run. Oddly, my third half marathon, Rockin Rabbit… I truly enjoyed. I was tired going into this one, having done a lot of training and running another half 3 weeks earlier, so I didn’t go into it with a plan to PR, but, to finish and enjoy it. It was a paved trail run (mostly) and near Lake Mead, the scenery was beautiful. This wasn’t my best race, I got a blister, my achilles was sore, I was tired… but, I truly enjoyed this run. I enjoyed the view, took a few pics along the way, talked with some people. I didn’t PR and the last 3 miles I ran with a popped blister, but I finished and loved that race.

I spent this past weekend resting, initially I felt like an unmotivated slug, annoyed that I couldn’t get myself to be active… really. I’ve come this far in my journey to become healthy… and here I sit on the couch with a book. That’s the best I can do? And then, it hit me… that, for that moment, this is the best I could do. It’s called self-care. That thing we all sometimes forget. I know I do. I go and go and go… and then collapse. Not effective by any means. The more I thought about it, the more I realized…. this is it. The root of my issues…. balance and self-care. I gained weight and got lazy because I didn’t think I had the time or ability to “do it right” when it came to getting healthy. I couldn’t ever 100% commit to anything, whether it was weight watchers, walking, the gym… anything. After awhile, I stop progressing. I slide back into old ways…. I think right when the true change is within grasp, that opportunity to really become something new and exciting, to accomplish something big… I back away. Better to not try than try and fail? I think I have known this… but never fully admitted it. I can list off my accomplishments this past year and a half, but, can list what I didn’t do, where I failed, what I could have done better. So, what comes next? Why, have I been unable to continue to lose weight? Why have I suddenly lost all desire/energy/urge to be active? What gives?!

I have finally, finally verbalized what’s behind this… what my issues are. It’s fear. Now what? How do I push through this and get myself active again, lose the rest of the weight, and rekindle that super happy awesome feeling?  This quote Monday from RW really hit home for me….

Training for a race is sort of like a metaphor for life—it shows you how important goals are, it shows you how much you are capable of, it shows you the power of dedication. I’ve never run 13.1 miles, but I know I can do it. I will do it. ~Ashley Cadaret

I wrote most of this Sunday night and Monday… dealt with a long day at work Monday night, some personal issues I’ve been wrestling with… so, even after my friend canceled the run scheduled (this is always a good excuse for me to not go) I made myself walk out the door for a run. It helped that right after work I changed into my run clothes, so I was ready to go. I did a short run, 2.2 miles, and it wasn’t a good run at all. But, it was a run. It was hot, I was blah… but, I kept going. My mantra was dig deeper, you got this. It worked. I am so proud of myself, you would think I just ran a marathon. It’s the little things, right? It may be slow, but I think things will come together again, I have a great support system, I should really lean on them. Tomorrow is speed work. I will enjoy that, as I always do.

Have any of you been in this frame of mind or had this struggle? What worked for you? Any thoughts, suggestions, motivations?  Send ’em my way!!