Running breaks and different challenges

This is Marina. Marina is a mood. And it turns out cats sleeping with their tongues out is normal. (The more you know, right?)

Dorothy Beal is a runner, business owner and blogger who once commented that “the more I run, the more I want to run. But the less I run, the less I want to run.”

I could end the blog right there, since that’s where I’ve been for the past week and a half.

After the virtual Indy Monumental, the exhaustion kicked in. In normal years I take the week following the Indy race off to recover and reset, and recovery from the half was part of it. The other part was my anxiety over unemployment flaring up.

Age has helped me get pretty good about avoiding comparison traps on most things. Unless we’re talking about running. It seems that whenever I take a break from running, a runner I admire on Instagram announces they’re going on a run streak. Which is awesome, don’t get me wrong. And I know from attempting previous run streaks that I’m definitely not a daily runner personality type – I need variety in my workouts, or else I get burnt out and apathetic.

But sometimes the practical part of my brain gets talked over by the stupid, irrational side. The irrational mean voice in my head likes to make snide comments. “It’s three miles, about a half hour. You can spend five minutes on the toilet scrolling Instagram and then sit on the couch all morning, so why don’t you get off your ass and do something?” chides Mean Voice.

… I’m not working on this from the toilet, in case anyone was wondering.

My best guess as to why I fall into the comparison traps over running but not any other topic is because I gather a ton of my self-esteem from physical/fitness accomplishments. Which is highly ironic to me since I never knew running marathons was a thing people did, and it wasn’t something I ever saw coming for myself.

Although I grew up with a mom who was active – evening walks, bike rides, hikes – I was not an athletically talented or sporty kid. At all. Gym class was the bane of my existence. In retrospect I probably shouldn’t have taken gym so seriously, but it always seemed like the class schedule gods were out to get me and make sure I was in the same gym class as the guy I was currently crushing on, the girl who he was crushing on that I couldn’t hold a candle to, and the jocks who took volleyball way too seriously.

Most of jocks weren’t too bad outside of physical education, but for that 42-minute period I wondered why I couldn’t just smack them with the nearest heavy object and get away with it. Anyways, on to the story.

I started running in 2016,  on an unseasonably warm Sunday in February. By this point I was 24 and had been regularly active since I was 17 – pilates, light resistance training, and living on the elliptical. I had tried running very on and off and couldn’t get into it, but then that day something changed. I walked-ran eight miles in what turned out to be inappropriate footwear up and down the Alum Creek trail, and the next morning – in spite of the plantar fasciitis flare up – I felt that urge to run again.

I’m a firm believer that self-esteem is something we all have to earn, and it goes beyond simply how we feel about ourselves. Running showed me a part of myself I hadn’t met yet – the sweaty, exhausted but accomplished side that had run out of damns to give by the time my runs were completed. All the voices in my head from childhood – which sounded a lot like my fourth-grade bully, incidentally – that would come back and tell me running is too hard and there’s no point trying to get faster would be shushed. But most importantly, runs made me feel alive and I was ready to run a local race.

The 2016 Columbus 10k came up that first Sunday in June, so I signed up for it. I knew the 10k would be my make or break confirmation if I should commit myself to racing.

The final verdict: the runners high confirmed I was doing the right thing.

Which was a good thing, since I had already registered to run the half distance in the Columbus Marathon that upcoming October.

Fast forward to now. Eight fulls and 13 half marathons later, I’m struggling to pull the motivation out of me and to go run again. I’ve been having too much fun spending my mornings with the cat, a mug of coffee and sometimes a cookie. A part of me is enjoying the time “off” but a part of me knows I should get back in the saddle sooner than later.

So I’m committing myself to cross training and soul care from now until the end of 2020. I’m telling the Mean Voice to shut up and taking care of myself today. And I’m going to snuggle my kitty once she comes out from her secret hiding spot I pretend not to know about.

Have a great week ahead friends.



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