The struggle is real

This has been another less than stellar marathon training cycle for me. But here I am, with just seven weeks to go before my next race. I’m less prepared than I want to be, but amazingly, I’m more prepared than I thought I might be. I say that as I had an ambitious goal of 18 miles yesterday on my long run – and feel like I can manage that 20 miler that is planned for next week, too.

In this life of ‘after’, I’m finding it really hard to get motivation and energy to do things that previously wouldn’t have been so hard. Some days, doing the simplest things drains so much energy that I can’t do more than just the motions of life. The depression I’ve experienced since my mom was sick and died has been real, and it has greatly affected my overall well-being. As a runner, I find it very ironic that people always talk about how getting out the door for a run can help you feel so much better and lift the anxiety, elevate the mood and restore energy.

But what if you can’t even find the strength and energy to put your shoes on?

This is where I’ve been for well over a year. As I am going through it all, I’m trying to be kind to myself and allow the grief some space while not allowing myself to completely succumb to wanting to do nothing. It has meant an adjustment with my training; I’m not as consistent and I take more rest days. I feel like doing an extra rest day each week has helped me to then lace up on other days when I know I get a ‘free pass’ day if I really am not feeling it. But I only get the one ‘free pass’ day each week – so I try to use it wisely.
I’m also not as consistent with the quality of my running, and the interval and hill training sessions on the treadmill have been sporadic at best. The trickle-down effect is that I just can’t expect as much in the way of results on race day.

Yet through all of the struggles, my one bright spot is that I somehow haven’t abandoned my weekly long runs. Full disclosure: these long runs aren’t as strong or as ‘easy’ as they once seemed to be, but I am still getting them done. On the best of days, an 18- or 20-mile run is an accomplishment. In the summer heat of the Cayman Islands, it’s that much harder. That much harder to get out the door, to have adequate hydration and fueling, to push yourself when you are so hot and tired that you want to stop after mile three (or 10 or 13).

So in what has been feeling like another ‘failed’ training cycle for me when my potential has been there but my will has not, I’ll try to be happy with the fact that I haven’t really ‘failed’. It’s a bit more of adjusted expectations and different results. Life and running have definitely both been a real struggle, and I’m just trying to get through it all as best as I can. So today, I will enjoy the feeling of accomplishment of finishing another 18 mile run – when even getting out the door to start was never a given.

 

How are you doing? What struggles are you facing – in running or life? How are/have you handled apathy and complete lack of interest in doing things that used to bring you joy? If you’ve emerged on the other side, when did you know that you were ‘through’? Happy running everyone!

7 thoughts on “The struggle is real

  1. Robyn, you are doing exactly the right thing to be kind to yourself and have patience. The fact is, you ARE getting off the sofa and running, which is extremely positive and encouraging. Take comfort in just completing your upcoming marathon, rather than comparing it with your others. Think of this as your marathon that reassures you that you can keep going. Slowly things will feel better. And your moments of joy will return. It does take a long time. Your running really is helping you. Btw, are you really running in the Cayman Islands?!

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    • Hi Jane, thanks for the comments. I realize that if I have a time goal, I haven’t put in the work to achieve it. So I’ll need to sit back (so to speak) and enjoy the experience instead. I’m just glad that I’ve mustered up energy to do as much as I have, especially given how I’ve felt for a long time now.

      And yes, I run in the Cayman Islands! I have lived here for almost 10 years. It’s great most of the time, but August – October can be brutally hot & humid! The levels of chaffing after a run are always a fresh circle of hell to deal with! But while my miles on my long runs hover around 11min/mi, when I go somewhere cooler, I am sooo much faster! So I slog through knowing that it will pay off at some point.

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      • Wow! Yes, when you live where it gets to be -20C you are motivated to get through the miles asap, although you don’t have to worry about overheating! 😏

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