When Running Isn’t Fun Anymore

Last Spring I was burnt out. The month before my goal race, I didn’t want to train anymore. It took every ounce of energy to get myself out the door. It wasn’t the typical “oh I’m just tired from training” feeling, nope. I literally hated going out for a run. Though I’ve trained for a bit since last year, I haven’t loved running like I did training in 2013. 

Yeah, you read that right. Since 2013. Four years ago. 

I loved traing that year. I love every single moment of it. I was PRing like crazy, and yeah, I’ve PRd a couple races since that, but it still doesn’t feel the same. I don’t know what it is. Okay, that’s a lie, I kind of think I do. I’m a little bit in love with CrossFit. Hear me out though… 

The summer of 2013 is when I started that serious rehab for my tendinitis. I met my physical therapist who got me back to 100% and then some. He recommended I check out his new office when it opened — in a CrossFit gym.  Somehow when they finally opened in 2014, I did. For somebody who won’t go to Chipotle, new coffee shops, etc. to order food (because, well, anxiety) I’m still amazed I brought myself to the gym that first day knowing nobody. 

Even though I’ve been a member since then, I haven’t ever been a regular CrossFitter, either. I’d try to make it once a week, sometimes not showing up for a month at a time. I was always focused on running and that damn half marathon or 5k PR (still haven’t gotten it), or the marathon. CrossFit wasn’t the goal, it was a means to get me to running goals. 

Truthfully, I’ve been afraid to really give in like I want to because I’ve been afraid I’m going to totally abandon running. I’m a runner. I like to race. I like to get faster. I’m not a CrossFitter, geez. 

Except I am. And maybe it’s time I stop trying to force myself to continue hard training towards a hobby (because that’s all it is) that I’m not loving. I’ve made a lot of friends through the running social media, some of which are my very best real life friends now. Because of that, it’s always been a little difficult to abandon running. It feels like a best friend I’m slowly kicking out of my life. In fact, I don’t know how to not think about my life in terms of running. 

What’s my next race? What’s my next goal? When will I want to race again? 

I listened to one of Lindsey Heins’ podcasts this summer with Kim Hoban to which I could totally relate.  It’s silly but it kind of made me feel better about wanting to focus my efforts elsewhere.  Kim’s focus was entirely on running for quite a while but, guess where it is now? Uh huh. 

Sometimes I forget why I’ve always run, though. 

I do it for competition. I like to beat myself and I definitely like to beat other people. I never did it for fitness, to lose weight, or to look a certain way. Lately though, and maybe it’s because I’ve been lifting more, but I find myself drawn to exercise for a physical reason that isn’t completion. That’s a first for me. I’m enjoying the lifting because I’m loving what it’s doing to my body. It’s weird to admit that. It feels a little vain, too. But I can’t lie, hello muscles and hello baby abs that running never gave me. 

In the words of my grandma, when she’s done sidetracking and rambling… “Anywhooooo!”

So anywho, I’ve talked a lot about nothing for no good reason other than I have thoughts and I have a blog with a paid domain name I should use more often. Run Fast or Faster might need a new name soon…

A Look at 2015, Into 2016

It feels appropriate to reflect on the past year as I’m sitting on the couch starting off 2016 with an awful hangover.  Even though I enjoy a beer or glass of gin or whiskey on the rocks every few days, I rarely go all out and now I remember why.  Oof.  How did I do this almost every weekend when I was in college?  The only perk of feeling so terrible is that Dunkin has been totally lazy too and we’ve spent all day and night on the couch snuggling, plus I finally get to catch up on what I’ve been missing during the holidays! Continue reading A Look at 2015, Into 2016

Why?

In a roundabout way, somebody asked me on Twitter why I bother running when it seems like I haven’t been able to for quite some time and when I am, it hurts.  Good question.

A short, easy answer?  I’m naturally competitive and I love the adrenaline rush of a good run.
Somehow I don’t think the short, easy answer is what people who ask that question are looking for.

I smiled like this for days after finishing my first half marathon.
Did I really just run 13.1 miles?

I like knowing that in September of 2012, I ran my first half marathon.  It was hard, painful, and downright ugly.  In fact, I’d go as far as saying it sucked, but the feeling of finishing brought me to tears.

I like knowing that in May of 2013, I ran my second half marathon.  I set a lofty goal for myself of dropping to 1:50, which I never thought would happen because it was over :30 faster/mile.  I finished in under 1:43, a 15 minute PR for a 13 mile race.  You do the math.

I like looking back at my training for my first half marathon and laughing at how pitiful it really was.  Now, I like looking back at my training for my second half marathon and laughing that I barely hit 25 miles per week at my peak week, when most weeks were 20 miles or less.

I like to imagine the places I can continue to go.

Yes, improvements can be made in plenty of other aspects of exercise.

I could start body building and be happy when I can bench press an extra few reps week after week.
I could start cycling and feel accomplished when I hit a new high on the wattage.
I could start swimming and be happy when I finally learn how many laps equals a mile.

These are all things to be proud of (and I still would be, especially that swimming one) but for me, it just isn’t my thing.

Did I really just run when it was 15 degrees outside?
Did I really just run when it was 15 degrees outside?

Nothing will compare to setting out on a cold weekend morning when the world is still sleeping and returning to your warm home and find that the world is still sleeping.
There is nothing like tackling a trail that seemed impossible a month ago, but this time feels effortless.
Finishing in the top of your age group, even if the race is tiny and non-competitive, never gets old.
And the first time you run further than you’ve ever run before makes you want to tell everyone, even if “everyone” doesn’t care.

I don’t run to maintain my weight.  I don’t run to improve my health.  I don’t run so I can “eat whatever I want”.  I don’t run because it doesn’t involve any real equipment or gym membership.  I don’t run because somebody else does.  I run because quite simply, I effing love it, even when I hate it.

I spend an hour every week in physical therapy, have spent hundreds of dollars attending physical therapy between gas and co-payments, and deal with aches, pains, and doctors visits when things are awry because running is a part of me.  You can tell me I’m hurting my joints; I’m wasting hours that could be spent elsewhere; I’m spending money that could be put towards some other ridiculous purchase.  It doesn’t matter.

I have one life to live.  I choose to spend it doing something I love.

I can only hope everyone else finds that “something” to love which makes them tick, too.