The Day I Didn’t Run

21316359_10155519749525450_8504315908712058524_o

I love the island iguanas!  They are such awesome creatures!  

 

The stress finally beat me down…. to the point where I can’t even run today.  Something has now taken over my body and I am fighting the urge to cough, using a tissue every 2 minutes and suffering through a pounding headache.  It sucks.

What sucks about this sickness even more is that today I finally get to see my husband for the first time since the evacuation.  It has been nearly 7 weeks since the girls and I got on that C-130 and left our home behind.  We are still waiting, impatiently, in limbo.  In those 7 weeks, I have mulled over every single decision I had to make from the moment I got on that plane.  Most days I regret getting on that plane, but I would still be here now regardless.  Every decision I have made, I made alone.  I contemplate over and over about whether or not each decision was the right decision.  I spend my days thinking things through over and over again. There are still more decisions that need to be made and it will be a long time before this is over.   The weight of that has pushed me down today, but I won’t let it keep me down for long.

Today is the day I didn’t run.  Instead, I sit here and read the news and glance through pictures of a demolished Puerto Rico.  Every time I do I fight the urge to cry.  I guess I am just an emotional human being or maybe just being human is what makes me like this.  I’m torn between getting back to Puerto Rico immediately so I can  help rebuild my home and staying here to make sure my children have what they need without worry about how we will meet those needs.  The decision seems so easy for some people, but it isn’t for me.  People tell me that I don’t have to make a decision right now, but living in limbo is torture for me.  It is uncomfortable and messy.  The same could be said for the current living situation in Puerto Rico.

I’m at a loss for words when I look at the pictures of devastation.  I’ve seen this in the news before, many times in the past.  But this time it is different.  This time it is the place I just started to call “home.”  I was uprooted (as I am every few years) and went where I was told to go without choice.  It took a few months for me to warm up to the idea.  Then I arrived and I fell in love.  Now a hurricane has ravaged my home and it is heartbreaking.  The island needs help and it will continue to need help for a long time.

You don’t expect this to happen to you.  You don’t expect to be “home”less  and “possession”less and lose your way of life as  you knew it.  As a military family, we have always taken for granted that sense of security in knowing that we will always have a home and be taken care of.  For now that sense of security is lost.  We are just here flapping in the wind waiting to take back our lives, as are many others.

Are you wondering what you can do to help?  Right now, the lack of clean water is a big problem.  There is a group working in the area where I live.  They are providing residents with water filters so they can make water safe for drinking.  Please donate to keep this effort ongoing:

https://www.facebook.com/waterfiltersforpr/

 

 

 

Advertisements

Hurricane Motivation

22554947_10155636413885450_8446851385746669323_n

Fancy Pumpkin Patch 5k trophy.  Is that pumpkin smiling or laughing at me??

It has been a long time since I ran a 5k without kids… maybe at least 4 years.  I don’t run 5k’s because you are supposed to run them fast.  I prefer to run slow and steady for a longer period of time.  I’m too old to run fast.  Or so I thought.

As most of you already know, I have been in a bit of a funk lately.  No real reason for that, unless you count getting displaced by a hurricane, losing most of your household goods and having your family split apart.  But enough with dwelling on my woeful circumstances.  My concern most recently has been my history of depression coming back to haunt me.  Whether or not people want to believe it, depression is a real illness and should not be taken lightly.  It is not just about feeling sad.  Other symptoms include hopelessness, helplessness, guilt, fatigue, loss of interest in normal activities (or activities you once thought were fun), difficulty concentrating and making decisions and loss of appetite.

It has been about 14 years since I have taken medication for depression.  Instead, I have used exercise as my medicine and it has worked.  There were times I worried about it coming back, like when I had a protruding disk in my back and was unable to run (and barely walk) for 3 months.  I did my PT religiously and then I found a way to gradually get back into running… by doing triathlons.  From there I took it all the way to a half Ironman.  Yes, I fight back and I fight hard.

Two days after the hurricane hit and I was stateside, I went outside for a run.  I could barely run.  I dragged my feet and quit after 2 miles.  It was a tough week and I struggled with every run I attempted.  Honestly, I felt like I could barely do anything.  Then one day I went for a run in the woods and I felt the fight begin to stir within me.  I kept fighting and some days I would win and other days I would lose.  It has remained a tough battle even after all of this time.

Last week I signed up for a 5k on the nearby Navy base.  It was free so I thought it couldn’t hurt.  As I already mentioned, I don’t really do 5k’s.  I just figured I would at least get out and run with a group of people.  Then last night I felt an ache in the pit of my stomach and had second thoughts about going.  I made up excuses in my head:  “Well, I don’t have a costume” or “It’s free so it doesn’t matter if I show up or not.”  Even this morning after I dropped off the kids at school I was still debating in my head.  I went back to the house and just planned on running alone around the neighborhood.  Somehow I managed to tell myself to at least drive to the base and I could just change my mind if I wanted to.  I had to go the Exchange anyway.

Next thing I know I was lined up at the starting line.  Once again, I just told myself I was going to get a run in with a group of people.  I mean, I even had taken a weight training class the day before and my legs were still hurting.  What could I even do if my entire body ached?  The countdown started and my adrenaline and need for competition kicked in.  I know by now that I can’t just “run” a race.  I have to race a race.  I started off too fast as I always do (but I always coach people to start off slow and finish strong… just so you know).   Then all of a sudden my emotions surfaced.  It wasn’t joy or sadness.  It was anger.  All of a sudden I was just pissed off.

The sorrow and woes had turned to anger.  The many stages of grief.  Right.  I summoned up a new mantra:  “Fuck you Maria!”  I repeated it over and over again in my head, and maybe out loud a few times (but only when I could actually breathe).  When my body started to shut down, I fought against the pain and lack of air in my lungs.  As I got to mile 2, my mind was definitely on the prize.  I knew I had to win one of those trophies that I had seen on a table at the start.  At that point, it was definitely possible.  I knew there were only 4 or 5 woman ahead of me.  I just wanted to prove to myself that I had the fight within me and I could overcome all of the crap that has rained down on my family.  I know it seems crazy to obsess over a cheap trophy, but it symbolized not just a win in a race, but a win in this internal battle.  I fought so hard that last mile.  I thought I was slowing down so I kept pushing hard (and I found out after I finished that my mile 2 was actually the same exact lap time as my mile 3).

I walked away with that trophy after placing 2nd in my age group.    My finishing time was 23:10 and I am pretty sure that is my second best (if not best) 5k time ever… and I am not getting any younger!  Um, and let’s just go ahead and throw this out there:  I was faster than most of the Navy guys.

Even though I have a headache from the heat and lack of proper hydration, I feel much better today.  I feel like I have a fight stirring within me again.  I will continue to have the strength to do what needs to get done and I will even go beyond that in any way I can.  The next step is to find a purpose now that extends beyond my motherly duties.  Running keeps me on the right path and it will take me to where I need to go.  With that thought, I hope everyone faced with difficulty figures out what gives them the strength to move forward.

Running and Grieving

21751792_10214333213713926_1109306331742762867_n

Evacuation Day.  I had no clue it would be months before we are able to return home.

A few months after my mother passed away I ran a 6 mile race in her memory.  As I ran, I thought about her and how she was so passionate about running and I wondered if I would ever feel the same way.  It took me a few years, but I eventually became just as passionate about running and I also realized that it provided a sense of reprieve from some of the difficulties I encountered in my life.  Running became my medicine for depression and it also became a time when I could think about big ideas, make spiritual connections and grieve.

Grief has always been a part of my life.  I was born into grief.  Two parents who had a second child after losing the first to SIDS.  The brother I never met.  I didn’t understand grief at the time, but I grew up wondering what it would have been like to have Joshua here with me.  He probably would have been a great big brother who would have protected me from everything that was thrown at me.  Instead I was on my own.  The grief my parents suffered left them broken and unable to properly take care of me and their marriage.  As a result I became very close to my grandparents.

The sorrow I endured during my grandmother’s passing was my first intense encounter with grief.  I could not even bear to look at her lying in that coffin because I wanted her to talk to me and tell me everything would be okay.  Just two years later my mother passed.  Along with that grief came guilt.  I had always made it difficult for my mother to get close to me.  She wanted me to forgive her and she tried to make things right.  I had built a wall around me and did not let her in.  Years later I finally gained a new perspective and instead of focusing on what she had done wrong, I focused on the things she got right, including running.  She is the reason why I started running and the reason why I started this blog.

Grief and worry entered my life again soon after my first child was born.  I received a call that my father had been diagnosed with cancer and it was going to be a rough road ahead.  It was constant worry for the following year.  Watching him get sick from chemo, wondering if he would be able to fight it.  We brought his granddaughter over as often as we could.  She was his light in a dark tunnel.  I just didn’t think I could bear to lose another parent.  But my dad fought… and won.

Years later I went for a run as usual, but this time as I ran I grieved for my grandfather.  At that point in my life, I realized I HAD to run.  I reflected on the memories I cherished and the great qualities my grandfather had passed along to me.  Around this time is when I stopped running with music.  I didn’t need it and I didn’t want it.  People often ask me now “How do you run without music?”  I just do.  I just get inside my head and do what I need to do to feel better.  Maybe one day I am thinking about the crazy squirrels scrambling up the trees or another day I am contemplating the purpose of life.

A few years ago new sorrow arrived.  My stepmother was diagnosed with a brain tumor that turned out to be cancerous.  The doctors didn’t give her much time but she was determined to fight.  She fought for almost 2 years until the cancer won.  I had my own grief to work through, but this time I really became aware of my father’s grief.  I realized that another person’s grief can be absorbed by someone else.  This became more apparent a few months ago when my sister-in-law’s son passed away.  I never got the chance to know him very well, but I was still consumed by the grief of my stepbrother and sister-in-law.

Life appears to be an endless cycle of happiness and sadness.  With so much grief, I can’t let it consume me, change me or keep me down.  Running is my fight against grief.

More sorrow has entered my life and I have to go through the grieving yet again.  It is a different type of grief this time, but I know what grief feels like and this is it.  My family and I are hurricane victims.  We were torn apart and we have lost so much.  We have been displaced from our home and have been wandering around like lost souls.  Yesterday, I cried most of the day.  After I dropped the kids off at school, I sat in the car and sobbed.  I sobbed hard and long.  “Fuck you grief.”  Yesterday I became consumed by the grief and couldn’t hold myself together.  I let it come in and do its thing.  I grieved for the separation of my family.  I grieved for the separation from our friends.  I grieved for our damaged things we have spent 15 years collecting.  I grieved for my children who are suffering, but trying to keep moving forward (and doing a much better job than I am).  I grieved for all of the other families going through this.  I grieved for Puerto Rico.  I grieved for the pain my husband feels.   I grieved for the reality that we will never be the same.

Then this morning I ran.

A Lost Running Soul

17457726_10155001279630450_5834278080102900452_nI almost forgot how to use this blog… it has been so long.  I’m not sure why because I switched from a full-time job to a part-time job during the last year.  I would expect to have more time, but for some reason I can’t seem to find it.  I’m not even sure what to write about, but that change is creeping up on me and I can’t avoid it so I might as well embrace it and talk about it.

Ever since moving from Colorado to Virginia I have lost my running mojo.  It didn’t happen right away because I brought the groove with me and finished my first 50K and 50-miler a few months after the move.  After that, it just started to go downhill.  Maybe the problem was that I couldn’t find any hills to run up.  Or maybe it was the loss of my running buddies.  I tried to make new ones, but that only lasted a summer.  I used my full-time job as an excuse to avoid joining any running groups.  Maybe swamps just aren’t the right scenery for me.  I’m not sure what it was, but it was probably a combination of everything.

I shared my joy of running with clients and the students at my school.  That was my way to stay positively immersed in the sport.  I wasn’t necessarily happy about my own running, but I could be happy for others and encourage them to work hard and take on new challenges.  That kept the light burning.

Then the real slump came when I trained hard for a marathon that started off great until I crashed and burned far from my goal.  After that I swore off marathons for over a year.  Then I decided that I had to run the Marine Corps Marathon since we live so close to D.C.  Once again, I failed myself even more than the last marathon.  After that marathon, I swore off marathons again as I recovered from a nagging knee issue.  My focus became directed at my job as a fitness instructor.  Running became something I just did as a form of cardio.  I needed my strength for boot camp and weight lifting.

Spring arrived and brought a handful of local races.  Fine.  I told myself I would do the local half marathon for St. Patrick’s Day.  It was just a half.  I signed up and sort of trained.  Maybe I did few long runs when I could.  I wasn’t always motivated to wake up early on a Saturday like I used to be back in the day.  Gosh,  I remember the times I would get up at 4:00 AM to train for marathons with Team in Training in Florida.  That took dedication!  I just didn’t have it this time around.  There was no waiting for me.

I just went through the motions and made it to race day.  Then I really regretted signing up.  It was the most miserable weather I have ever experienced during a race.  Not even a below freezing half in Colorado could compare.  It was pouring rain, freezing cold and extremely windy.  Yet, I knew I was tough and could just deal with the suffering (and I had paid way too much money for that stupid race).  Ready, set, go!  I totally kicked ass.  I don’t know how.  Maybe misery loves company.  But I ran hard and finished stronger than when I started.  It was one of my strongest races since that 50-miler 2.5 years ago. Did that accomplishment set a spark?  Not really, but it proved that I was still fit and more than capable of new challenges.  I’m approaching 40 here, so any little bit of encouragement helps.

I know I have been dragging my feet through the streets of Chesapeake, VA.  We are on our way out and I feel like it is time to make amends with running.  I am going to make the most of our new destination and figure out some way to bring back the spirit of running.  The same goes for the triathlon.  My bike has sat in storage for the past 3 years. It is time to bring it back out and get moving at 20 mph again.  I just have to make the best of what Puerto Rico has to offer and find ways to work around any obstacles I know I will face.  There is a 50-miler in December…wonder if I should sign up?

 

The Ripple Effect

My girls pushing their grandma on the tire swing.

My girls pushing their grandma on the tire swing.

As I sat in an interview the other day, I was asked why I had decided to switch careers and focus on teaching fitness classes rather than cute little first graders.  It was the day after my stepmother had just passed away so the answer came right to me.  It was such an easy question to answer, but my emotions almost took over.

As a child I was raised pretty much in the same way most kids around me were raised: eating meat and potatoes for dinner and Captain Crunch for breakfast.  Even now, my dad sees nothing wrong with this type of diet.  Well, my husband doesn’t really either, but he is a bit more willing to follow suit.  When it comes to my own kids, I know that I will not apply my childhood eating habits.  Often I am given grief (even by my own family members) for the food journeys we currently partake in.  My husband will feed the kids bacon when I am gone, but then adheres to the meatless version upon my return.  My friends just find it rather fascinating and occasionally ask what is so great and healthy about eating cardboard.  Then there are the “no candy” policies I have to enforce with teachers.  Eating healthy is basically a daily battle so I can see why most people might just throw their hands up and roll through a McDonald’s drive-thru.  I know I am not perfect either, but I keep coming back to fight.

However, after the toll that heart disease and cancer has taken on my own family, I can’t stop fighting the battle.  If you can avoid a heart attack or cancer, why not at least try?  It’s not going to hurt anybody if you decide to add a few extra veggies to your plate or try a few meatless dishes each week.  Sure, you might still have a heart attack or get cancer, but maybe it will be just a little easier to fight back.  I tried very hard when I spent a spring break with my stepmother (already sick with cancer at the time). I fed her vegan meals all week in hopes that it would make her better.  Of course there are forces of nature beyond our control, but we can at least try, right?

Yes, I know it is hard to chew on that piece of tofu when you would rather be chewing on a piece of meaty steak.  Maybe you have never been a morning person and can’t seem to roll out of bed in time to get to the gym before work.  Those are your choices to make and sometimes you choose not to.  It is especially challenging when you think you are alone and feel like you have no power to make positive changes in your life.

This is where I step in.  This is where I can be there to hold someone accountable with making the change.  I can encourage someone to come back to the boot camp class after finding the courage to try it out one day.  I can encourage someone to join me for a personal training session and find out that it really can be a simple process that fits nicely into your busy schedule.  I can encourage someone to find the strength within and train for and finish a half marathon.  That’s what I can do.  Or at least I can try to do just that.  I know I will not always succeed, but as with teaching small children, if I can at least make the difference in one person’s life, then I have done something meaningful and it will truly be worth the time and effort.

Running has always been an important part of my life and I have my mother to thank for introducing me to the sport as a child (even though I never liked running as a child).   I grew to love running and I strongly believe that it has made me a better person in so many ways.  A few years ago I decided that I would move beyond my personal love of running and learn to share my love of the sport with others.  And that has been an extraordinary experience thus far.  It would take me too long to write about all of the amazing adventures and stories I have experienced through my clients.

Here I am now, a few years after starting Inspired Miles Coaching LLC, and I have decided to take it even further.  It’s not about me becoming a better runner or more fit.  It’s not even about making money (however, an extra income would be helpful in raising 3 girls).  It’s about guiding others down this path to a healthier and stronger life.  I do realize it is not an easy task.  It takes motivation, dedication and a whole lot of patience.  A WHOLE LOT OF PATIENCE.  Lifestyle changes don’t happen overnight.  They might not even happen in a year.  It just takes small steps and a lot of faith in the process.

To me, being fit and healthy is not about looking good in a swimsuit (however, that is a nice bonus) and it is not about fitting in with the latest trends (crossfit, paleo, etc.).  It is just about being a better version of yourself…. from the inside out.  In the process, you might have some extra energy to keep up with your kids or add a few years to your life so you can watch your grandchildren grow.

Yes, the answer to that interview question was easy.  I am here because I am inspired to make a difference and help others see that they can make a change.  Their inspirational stories may then ripple out and touch the lives of others.  This is so big and important that someone out there may save another person’s life through this ripple effect.  My stepmother’s life could not be saved, but she fought so hard until the end.  Her fight lives on through me and I will continue the fight in her memory, my mother’s memory, my grandmother’s memory and my grandfather’s memory.  They all loved me so much and that will give me the strength to continue on this journey.

Time for a change

As a military spouse, I am constantly making changes and maintaining a certain degree of flexibility.  It’s impossible to stay at a job for longer than 3 years and my career intentions fluctuate with the ebb and flow of the tides.  However, as I reflect back on the past decade, there is a common theme in my pursuits: helping others achieve something great.  Whether it be helping a 6-year old learn to read or getting a client to the finish line of a marathon.  I know that my natural skill is teaching.  I am good at it and have become even better over the years.

I have dabbled in many different areas of education.  In college,  I started off as an intern for the Bureau of Land Management working at a science center teaching environmental science to elementary students in Alaska’s natural habitat.  I quickly moved into a paid position.  I somehow convinced my academic advisor, Rusty Myers (an avid runner who recently passed away), to grant me a senior project that involved designing and implementing a shark curriculum for 6th graders even though I had no knowledge of curriculum design or any classroom teaching experience.  However, the classroom teacher was extremely helpful in this whole process.  I have continued to use an updated version of the curriculum and it is one of my favorite subjects to teach.

Next I was off to actually learn more about sharks in the Bahamas and upon my return to Alaska I dipped into the social-emotional issues of teenagers.  The following year I packed up a car load of belongings and headed down to San Diego.  I immediately signed up to volunteer as a docent at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps and found joy in sharing my knowledge of the tidepool creatures found in the touch tank.  I did need to get paid so I searched the area for an opportunity that would fit me like a glove.  I drove out to Fiesta Island and walked right into a facility with a sign that read “SEACAMP.”  I remember walking back to the shark touch tank with the owner and telling him I had recently worked with sharks in the Bahamas in hopes of getting his attention.  Not sure if it was that or my natural ability to navigate through an interview, but he hired me and the next thing I know I was teaching marine biology to middle school students.  Not only was I teaching marine biology, but I was snorkeling, seine netting, boogie boarding, making visits to the aquarium and Sea World and setting up massive bonfires to roast marshmallows and tell spooky stories (okay, I really wasn’t good at telling spooky stories).

My love for the ocean somehow translated to seeking out the Coast Guard.  Not sure what happened there, but it was quite the adventure with many ups and downs (and rolling from side to side because that tends to happen a lot on a ship in the Bering Sea).  I learned a lot about what not to do as a leader and had to put together pieces I collected along the way in order to determine the qualities of a great leader.  I’m still collecting those pieces to fill in the puzzle, but I have a much better idea of what it is supposed to look like.

There was a time during my Coast Guard training when someone said to me that I acted more like an elementary school teacher than a platoon leader (I took it as an insult back then, but a few years later I finally agreed).  As soon as my military obligation ended I stepped foot into a Kindergarten classroom for the first time.  It was immediately scary and overwhelming (and there was lots of snot and drooling), but I managed to get hooked up with the most remarkable mentor teacher ever… and her name was also Heidi.  And wouldn’t it be my lucky year that as soon as I finished student teaching in her classroom she decided to retire and hand over the keys.  The first year in the classroom was rough, but the support from my colleagues was unprecedented and I made it through unscathed and ready for more.

Eventually, I gave birth to child number 2 and decided to wing it at home for a bit while supporting my former colleagues as their go-to substitute.  I couldn’t just stay home and take care of 2 children, though.  I had to stay busy so I worked on my Master’s Degree in Science Education.  Since my husband was still in the military, it was only a matter of time before we moved to Florida.  That is where my confidence in my teaching abilities was put to the test.  I miserably taught a rough 4th grade class for a few months. The discipline issues were too much and the scripted curriculum only added to the struggle.  There was no freedom outside of teaching to the test.  I backed down and returned my focus to finishing my Master’s degree even though I felt less confident about whether or not I would ever use it.  I still spent time in the classroom at my daughter’s elementary school and continued to search for the right path.

Well, the path took me down a road less traveled.  It sure was bumpy and I often felt unsure about which turns to take.  All it took was my Master’s degree in Science Education written on my resume.  They really didn’t ask many questions.  I should’ve been asking the questions.  I also should have had a degree in Special Education.  Let’s just say that teaching science (with limited resources) to middle and high school students who can not function in the public school system due to behavioral, social and emotional reasons was the most challenging job I ever took on.    On top of that, I never had any breaks during the day (we had to eat in the lunch room with all of the students) and I had to design my own curriculum for six different classes.  I often reflect back on that time because I don’t know where I had the energy to work full-time in the classroom, spend extra time working at home, train for the Goofy Challenge and raise 3 kids (with my husband deployed).  This time I was actually saved by a military move.

We arrived in Colorado and I said “that’s it, I’m done with this teaching stuff.”  I gave away most of my teaching supplies and resources and turned my attention to health and fitness.  In one weekend, my soon-to-be new boss interviewed a few dozen candidates.  I got the job.  Not only did I get the job, but I got paid what I was worth.  Not only did I get paid what I was worth, but it was part-time and I basically had the flexibility to choose my hours so we never paid for daycare.  At the fitness center, I did everything except teach the classes, but I watched, listened and participated.  With less time to spend working, I spent more time on my family and myself.  I trained hard and achieved many athletic feats during our time in Colorado.   It was the perfect balance of work, family and self.  I even received my run coach certification and started my own coaching business.  Then it was time to move and I left the state kicking and screaming.

Then we entered Virginia and for some reason I took a look at teaching employment opportunities.  One job description spoke to me right away and I said “the heck with it, I will just apply to this one and see what happens.”  The job was mine.  The past two years have been a mix of joy and terror.  Yet, I saw something I hadn’t seen before: my potential.  I became confident in my teaching and was able to navigate successfully through the terror and absorb the joyful moments.  However, maintaining the balance was a struggle.  It worked well for the first year and then I began to lose sight of my own needs.  My running motivation hit a wall and I found myself trapped on the treadmill.   I became tired and my health started to deteriorate.  At one point, I had a cold that lasted for two months.  The worst was when I lost partial hearing in my right ear and that compensated with a constant static noise.  I doubt I will ever see (or hear) any improvement.  My confidence in leadership waned once again and I began to feel like I was on a staircase with no railing.  On days I went home to complain, my husband repeated his mantra: “you just need to work for yourself.”

As the end of the school year approached I made my decision to move on.  I turned my attention back to fitness and decided I would put my personal trainer certification to good use.  I also decided to bring back my coaching business and I am currently working on putting all of the pieces back together.  As people ask me if I am going to teach somewhere else, I reply “Yes, I am going to teach, but it will be a different kind of teaching.”  I suppose I was always meant to guide others.  Even though the military moves have caused me to go back and forth in my endeavors, I am fortunate to have so many unique experiences.

Run Club

At my recent school I organized and coached a run club. These students finished a 5K! I found great joy in doing this.

Now it’s time for the next challenge!  It’s new and scary, but that’s pretty much all I’ve ever known.  On Sunday, for the first time in a very long time, I finally let my alarm go off at 6:00 AM so I could hop in the car and drive to the beach.  I ran outside.  It was tough and hot, sticky and buggy, but it was also exhilarating.  I ran past the swamp, up the tiny hills, over the roots, through the mud and greeted all of my fellow runners who were doing the same thing I was.

Running slump

I am not sure if it the heat, overtraining or my lack of mental toughness, but I have been in a running slump for the past two weeks or so.  Maybe I am a in a vacation mindset since I officially started my summer break last week.  You would think a slump would occur when the going gets tough and your schedule is hectic, but my current schedule could be compared to  how people function at a Bahamian resort.

The 100 degree temps (feels like 110 due to extreme humidity) could be part of the problem, but I tried powering through a few of those runs.  By powering through, I mean I spent one Saturday morning trying to get 20 miles in the bank.  I started the run at 7:15 am and I think it officially ended at around 11:30 because I had to stop on many occasions and then I ended up inside on the treadmill.  Who spends their entire Saturday morning trying to run 20 miles?  On top of all that, I am supposed to be training to run my fastest marathon ever.  How can I run if I am training at a snail’s pace?  It has been quite frustrating to say the least.

As a result of the frustration, my mental toughness has gone downhill.  I go out for a 5-mile run and am now counting down every mile.  A 5-mile run used to be easy.  Now it feels like that 5-mile run is actually a 20-mile run.  I can’t bear to think of completing one more mile.  Honestly, I just can’t wait for my runs to be over.  They suck.  Bad.

What the hell is wrong with me?  I think about trying a new sport, like kayaking or paddle boarding.  Yeah, I think I might change my sport.  Maybe something that is more conducive to this intense heat and humidity.  At least I could just jump in the water to cool off.  Maybe my legs just need a break.  I need to work on my arms.  Or flatten my tummy.

I’m on vacation.  That means more time for running.  Yet, I don’t want to get out and actually do it.  I have the time, but lack the motivation.  Maybe I need to be busy in order to get it done.  That makes no sense at all!  When I am in vacation mode I get lazy.  But I also just want to drink beer and eat cupcakes.  That will only make me run slower.  Then the vicious cycle just repeats itself!

Do I need a break from running?  Or should I attempt this BQ in August?  I was fast enough a month ago, but now I am not so sure.  I am also not so sure if I can make it 26.2 miles.