Saturday, December 20, 2014

And now for something completely different....

Back in 2011 I started getting group personal training at a gym. I was kind of broken as a runner and a human. A couple punches in the gut had me feeling miserable most days and I told my husband, "this is expensive, but I think it will help me feel like I'm moving forward in SOME way. And I need to feel that way." So, we found the money and I started a great relationship with a gym I love. I also found out that I had zillions of running muscle imbalances and enjoyed weightlifting. Who knew?

I did know I was burnt out on running and hurting. Running had turned into a never ending series of training for this and gotta hit this mileage and suddenly my hobby had started to feel like a job. At a time that I wasn't enjoying a lot of things in my life, the thing I was supposed to love doing wasn't even fun....My trainer at the gym was also a runner and she said, stick to half marathons for a bit so we can get you healthy and enjoying running again. So I did. When it got close to fall, I told her I was thinking maybe a full. She told me to wait for it. I took the year and didn't sign up for anything longer than a half marathon. Less stress, more running with friends and running for fun. I started to like running again and remembering how fun it was. And in 2012 I did three full marathons in 5 months and felt stronger than ever.

 Flash forward to 2014

2014 was a big year for me. I did my first 50 miler, attempted my second 50 miler, got in a few 50ks, and lots of good running along the way. But as November rolled in, I took a step back and realized I was 10 pounds heavier than I wanted to be… and I was tired. I was just sick and tired of always thinking I have a number to hit. Always looking at weekly mileage. Always running numbers. I was tired of the pressure from BIG race plans, tired of the “schedule”, and tired of that feeling that I HAD to go run for one reason or another. I think I was/am just a bit burnt out.
So, when I DNF’d at Tunnel Hill, I decided I would get excited about getting back to running for fun again. Running when I felt like it, not when a piece of paper or a looming race tells me I should. Just the thought of that felt nice. 

I also decided to get strong. I stormed into my gym one morning and told my trainers, "Guys, I want to be a weight lifter!" My current trainers who are not runners were thrilled to hear the plan and I realized I was really excited about it too. It gave me something new to focus on and it turned running back into something that I did because I love to do it. Running is a reward.

My thoughts for post Tunnel Hill running were to aim for 20 miles a week. My mileage for 50 mile training tended to hover around 40-50 miles a week. This was a BIG change. The first couple weeks I really felt like thirty would be better and then felt like a failure for not hitting the mark. But then I noticed my Achilles that was bugging me for a month or two was starting to feel better.... All the little things that I had accepted as normal after a year of lots of running were improving. THAT'S when 20 miles or less started to sound good for REAL.

My plan for the next few months? Get strong by lifting heavy things. I'll still be running, but I'll be running when it's fun. You know, "funning".