Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Ugly Side of Running


In both life and running I generally try to be positive. But running isn't always sunshine, rainbows, and endorphins. 

After today's 15.33 mi long run I just wanted to curl up and cry. Truthfully, I might have wanted that about 8 miles into the run. I felt the same way after my last 16.4 mi and 10 mi runs too. I walked way more today than I'd care to admit. I stopped for a walk break 3 minutes into a run interval. Yep, it was that bad today.

The logical side of me says there's absolutely no reason why I shouldn't be able to run those distances-- I'm strong, I eat the right stuff, the distances are well-known. Something has just been off. It's probably in my head. But can my thoughts really physically affect my body? Can negative quitty thoughts make my heart rate higher than normal and my legs feel like concrete pillars? I honestly don't know the answer to that. 

I'm searching for physical reasons for these problems. For any little thing that might be different lately to cause me to feel like I can't finish these long runs. This is probably way too much information so feel free to leave now if you don't want to read it :) but my first realization was that I was right at the height of my menstrual cycle during today's run and my last 16.4 mi run. I decided to do some Googling and lo and behold! There were plenty of articles about running and menstruation. If you're running into a similar problem check out these articles: 

How to Run with the Flow of Your Menstrual Cycle
How Menstruation Affects Your Running    

I don't know that I'm completely convinced that this is the culprit and Nick definitely isn't convinced. His response when I suggested this could be the reason is that we had a almost perfect training cycling for the Philadelphia Marathon and I definitely had my period throughout the months of training for it. I think maybe the worst days of it could have shifted from mid-week, when I'm not running long, to now the weekends when my long runs are taking place. 

Whatever the reason, mentally, I don't feel like I'm in a good place for running long right now. I haven't had a good long run since the marathon in November. I've had good intermediate distance runs, but nothing that has reminded me of how strong I truly am. It's making me upset and it's making Nick frustrated that we worked so hard and now I have a quitty attitude. In my head though, I don't know that it's me being quitty-- I really do feel these physical differences in heart rate and muscular strength. 

When I'm in a bad mental place for running I just don't want to run for 3 hours or more every.single.weekend in order to get marathon distance long runs in (the woes of being a slower runner..). It's exhausting to think about. Maybe it's the winter running blues? I really don't like the cold very much.. 

just about sums it up

I think it's time to focus more on a distance that I love-- the half marathon. Still a challenge, but training for it does not need to take over your life. And I've probably run 13.1 miles or more too many times to accurately count. 

I need to feel that I am strong, capable, and badass again. 

Running isn't always pretty. It's real. It mirrors life in so many ways. It's how we deal with the struggle and pain that defines who we are. 

So tell me, how do you deal with the ugly side of running? How do you stay positive and motivated?

♥AK