I’ve been struggling a lot lately getting into the groove with running again. Physically I had a bad winter. Between recovering from adrenal fatigue and living with sciatica, I just simply wasn’t running. Never mind the fact that I despise cold weather running. I actually enjoyed having a bit of a break, after all the marathon training last year.
On the physical side of things I’m doing a lot better. My super-duper vitamin injections and supplements helped with the adrenal fatigue (not to mention more daylight hours), and the sciatica has improved, thanks to some brutal massages, tons of stretching and trading in my office chair for a stability ball. My bad hip isn’t 100%, but it’s not preventing me from running anymore, which is the main part.
CBG and I are now on the wedding countdown (101 days to go, in case anyone is curious!) and we’ve both committed ourselves to getting into better shape before the big day. So for the last month or so I’ve really been making an effort to get out there and run in the mornings, now that my physical issues aren’t as troublesome.
I’m still encountering problems, though — of the mental variety. Those of you who are runners know that in order to be successful at distance running, there is a certain “zone” you need to get into when you’re out there. It’s a special kind of head space; I think of it as moving meditation. It’s where you’re able to let go completely of how your body is feeling and allow your mind to take you places other than where you are right at the moment. My long runs have allowed me to plan future events, mull over past and current problems, dream about possibilities. I simply let my mind go where it wants and enjoy the ride, without having to force anything.
But the problem right now is that I absolutely can’t find that zone. I can’t find the zone and so every single step of every single run pretty much sucks. And as soon as I find myself getting into “The Zone”, I snap myself out of it somehow.
“This sucks, I’m only doing 5k and that’s it.”
“It’s going to be a busy day at work today.”
“My hip is starting to hurt. Am I pushing myself too hard?”
“Tomorrow I’m sleeping in, dammit.”
“I really should run tomorrow.”
“What if I’m never able to do another long distance run again?”
“Why can’t I think about something else?”
“Okay, I’m going to think about wedding planning. We have a million things to do.”
“Shit. Hill. I hate this hill. This hill sucks.”
“I need to start doing some hill work. I’m too slow. This shouldn’t hurt this much.”
“Did I really run a marathon only 6 months ago?”
“Hey! I just thought about something else for like five whole minutes. Shit. Now I’m thinking about running again.”
“F*ck this noise, I’m going home.”
You get the idea. The craptastic quality of these runs have put me in a place where I’m allowing doubt to creep in. I worry about my ability to ever run long distance again. I worry that I’m getting old and my body is wearing out. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to get over this mental mountain.
And with all of the running doubts come other doubts as well. About myself, my life, choices that I’m making. Everything is in question these days — nothing is safe. I feel like if I could get out there for a good long run, I’d be able to sort through it all and get everything straight in my mind. The cruel irony, though, is that my mind seems to be getting in the way of me having a good run long run.
And so round and round it goes.