It wasn’t always this way. I didn’t always suck at running. I actually used to be quite good. As recently as April, I was running six days and sixty miles a week. I was on target for a 3:30 marathon. Go back a little further to before transition and I was on track to be a sub-3:00 marathoner by my next marathon. I was pretty proud of myself and loving every second of being a runner.
Then, I ran a horrible race in April and it’s been all downhill since. I had plans for two marathons this fall and dropped them both. I was on pace to easily break 2,000 miles this year. Now, I’m looking to fall just short of 1,500. These days, I’m happy to run three days a week and break twenty miles. I’m lacking motivation, energy, and excitement. I can’t get myself out of bed in the morning to run and I don’t feel safe running in the dark after work around here so my weekday runs are often skipped. By the time the weekend comes, I’m left making up for missed runs and I struggle through long runs. I’m miserable and not enjoying it.
My running slump has been going on since April. There have been a few weeks where things seemed like they were starting to pick up and I knocked out a some runs that felt amazing, but I can’t seem to hold on to any sort of consistency. I had been blaming most of this on my increased dosage of progesterone since the timing worked out really well and everything fit right in with the expected side-effects. But I stopped progesterone entirely (skipping even going back to my old dose) a few weeks ago and things have yet to perk back up.
It’s crazy to think that despite all of this, I’m still well beyond my yearly personal distance record and every mile I do manage just adds to that. And, I guess, that’s something, but I don’t care about that. I care about being able to run and race and push myself. I want to enjoy running again. I want to be motivated to push hard through training runs. There’s a reason why I typically mention being a marathon runner first in any bio I write for myself and I feel like I’m losing that. I’ve always been the kind of person who gets really into things for a little while and then has her interest fade. I do it with hobbies and interests and, often, friends too. I don’t want running to be another hobby and friend I forget about and leave behind. Running is important to me, more so than any other hobby I’ve ever had. Being a runner truly feels like me and a primary identity for myself.
At this point, I don’t know what else to try. I have the Goofy Challenge coming up soon, but I don’t see any way in which I can pull off a half marathon and a marathon on back-to-back days right now. I’m barely in any kind of shape to run a half marathon, let alone a marathon. Looking at the calendar, even a best case scenario is I’m just barely trained enough to run a very slow marathon and skip the half, but nothing about the last eight months has been the best case scenario.
I really don’t know what the right answer is at this point. I’ve been stubborn about taking a break, as many have suggested, but I think that might be the best option. Realistically, it probably makes the most sense to just take a break until the end of the year and start fresh for 2015. This means letting the spring marathon season go and waiting until next fall to tackle 26.2 again. If I were a more patient woman, this might be easier, but I’m not.
This also brings up the issue of Goofy that I just mentioned. It’s not a cheap race to skip out on, but the cost of a race doesn’t change reality. It won’t make me ready for it. It won’t make it enjoyable. Still, I’d really like to at least skip the half and do the marathon which probably isn’t the best choice and doesn’t really go along with the whole taking a break thing, but it’s at least a consolation prize I can accept. I can put a seventh marathon medal on my wall and know that I pushed through a shit eight months of running. But even that’s going to be really tough.
2014 has been a year of constantly letting go of goals and making concessions. I feel like I need some sort of a win, but at the same time it might be best to just accept it and start looking forward to making 2015 a better year. I want to do what’s best in the long run, what will avoid me getting to a point where I hate running and I resent myself (and my transition) for where I am with it now.
I love running, but I suck at it. I can deal with sucking at it, but I can’t deal with not enjoying it.