Feeling the Burn(out)

This weekend was a total bust.  No 12 mile run on Saturday, no run at all actually.  I ate crap for two days, not a green thing in sight, and I slept most of Saturday.  My mood has been crappy, and the suddenly frigid cold weather makes me want to curl up in my bed and never come out again.  Especially not to go to work tomorrow, or to even start training again this week.
Not typically me.  Not typically okay with me.
I was talking to my mother on the phone Saturday, after I decided to skip my 12 mile run for no other reason than to sleep, when she asked me, “Do you think you are just in limbo about running?”
And after I thought about it for a moment or two – No again.
I was initially upset, with myself, that I appeared to be in a state of running limbo, but the more I thought about it, the more I wondered exactly what was going on with me.  And I realized that running is like every other thing in my life (relationships included) that I am passionately crazy about – I love it so much and spend so much time with it that sometimes I do get a little burned out and just need a break.  A little time to re-focus and revamp my energies for the things I truly love.
Case in point – training for and running my first half marathon compared to my honeymoon and first year or two of marriage.
Last year, training for my first half marathon seemed effortless.  I rarely missed a training run, I never missed a long run, and I put in a few extra miles here and there whenever possible.  I loved running, and running loved me.  I ran injury-free for over a year, never got tired of it, and couldn’t wait to get out and hit the pavement again.  I trained, and I trained, and I trained, and I finished my first half with such a sense of triumph and glory (I had just won the Olympic gold medal for all anyone knew) that I could never go back to not-running.  It was the honeymoon period in a nutshell.
Then I discovered that running – real running, to be a runner – takes a lot of work!  Not to mention, it can be downright painful sometimes.  And I was very disappointed and very frustrated with these prospects.  What happened to the running I used to know and love?
Was it just gone now?
Three years ago this summer, my husband and I were planning our wedding.  Our engagement was perfect, we didn’t have to work at anything, we never had any major fights, and we were as polite and kind to one another as anyone could be.  We had the perfect wedding, the perfect dress, the perfect guests, and the perfect honeymoon on a mostly-secluded beach near the crossing of paradise and dreamland.  We were married and we were making it work.  We were going to last forever, never a conflict between us.  We couldn’t wait for the day to be done to spend every last minute with one another, and who could have ever thought we could intentionally hurt one another with our words.  Our honeymoon period came to a pretty rough end when we discovered that loving another – truly loving another with faults and all – was really hard work.
And I was initially overwhelmed by the effort it suddenly took to love my husband when it used to be so effortless.  What happened to the way I felt when he first asked me to marry him?
Were we just done now?
No and no again. 
Running is not gone, and my husband and I are certainly not done!  In fact, my relationship with my husband is stronger now than it has ever been before, but it is not without faults or hard times and that is what makes it real.  That is what makes it worth fighting for.
While I still have a long way to go with running – we only met just over a year ago, after all – I hope to view it in the same light as my marriage someday.  Someday soon, preferably!  I hope to realize that when the going gets tough, it is then that I need to work harder, fight stronger, and stand up for what I love most of all.
Running, like my relationship with my husband, is a two-way street.  I only get out of running what I put into it.  And when I do put my sweat, tears – sometimes even blood – and victories into running, it does not ever let me down.   
But if I don’t work at it, it doesn’t work for me. 
So, on third thought, maybe I am in limbo about running right now, and maybe that is okay.  Maybe it is through my struggles and setbacks, that I learn what is really valuable to me.  I miss running.  And sometimes it is not until we step away from something – no matter how short or long of a time – that we realize just how much we need it.
So, does limbo mean I’m done with running? 
NO.  And on second and third thoughts – NO again and again.
I just need to get out there and fight to make it happen – continually.  I need to routinely stand up for myself and for my relationship with running.  Limbo is temporary – it will come and go.  It is what I put into it that lasts forever.  Crossing the finish line, going the distance, making the PR, increasing my sense of self-worth – these things will never fade away. 
So limbo, came as you may, because when you do, it is then that I will make a stand to get out there with each new day and give running everything I’ve got. 


  1. Candice @ I Have Run says

    I love this post. You are so open and honest about your feelings, which is one of my favorite things to find in a blog. And your email from your mom is priceless. You are lucky to have support like that!

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