Uncle.

It’s probably no secret that I am in a rut – majorly. Not only in running, but in life too. Everything feels like a chore. It doesn’t help that the heat index in Central Ohio is 110 degrees, either, that does make everything a chore. I sweat just walking from my front door to the car. It’s hard to breath. I haven’t even tried to run this week. I won’t try until Saturday. I can’t get out of bed to run at 5:30 a.m. when it’s merely 80 degrees outside let alone get up, shower, get dressed and make it to work by eight in the morning. Everything hurts. My knees ache and throb from time to time. I think about my mom a lot and it hurts a lot. I want to lie on a beach and forget the world, but it would be too much effort to get there.
Truth is I haven’t really had a good run since Pittsburgh, as long as we’re being honest. That was two months ago. Running used to bring me so much joy, now it feels like a chore. But, I love running. I know I do. I miss it. I pass people running when I’m driving and think Man, am I jealous. Immediately followed by you’re stupid for running in this hellish heat.
And while we’re being honest, I’ve gained 16 pounds since Pittsburgh. Yeah. It’s easy to slip back into the old lifestyle – mindlessly snacking, eating out all the time, ordering the French fries, hitting the drive through, not planning your meals, skipping workouts, not bothering to fill up your water bottle throughout the day, a beer or wine with dinner, putting yourself down, only focusing on the negative. It comes really easy. And so do the pounds. I had a meltdown Wednesday morning when I had to dig out the “fat” dress pants because my “skinny” ones were just snug enough to be uncomfortable. I cried for what seemed like forever and was late for work. I swore I would never go back, not even for a second. I blame running (or the lack-there-of). It’s a love-hate thing with us. Maybe that is why me and running usually get along so well.
I feel like a failure and no amount of telling me “but, you’re not,” isn’t going to help right now. Roll with the punches? I’m too beat up to care. Look on the bright side? There isn’t one. Is the glass half full or half empty? It’s pretty much drained. It could be worse? Don’t tell me how or it just might happen. This too shall pass? Maybe someday.
You get the point. I’m stuck in a rut.
And I feel like everyone knows it and is tired of hearing about it, especially my husband, who has the unfortunate luck of spending quite a significant time with me. I know he hasn’t been feeling good this week, but I started wallowing in my misery as soon as I got home today. He asked me what was wrong and he listened while I told him. He didn’t speak or do anything – he just listened. I figured he didn’t care. Who wants to listen to me complain, especially when they don’t feel good? He rarely talks with me about running anyway.
Then my husband said, “You’re burned out. It happens to everyone. It happens.” My initial reaction was I wish he would have just kept quiet if he was going to blow me off, but then he continued:
 It happened to me in Martial Arts and I hated it. I worked hard to compete and I kept telling my instructor that I was I was wearing out, feeling the burn-out, if you will. He kept pushing and so I kept pushing, training for hours on end everyday – all the way to the Junior Olympics, where I placed second in the Nation. Then, I didn’t care. I quit right then and there and never went back. And I miss it everyday.
So, you burned yourself out. Shit happens. You fell off the horse. So, get back on. Remember what you love about running and start there. Start over again. You ran and ran and ran training for Pittsburgh and now you can’t. So don’t right now. Remember instead what you love. Run halfs for awhile. Run 5K’s. Have fun with your friends. Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks, stop comparing yourself to others. You have to run your own race, not everyone else’s. It is what it is. Everyone gets burned out. Everyone has to take time off – even professionals. Even Lance Armstrong or Bart Yasso or anyone else you are going to throw at me.
You’ll run again and you’ll love it, then you’ll burn yourself out again and hate it. Take a break. It’s okay. Run the Goofy and then don’t run a Marathon for a year or two. Run halfs, if you want. Focus on smaller races. Have fun coaching. Don’t give up what you love. Fall in love again.
Whoa. Who are you and what have you done with Michael? I was speechless. And then I started thinking. 

I started thinking about all of the reasons why I love running. Because it makes me happy. Because I feel free. Because I feel healthy, strong and beautiful. When I don’t run, I don’t feel these things.

Because I love writing about it and I love helping others through my words. If I can’t run right now, I can still write about it. I can still help someone else find joy in accomplishing what they once thought was impossible. 

Because I love reading about running and because I can always do that. I can learn about what will make me a better runner when I do start training again. Not only that, I can learn to fuel my body properly. I can finally try to figure out the great endurance vs. weight loss conflict. 

Because I love coaching people. I want to help people. And, if my training is sidelined, it doesn’t mean I can’t help others train. I can find joy when others find joy in their training. 

Because my running friends have become my best friends. I would not be where I am today without them.

Because my mom loved running and she wouldn’t want me to stop forever. Because she can no longer run. And because I know she would say there are more people to inspire, more people to get off the couch. 

Because it has made me who I am. I never used to think I was capable of anything – let alone running a marathon or a half marathon. Now, since I started running, I know there is nothing I can’t do. Because I am the person I love the most when I am running.  

And that person also needs a break – so she can come back stronger and better and healthier than before. I need to give that to her and let her heal – from the physical and emotional scars of the last three months. Mind, body and soul, she has asked me for a break and I need to let her have it without feeling guilty or being upset about it. She deserves that. She’s been through quite a lot. I don’t need to keep beating her down. I’m done fighting her. 

She will have good runs again, I know, and go on to run races that she never dreamed she would. Just not right now. And I am okay with that. I will give her what she needs, despite what I want. And run again we will – stronger and better together than ever before. 
Until the next mile marker, 
 

Comments

  1. Love you, Sara!! ))hugs((

  2. Beautiful post! That is also some beautiful advice from your husband.

  3. Thanks for such an honest post. I have felt lately like I have hit a rut and can’t get out. Everything comes in seasons. I guess there is a running season – that will come around again.

  4. Sending you a big virtual hug! I am so glad that you have such a supportive and thoughtful and caring husband to help you sort things out.

    Please take all the time you need to look after You. Climb back on that wagon and don’t look back. 🙂

  5. Rebecca says:

    I love you and I love Michael even more for his pep talk. You need to spend more time with me and preparing for your future in fitness and health. I’ve fallen off the wagon and you know what, it’s ok. Who cares. Enjoy your time off and come back when you are ready. Running will be there for you when you want to come back. So will I.

  6. Christina says:

    Sara! I am so sorry to hear how things have been going for you. Your hubby sounds like a real gem. It sounds like you’ve got the right mindset now. You are amazing, my friend. I wish we lived a little bit closer so we could run together. Instead, I’ll have to settle for seeing you in Dayton in two months. 🙂

  7. Love and hugs to you, Sara! You know we are here for you…always and especially when you need us!!! ♥♥

  8. Anonymous says:

    Your post brought tears to my eyes. I have just started reading your posts while trying to balance things in my own life to find the time for me. You are such an inspiration to me, thank you for sharing. Hugs and support to you 🙂

    -Shawn

  9. What a smart man you married, Sara!!! I had a similar talk with my husband back in April when I was fighting yet another injury while training for The Flying Pig full. I had a breakdown and he had a heart-to-heart with me and said a lot of the same things to me that Michael said to you. I was the only one that was pushing so hard to run another full. He suggested dropping to the half and focusing on shorter races. It was the best thing I could have ever done for myself.

    You will have good runs again, Sara. You are amazingly strong, talented & beautiful. You have been through a lot over the past few months and you deserve to give yourself a little TLC.

    (((HUGS)))

    Kim

  10. Great post. And your husband spoke words of wisdom! I think burnout happens to all of us at one time or another. I know i certainly have had it a time or two before. I found i needed to go out for a run with no agenda – no watch to nervously glance at my pace, or no miles that i needed to reach. Just run to run. The love will come back to you!

  11. Connie W. says:

    Very nicely said…Michael is right…Run the runs you want. Maybe for a while just run for fun, with no training in mind. Just for your health and fitness. You are a wonderful person. And I am very proud of all your accomphishments, writing as well as running and putting your health first. Keep up the good work.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Yeah, baby…that man is brilliant.

    -funderson

  13. Excellent post. So honest and fresh. Thanks for these truths. I will continue to keep you in my thoughts. It’s good to be getting to know you.

  14. I love, love, LOVE this post. Thank you for writing it. It’s very much how I feel about running and life right now myself. Glad we are in it together! Love ya!

  15. beautiful and amazing post. thanks for sharing. and your husband’s words are so intense but SO true. they hit me and made me realize it is okay to get burnt out but its not okay to beat myself over it. you are smart for listening to those words and also your body! you will come back stronger than ever…there are still so many great things ahead 🙂

  16. I think I already told you this, but after my first marathon, I took almost a month where my mileage was pitiful. I was burnt out… mentally and physically. A month later, I had a half marathon, and I ran it with little training and just relaxed and enjoyed it, and found the love again… pretty quickly. It’s good to have down time. And for the full marathon distance, you just can’t do it without having your WHOLE heart in it.

  17. I had this nice reply written out – and the computer ate it.

    I’m so glad you posted this. That’s healthy and good for you! Honestly, if you weren’t in a rut with everything you’ve been through in the past few months, I’d worry about you. I think it’s natural that you shy away from running…and miss your mom. I have a lot more to say on missing a lost loved one…but I won’t post it all here.

    I love you and I’m proud of you for acknowledging what you need.

  18. I love you. Take a break. Breathe. Running will be here when you get back and so will the 13’s.

  19. I love you. Take a break. Breathe. Running will be here when you get back and so will the 13’s.

  20. I think I already told you this, but after my first marathon, I took almost a month where my mileage was pitiful. I was burnt out… mentally and physically. A month later, I had a half marathon, and I ran it with little training and just relaxed and enjoyed it, and found the love again… pretty quickly. It’s good to have down time. And for the full marathon distance, you just can’t do it without having your WHOLE heart in it.

  21. Excellent post. So honest and fresh. Thanks for these truths. I will continue to keep you in my thoughts. It’s good to be getting to know you.

  22. Connie W. says:

    Very nicely said…Michael is right…Run the runs you want. Maybe for a while just run for fun, with no training in mind. Just for your health and fitness. You are a wonderful person. And I am very proud of all your accomphishments, writing as well as running and putting your health first. Keep up the good work.

  23. Great post. And your husband spoke words of wisdom! I think burnout happens to all of us at one time or another. I know i certainly have had it a time or two before. I found i needed to go out for a run with no agenda – no watch to nervously glance at my pace, or no miles that i needed to reach. Just run to run. The love will come back to you!

  24. What a smart man you married, Sara!!! I had a similar talk with my husband back in April when I was fighting yet another injury while training for The Flying Pig full. I had a breakdown and he had a heart-to-heart with me and said a lot of the same things to me that Michael said to you. I was the only one that was pushing so hard to run another full. He suggested dropping to the half and focusing on shorter races. It was the best thing I could have ever done for myself.

    You will have good runs again, Sara. You are amazingly strong, talented & beautiful. You have been through a lot over the past few months and you deserve to give yourself a little TLC.

    (((HUGS)))

    Kim

  25. Love and hugs to you, Sara! You know we are here for you…always and especially when you need us!!! ♥♥

  26. Thanks for such an honest post. I have felt lately like I have hit a rut and can’t get out. Everything comes in seasons. I guess there is a running season – that will come around again.

  27. Beautiful post! That is also some beautiful advice from your husband.

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