My rest week is drawing to a close and I think I have 'run' (get it? run?? har har) the gamut of emotions as the week has passed. First I started off feeling great and enthusiastic, and somewhat antsy. Then I was tired and frustrated. Then I questioned if I ever really wanted to run again.
Yeah, that was in a period of 7 days. Can you say "roller coaster"?!? LOL
Then I woke up this morning feeling much more centered. And I really feel like God spoke to me either last night or this morning. I have been trying much better recently to listen (but that's a post for another day, maybe tomorrow?) - and I'm so glad I did because I'm not sure I would have heard this in the busy-ness of my own mind.
You see, I've been questioning why I am doing this. By "this" I mean running, swimming, biking, racing. If you've kept up with my blog lately, you know this. I have had this persistent feeling over the last few months that "this" is no longer enjoyable, and that what I start out doing for stress relief was actually causing me more stress. And since my overall stress level has increased in recent years (homeschooling high schooler[s], recurrence of seizures in my son, adolescence ramping up among my teen/tween daughters), the last thing I need is MORE STRESS.
But this morning I woke up thinking, "You have to MAKE it enjoyable again." I thought and prayed about that for a long time. What does that mean? How would that happen? And it became quite clear: I have to drop it back to the place where it's fun again. Where is that point? I'm not exactly sure.Is it 30 minute runs, 3 times a week? 5 miles a couple of times a week? No clue? But there is a point out there where it is enjoyable and fun, and I have to find that place.
Now you may be thinking, "Well, DUH, Niffercoo!" but this is a tricky concept for me. I am by nature a pessimistic person and I'm also a black/white all-or-nothing thinker. So if something is causing me stress then that must mean it has to go. Period. End of discussion.
But this morning I learned that it doesn't have to be that way. I just have to go back to the place where it's fun. And hang out there for awhile and enjoy myself. And then, later on, if I decide to build it back up again then that's good.
Now that doesn't mean I'm not doing the Princess Half in 2013. Of course, I am! I am committing to raising money for our local autism support group. But that is a low-pressure race because of the generous time limit that Disney allows.
What is does mean is that I'm not going to push towards an Olympic distance triathlon in 2013. Or a bunch of half marathons. I will stick with sprint tris, and probably just one or two (thinking IronGirl in the spring and Lake Lanier Islands again in the fall, or maybe the Acworth Women's triathlon in August). And I may do a local half marathon next fall if I'm feeling good. Or I may just stick to 5Ks and 10Ks next year. And this is OK.
I think part of my problem is that I have developed a screwed-up sense of what running is all about. I am surrounded by people who run Half Marathons and Full Marathons every single weekend. This makes it seem "normal" to me and anything less is just not worth it. I realized this last weekend when my friend Lisa commented that I hadn't told her I had a race that weekend. I remarked, "Well, it was only a 10K, nothing very important." and she responded that my perceptions are all off! I did laugh, but then I started thinking about that and realized she is right. Five years ago, if you had told me I would run a 10K race, I would have laughed. If you had told me I would have placed in my age group I would have thought you were insane. (And even here I stopped myself from going back and typing that I was really slow and just got lucky, but there go the perceptions again - it doesn't matter if I was slow. I was still 3rd fastest of the women who showed up that day that are in my age group! LOL).
So what I really need to do is stop focusing on what everyone else is doing, and just get back to how it was when I first started. When there wasn't anyone to compare myself to except for me. When I was excited just getting out there and doing my best and having a good time. I do have to start training next month for Princess, but until then, I am going to do my best to find that place where I am enjoying myself again and where I'm not putting pressure on myself. I do have that 13K race in 2 weeks but I'm going to use that as my first test of my new "no pressure" philosophy. I think I need to come up with a word or 'key phrase' to remind myself of this philosophy when I start to get carried away.
And on that note, tomorrow I will run again for the first time in more than a week. My shin goes back and forth between feeling fine and acting up. I am going to run without compression tomorrow and see how it goes. I'm also going to focus on keeping my run interval and a nice and easy pace and see if that helps. Wish me luck! :D