It's no secret that lately I've been struggling with my runs. I rode that post marathon wave for a long time, right into that blazing finish and AG 2d place finish at that Turkey Trot 2 weeks ago. After that things went downhill in a hurry. It's like my legs just said "I quit". My speed disappeared--poof! It felt like someone applied the brakes. I've rolled and stretched like a woman possessed, and have been able to eeek out some slow, minimally painful runs. But my legs feel wooden. When I run, instead of my usual light, easy stride, my feet flap on the ground. I have to stop and stretch my shins. Instead of being enjoyable, my runs lately feel like--dare I say it?--a chore.
It's called overuse and yes, I'm guilty as charged. It's my own damn fault. I kept running in the same shoes I used to train in for the marathon; the shoes that I ran the marathon in. My lucky shoes, with the hot pink laces. All that good juju in those shoes. Gone. I must have run it right out of the shoes. All I was left with were flapping clown feet and Pinocchio legs. Oops.
Then I tried a new pair of shoes that I won this summer. Figured, what the heck? Huge mistake. Huge. They are so completely different from my usual shoes. I couldn't even finish my run that day. I spent the day in the pain cave after I tried running in those. I pulled out a new pair of my usual shoes, but it was too late to undo the damage I had done.
What the hell is wrong with me? I've been a runner for over 20 years, and I made some seriously rookie-like mistakes!!! I ignored the advice I give to new runners: Listen to your body. Change your shoes every 300-400 miles. Take time off after a big race.
Actually, that's pretty much what Becky asked me went for my CrossFit session this week. We had a serious talk. She told me, using the words "as your coach", that I need to take a break. Becky has always left my running under my control. But today, that changed. Since I'm not making good decisions here and being stubborn, she's telling me I have to do this. We talked about all the stress I've been under, and how I need to run. But for a week or 2, I need to let that go. Find another outlet. She offered to up my sessions to twice weekly and I can still do yoga. But running is out.
When I got home, I felt ok with this. Sort of. It was a pretty fall day, the kind we rarely see this time of year, and the sun was out, the first time in about a week. It was one of those days where you can't wait to put on your running shoes and head out the door for a run. Of course, since my runs have been pretty painful and difficult, I probably wouldn't enjoy it. Which kind of sucks too, because when you live in the midwest and run outside all year round, days like today are a reward. So I thought about that. And taking time off felt a little better. Because there will be more "reward days", and I want to be able to get out there and enjoy them.
Becky also brought up my half marathon in March. She said that to properly train me for it, I need to be rested before we start up again. I get that. I didn't do well at my Florida half last year..it was so humid. And I really didn't take any time off before I started training. Of course, I didn't run a fall marathon either...speaking of which, we talked about as well. I do want to do Chicago again this fall, and I need to avoid any injuries, if possible. Makes sense.
And I can't help but wonder if these difficult runs are stressing me out more. Funny how when I was training for the marathon, I didn't have any bad runs. I even thought about that while I was training. I knew that my great running streak would come to an end. But it was good while it lasted. I just pushed it a little too far. Running is a stress reliever for me. But when the running itself is painful and difficult, it ceases to give me the endorphins and release that I'm used to. So maybe taking a break will help with that as well. I may not go crazy not running...because it's one less thing to stress me out. Unless the break becomes prolonged...but that's another story. I'm trying to prevent any serious injuries here!
The timing is perfect. It's the holiday season and I have a ton to do. It's the end of the running season. I'm not training for anything.
Let's see what happens.