I started running last summer. At first I ran for 20 minutes. Then I ran for 25 minutes. Then I ran for 30 minutes. Then I signed up for a 10K and loved running it. Now I’ve run two half-marathons and I’m training for my first marathon. I never thought I’d be able to do this (or want to) but running became the most inexpensive kind of therapy when I was going through a bunch of changes: I moved back home, started my first job, broke-up with my first love, had to make new friends and all around “figure a bunch of stuff out.” Some people take to wine or chocolate when things are tough (both great options) but me, I took to running.
Unfortunately, now running has become more of a stress inducer rather than a stress reliever. I have been literally forcing myself out of the door to train for this marathon. “Gosh, she is so ungrateful. She has this wonderful opportunity with Saucony, Morganne, and a bunch of other runners, to race in Hawaii. What a brat.” (<— that’s supposed to be you talking). I know, and I didn’t want to write this post because I don’t want to sound like a brat. I’m so grateful for this opportunity. But the truth is: running is stressing me out right now.
- Running is stressing my knee: it’s much better but certainly gets really swollen
- Running is stressing my cortisol levels: eat. all. the. sugar
- Running is stressing my mind: need to follow the plan; need to run faster…
- Running is stressing my social life: “Sorry, I need to get my long run in.”
- Running is stressing my skin: hello, breakouts.
- Running is stressing my eating: Fuel! Eat enough!
- I’m stressed about running stressing me out.
So what gives? I’m supposed to love running. It’s supposed to be my outlet. I’m supposed to just put on my shoes, go, and get lost in my thoughts. But I haven’t been. I’ve been feeling isolated and stressed. Since falling in love with CrossFit, I’ve been sweating with people – and that’s been making a difference. They are supporting you, pushing you, laughing with you and crying with you. I run alone and well, that gets lonely. So yes: I post pictures of my Garmin to Instagram to get a bit of a boost from this community.
Running is also supposed to be good for us… activity, sweating, endorphins, being outside. Yes, yes, that’s all awesome (and running bloggers may hate me for this) but the more I experience it and better understand how our body’s work… I’m not sure if running super-long or super-far is necessarily all that healthy. Gasp. Exercise in general releases AND causes stress so we need to rest, balance and listen to our bodies. Running certainly takes a toll on our bodies (especially women) and I’m feeling it: both emotionally and physically. But yes, I want to cross the finish line.
So what to do?
Well I first want to regain a love for running (or at least not hate it). I have been ditching my Garmin this week and that has been helping. I need to legit find new running routes because running to McDonald’s and back is depressing. I have hopefully found a few running buddies so I won’t be alone on the run 24/7. I also am trying not to be so hard on myself and realize that it’s okay to not be super fast or to walk if I need to. I want to better figure out how to balance running with my life and everything else I love to do. I know I am training for a marathon (and I am grateful for that) but I don’t want to lose a sense of balance – because without balance all goes to crap.
Ironically, yesterday I actually had a “good run”. I actually smiled after it. I ran without my watch and just ran. I even walked a block to switch podcasts. But I felt happy. Then I looked at my training schedule and started dreading it again: tomorrow I have a “long run.” Oh god. I don’t really want to do it. But stressing is not helping matters. I’m writing this to hold myself accountable: to not stress; to do my best to enjoy; to not be so hard on myself; and to remember why I started running in the first place.
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