Sunday Run-down: July 4-10

July: The shearing of the sheep. In the backgr...

July, as depicted in a Medieval Book of Hours. Image via Wikipedia.

In a few hours, the first full week of July will be over.  Truth be told, I’m already tired of it, July and August being my least favorite months of the year.  The heat and humidity are unbearable no matter what you do, and personally I just have a really difficult time feeling good when you break a sweat standing absolutely still.

This was also my second week of training for the Marine Corps Marathon, and although last week I was feeling strong and this week started off well, things quickly went downhill.

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 3 miles

Wednesday: 5 miles with the LUNAs.

Thursday: rest

Friday: 3 very sticky, humid miles.

Saturday: 4 miles.  I’d planned on doing 5, but had felt sick and very tired throughout most of the day.  I was only able to make it through these miles by alternating walking and running.  It wasn’t a very good feeling.

Sunday: 5 miles, even though I was planning to do 9.  After yesterday, this just felt like a slap in the face.  I’m used to having a bad run, but it’s really tough when you have two back to back.  After four miles, I stopped trying to rally my mental state and just gave up.  Now that I’m back here sitting on my couch in the A/C, I feel like my body probably would have been able to handle 9, but mentally I just didn’t have it in me.  In order for my body to have done it, my head would have had to have been behind it, 100%.  There was no chance of that happening.

I can look at this week and recognize that I succeeded in a number of ways: I got out for 5 runs, I ran a total of 20 miles for the week, I managed to push myself when it was hard (in some cases, anyway).  But I also look at it and just feel discouraged.  Part of me is frustrated because it seems like no matter how much I run, I never really get stronger.  Part of me is disappointed because I don’t want to be dealing with this kind of self-doubt while I’m training for my fourth marathon (I mean, at what point does that go away?!).  Another part of me wonders if I’m just not cut out to run long distances, or possibly to run at all?  And finally, there’s a part of me that’s worried about why it’s rare that my weekends turn out well, and far more common that they turn out like this.  Why do I feel sick to my stomach so often?  Why am I so tired?  What is causing the depression I seem to be experiencing to be so much worse on the weekends than it is during the week?  I don’t know how to find answers to any of those questions.  I don’t know if it’s stress (which is what my doctor says) or something more.  But man, what I wouldn’t give to just have a few weeks, maybe a month (or is that too much to ask) where I just feel consistently good.  What a treat that would be.

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  1. Hi Emilie — Please don’t think I’m claiming to be any kind of expert here, I just wanted to share my friend’s experience in case it turns out to help you. She also struggled with an eating disorder and is an avid runner. She said that she had to stop running except for fun — she doesn’t enter races, she doesn’t time herself or track her distances. She just gets up in the morning and goes for a run to feel the ground beneath her feet and to think about her day. She told me that running was very similar to her obsessions with food — she found that tracking time and speed, etc., was very unhealthy for her and kept her from fully recovering.

    I’m not trying to insinuate your experience must be the same, but I’ve watched how discouraged you’ve been, and how much your self-esteem seems to vary with the numbers you set for yourself each week. It might be good just to give yourself a period, even, where you just run for the fun and the endorphin rush, and give up on all the counting and pressures and goals.

    1. I really appreciate your comment, and reading it makes me think about how complex my relationship with running really is. At times, it seems like it’s the only thing I feel good about while at others it just becomes one more thing to add to the pile of things in my life that I consider failures. I worry about what would happen if I took a break, and I constantly find myself wishing that I could loosen my grip on it and re-connect with the part of it that is just fun.

      Right now, I guess a big part of the problem is that I’m not sure what to do. A lot of what is making me feel so bad is not running, but other things that are going on. Of course, it doesn’t help that running gets wrapped up in that, and then becomes a struggle when it could be a healthy outlet for stress. I know this reply is a bit rambling, but you’ve really made me think!

      Thanks for sharing your perspective–it can really help to hear from someone outside the situation, sometimes it takes being in that position to notice things that the person who’s in the situation doesn’t notice!

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