This Runner's Trials

The break-up I didn’t see coming

Posted by runnerstrials

Thank you so much for all of your coping suggestions. My hubby and I are taking a vacation in a few weeks (wohoo!) and I'll definitely look into support groups and possibly counseling. I am feeling much better today because a light bulb went off in my head…

On February 1, 2010, I set out to run for 45 minutes. At this time in my life, I'd been distance running for almost 7 years. But this run was different. This run changed me. This run was my first run using my handy new tool:

Prior to my Garmin, I never cared about my pace or my distance. I ran for time, and assumed I always ran somewhere between a 9:00- 10:00 min/ mile pace. Sure, this strategy seems crazy now, but it got me through a marathon, 6 half marathons, and many other shorter races.

Even though I was a runner who sometimes raced, achieving PRs was not my motivation for running.

I started running because it was a great workout, but that's not why I stuck with it. Running was my therapy. I haven't gone into much detail on the blog (yet), but I've had my fair share of anxiety issues. I've seen therapists and spent years on anti-anxiety meds. Sometimes the medication really helped, but nothing ever worked like a good run did.

And a "good" run certainly wasn't about hitting negative splits. It was about letting go, getting lost in my thoughts, and enjoying the outdoors. I never used to run on the treadmill; that would ruin the point of running for me. I determined the days I ran based on the weather, and how far I ran based on how I felt. There weren't any training plans or Garmins beeping at me showing my pace. It was just me and my mind. Running was not about the end result, it was about the experience that got me there. I used to be sad when my runs ended, now sometimes I can't wait for them to be over.

Let's not pretend for a minute that I didn't enjoy my last year with my Garmin. My Garmin and new approach to running helped me PR in every distance by a lot. And running fast and hitting paces I'd only dreamed about really did help me cope last year.

But that's not what I need now. I need running to be my therapy again. I'm done using my Garmin. 

I figured getting my running high back would be tricky to achieve at first. But it was kind of like riding a bike. Mentally letting go this morning yielded a great run this afternoon. At first I felt naked without my Garmin, but then I got in the best groove. I ran for a little over an hour and felt amazing. Now I feel more relaxed and optimistic than I have all week :)

Ok, maybe the fact that it was sunny and in the mid 50's helped my mood too.

Why do you run? Has that reason changed over time? Do you ever run without your Garmin? Is there anyone who doesn't have a Garmin? I know you're out there! I still don't have Facebook, so I know there are some Garmin-less runners ;)

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Coping conundrums

Posted by runnerstrials

I found out through blood work and ultrasounds this week that I am not responding to my fertility meds :(

I am pretty heartbroken, frustrated, and angry. And still slightly hopeful. I go back to the doctor on Sunday morning to see if my eggs are just late bloomers.

The cycle of hope and disappointment is exhausting. It's what made me put my fertility journey on pause last year.

The only thing that let me forget about my problems was my running.

Oh gosh, this headband is too accurate...

I promised myself I wouldn't turn to running again. I've put mileage and racing on the backburner for awhile.

But, I'd be lying if I told you my internet browser didn't take me here a few times each week.

It's so, so tempting to throw myself into racing again and ignore my fertility struggles. Although I know ignoring a problem will never make it go away.

I'm kind of at a loss for healthy ways to cope.

Doing more yoga has been has been quite awesome, but so far the only benefits I've gained are physical and not mental.

Spending time with my local friends and talking to my far away friends often has been an awesome distraction (and my BFF is coming to visit me next weekend, yay :) ). But I don't want to distract myself too much because I don't think distraction equals coping. It's such a conundrum.

So I've turned to cupcakes. I have had so many cupcakes recently, it's quite embarrassing. And I'm not even sure it's the taste of the cupcake I enjoy so much. I just really enjoy picking it out and admiring the little ball of beauty. Don't worry, I definitely eat it too…

How do you cope? I could really use some advice. Healthy suggestions only please; I don't think taking up drinking will help my fertility ;)


Tired or lazy?

Posted by runnerstrials

It's a question that's plagued runners and other exercise enthusiasts for years: Am I really too exhausted to workout or am I just being lazy?

It's hard enough for athletes to skip workouts when they're truly sick, injured, or exhausted. So it makes sense that most of us wouldn't want to miss a training session when we have a case of the yawns.

I'm not talking about body fatigue. If you ache all over, cringe every time you move, and cry when you walk up the stairs, take a rest day. Chances are you need it. Body exhaustion was what clued me into my overtraining last summer.

I'm talking about that "I would much rather lay on the couch and watch Glee than run" feeling.

This is exactly how I felt yesterday. I told myself all day I'd run 6 miles after work. But 5 pm came and I had zero motivation. I really couldn't figure out if I was being lazy or really was too tired to workout.

First, I tried bargaining with myself. This helps me tell if I'm just not excited about that day's planned exercise session. Just do half of the run. Swim instead. Go to yoga. None of those ideas sounded any more appealing though.

Then, I tried to assess whether or not I truly needed a day off.

  • Have I been working out more than usual? No, less.
  • Has it been a long time since my last rest day? Nope, I just took one last Friday and my yoga class yesterday was pretty low-key.
  • Have I recently done a hard workout? Debatable. Lauren reminded me that our 10 miler on Saturday was my longest run in 5 weeks. I had been doing 7 and 8 miles regularly though, so I'm not sure that was the culprit.
  • Was I getting enough sleep? Umm no. Due to fun plans all weekend, I totally skimped on sleep.

Bingo. Not logging enough shut-eye definitely calls for an extra day off from exercise, in my opinion. I made peace with my decision and was set on a night of catching up with my DVR. I just had to walk Nati first…

But, my 10 minute jaunt with the furball re-energized me. Before I knew it, I was heading to the gym. I knocked out 5 miles of intervals on the treadmill and enjoyed myself the whole time. I am so glad I decided not to skip the run!

This just reminds me that runs- and our bodies in general- are so unpredictable. And that I clearly have no clue how to tell the difference between tiredness and laziness.

But I know what I'm going to do next time the debate strikes: Lace up my sneakers, move for a few minutes, and see if that makes me feel better or not. Then, I may have my answer ;)

How do you tell if you're being lazy or really need a rest day?

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