Hi friends! I hope y’all had a great weekend. Mine was filled with getting ready for a conference + an 11 miler with some Bikram yoga thrown in. And purchasing a new car. Yessss. Heated seats are an awesome luxury essential in upstate NY winters. Good stuff 😀
Today I am excited to introduce you to Lindsey from Eat, Read, Run. She is incredibly inspiring and will be running Boston next spring! She also just returned from Ireland and has some amazing pictures posted on her blog! Her post is really interesting- she discusses achieving an ultimate goal and then the slump that follows. Here is Lindsey!
Hello all! My name is Lindsey and I blog over at www.eatreadrun.com. Thank you so much Katie for allowing me to contribute to The Many Faces of Running guest post series you’ve got going on over here. I was immediately drawn into this series as I started reading other runners’ stories.
So I guess you’re all wondering what my story is and if or how it might be different from yours. I wanted to contribute to this series to offer up my running rut experience and talk about the kind of runner I am. I’ll warn you now that it isn’t too inspirational and probably won’t make you want to head out for a nice long run, but if we’re being honest about our running, then I feel I have to share it.
I’ve been a runner since high school. I took a short hiatus in college (while focusing all my efforts on my…studies, ahem), but post-graduation I was back in the running game. I started with 5ks and then found myself signed up for 15k. When that race was over, I thought, okay – what’s next?
See, I’ve always been a list-maker and a goal-setter. When is the next race, what is my next goal time? That kind of runner. I’d like to claim that I run just for the pure joy of running, but even if I don’t vocalize it, I usually have some goal in mind. I can’t seem to help it.
So anyway, eventually I worked through my running goals and found myself facing the inevitable question – is a marathon next?
Indeed it was. I convinced a good friend to train and run with me for my very first marathon in October 2009. It was an eye-opening experience and as many marathoners say, I learned a lot about myself that day—my limits and just how far beyond those limits I could go. And I finished in a very respectable 3:54:57. I didn’t have a goal time in mind – I just wanted to finish.
After my finish, everyone asked if I would run another. I said “No,” I’d accomplished my goal and that was enough. But… and there’s always a but, right? Then I started thinking about my time and Boston dreams began bouncing around my head. The “what ifs” were just so powerful.
I’m sure you can guess what comes next. I signed up for another marathon with the lofty goal to qualify for Boston. I didn’t even give myself a full year. I decided to run the Pocono Run for the Red Marathon in May 2010. And so I set to work on accomplishing my next goal. I trained through the winter (that is definitely a unique experience), had some big ups and downs, and finally it was marathon day.
Long story short – I BQed in May 2010 and felt ecstatic! For a little while anyway. And then I hit my running rut. It was like I had hit a wall. What was the point of running now? I didn’t have a big goal. I’d qualified for Boston – what else was there? Oh yeah – I suppose running Boston was always something, but it wasn’t immediate enough to get me revved up. I had almost a year to wait after all.
From May 16, 2010 through September 12, 2010, I think I ran maybe a total of 10 times. To go from running five days a week to hardly at all was extremely strange and drastic. It felt like I didn’t have a purpose. I channeled my energies into work and tried to focus hard on my career. I read books like crazy. But, if I’m being honest, I think I always felt a little lost. There was always something missing and deep down, I knew what it was.
So you’re probably asking why I didn’t just go out and run. Believe me, I tried. Those 10 or so times I tried, I thought each time was going to be the one. The run that got me back into the game. The run where I enjoyed it and felt fabulous. But it didn’t happen. Each run was harder than the last.
Toward the end of August I pretty much just gave up. My husband and I went on a vacation to Ireland for 11 days and nights, so that occupied me entirely. Running in Ireland didn’t even cross my mind. We had an amazing, fantastic, completely unforgettable time. And then one night, when we were taking a walk in the town of Dingle, we came across a runner. He was running along the beach on a tiny path and suddenly I felt something. It was hard to place at first, but slowly I began to recognize what it was: jealousy. Here I was relaxing and having the time of my life in this beautiful country, not a care in the world, and I was jealous of this lone runner.
I knew then that things might be a little different when I got back. And so far they have been. It hasn’t been easy. I won’t sugarcoat it. I’m out of shape. And when I say that, people say I’m crazy, but from a runner’s perspective I am. I have a lot of endurance work to do. I’m also training for a half marathon and am following a training plan.
I guess my point is that I realized that I can’t really fight the kind of runner I am. I need lists and plans and goals. It’s who I am in my life and it’s who I am as a runner. I know that I’ll always be a runner, even if I do have future ruts. But I think this tough time has taught me a lot about myself and how important running has become to me. I’m hoping that going forward, knowing what I know, I’ll be able to face future slumps head on and realize that it doesn’t mean I’m less of a runner—just a runner who is driven by different things. And I guess maybe that isn’t so terrible. 😀
Lindsey, thank you so much for sharing! You are a fantastic runner and you will definitely rock your half-marathon! I’m very excited to follow along as you train for Boston 🙂
Well friends, I’m off to Lake Placid for the week. I’ll see you on Wednesday with a guest post from Jen! Have a good one 😀