Six days from now, I was supposed to be running 13.1 miles in Louisville. Thanks, COVID-19.
But maybe that sarcastic gratitude carries a hint of truth. The fact is, I'm not ready. About a month ago, my training took a turn for the worse. I didn't let up; I kept doing my 4 runs each week and was reaching all my goals up to that point. But one day when I was supposed to run 10 miles, I got way too hot and had to stop halfway. Then it happened again; I just didn't have the energy to finish the miles I'd set out to do. Then it happened again, though I came within a mile of my goal. Then it happened again yesterday. I thought I could take a 5-minute break and start back up again, but I just couldn't. I've come to realize a change is in order because my struggle is negating all the benefits I reap from running.
I am not improving. After completing C25K and moving on to a half marathon training plan, I have failed to reach my long-run goal for the last four weeks. Of course, most of the quarantine measures went into effect around that time, yet I stuck to my schedule. The only thing I stopped doing was strength training because the gyms shut down. I meant to incorporate pushups and squats on my walk days, but I never did. Now I'm thinking that was a mistake. I'm also considering my nutrition as a factor. I haven't pigged out the whole time, but I'm sure I could have eaten a bit healthier and had fewer beers.
Since I'm not getting any better, I am not happy. I started running because I thought it would help me burn more calories on my weight loss journey. Then it became a challenge that led to gratification. I felt a great sense of accomplishment after hitting each new goal, not to mention the mental and physical perks my mind and body were enjoying. Not every run was great, and some days were harder than others, but for the most part, I rebounded. I posted the ups and downs on social media in an effort to be transparent. I seemed to bounce back pretty easy, and the good days left me with a grin.
Until now. Now I am stressing. I no longer look forward to my long run on Saturday. I dread it. I worry about it. I get anxious about it. I think about it throughout the week. I look up articles on long runs and how to get over obstacles. I used to be able to talk myself through a mental block by focusing on my breathing and staring at some random object until I passed it, but now my brain wants to stop. Also, my body wants to stop. I get to a point if I push any farther, I'm certain I will pass out. It's not that I'm tired and uncomfortable, I can get through that now. I really can't go any longer though I know I have before. That's what's so frustrating.
In order to improve, bring back the fun, and get rid of the stress, I'm doing what's called a reset in the Noom world. That's where you have your coach do a rewind with the articles you've been reading and start over from the beginning. I'm not going all the way back to the beginning of running though. I don't have too many issues in the 5-7 mile range, so I'm going to stay there for the time being.
I deferred my registration in the Derby half marathon until next April. So, technically, I don't have to run 13.1 miles for another year. Surely, I can get my act together by then. Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps I'm not cut out for that long of a run. Or maybe I'll run my own half marathon sometime later this year, likely fall because it's cooler. All I know is that if I don't do something now to get back on track, I'll end up quitting. And I get too much out of running to give it up.
March 22, 2020: "Pro-tip: Weather permitting, set your phone/watch to “do not disturb” and take a long walk or run. I just spent two coronavirus-free hours listening to music and breathing fresh air!"