Running: Interrupted, or What Happened to My Motivation?

This morning I was feeling lazy. VERY lazy. I generally like to ease into my morning. I am not a morning person, but now that I don’t have to be at work at 7:00AM, and the days are mild, there’s no excuse not to get up and get my run in and get the day going.

Easier said than done.

I have already declared this to be the year of NO EXCUSES, and my friend Hari said he’s going to hold me to it. I generally prefer to run in the late afternoon/early evening. When I was working, running was always a nice way to detox from the day’s stressful events. I love my early morning long runs on Saturdays with the running group, but there’s something in me that resists starting my day with a run any day of the week except Saturday.

It seems tougher to run first thing in the morning than in the evening. I’m sure, like most things, it’s all in my head.

I finally managed to get in that 7 mile run around 10:30am (I know, I know), and it was a good marathon pace run (9:12 pace) with lots of long, gradual inclines. I was disappointed that my pace was exactly the same as last Monday’s MP run, but it did seem easier and I enjoyed it more than last week’s run.

So why do I struggle with motivation? I love running, really, I do. Why is it so hard sometimes to motivate myself to run the morning?

Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! (Sound of needle being dragged across an old, broken record)

That post was started almost a month ago, the day before my visit to the ER. It’s been sitting there, staring me in the face every time I sit down to write a new post, and the topic is even more relevant today than it was a month ago. MOTIVATION.

All I can say is, getting started is the hard part. Keeping it going is the icing on the cake.

This past month has been one trial after another. First there was the ER visit, then two weeks of broth, soup, applesauce, and mashed potatoes, and two different antibiotics that made me extremely dizzy. After two weeks of recuperation, when all the medication was gone and I was feeling stronger, I pulled a calf muscle at mile 2 on my first attempt at running. And last week, when the leg felt better, I came down with a nasty stomach flu that kept  me grounded for another few days.

Cue the violins, right?

I spent most of the first part of the month beating myself up for not being able to run. My mind tried to rationalize everything, and somehow made getting sick something I could have prevented (not true) or been tough enough to run through anyway (no way). I was disappointed because my training had been going so well, and I felt like I was starting to get my speed back up to where it used to be.

When I realized it might take longer than I expected to get well again, and I might not be ready to run a marathon, I freaked out first and then got a little depressed. Piriformis syndrome and recurring ankle tendonitis derailed my plans to run the last marathon I signed up for, and I couldn’t believe it was happening again.

Then, when I pulled the calf muscle, I got mad. I hadn’t been pushing the pace at all, and I’ve never, ever had issues with my calves. Upon investigation, I discovered one of the antibiotics I had been taking causes tendon damage during and after use, and I think the medication was a factor in the pull. Argh.

Finally, when the stomach flu hit last week, after enduring two runs on a hotel treadmill after the calf muscle healed, which should have been penance enough, I let it all go and gave in. I surrendered. Out of my control. So done with the pity party.

All of this has pretty much derailed my plans of running the Eugene Marathon at the end of April, but I’m okay with it now. There’s no way I can pick up the pieces and be ready to run 26.2 miles in ten weeks. It looks like, once again, it will be a half marathon instead of the full. It’s okay, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that it’s once again just not meant to be, and I’m looking forward to at least being able to run half the distance.

I’m just happy to be running again.

So this morning I got up and ran 4 miles, and it was good. Part of feeling sorry for myself has been knowing I’ve been missing out on the best weather to run in, which is winter in Texas. It makes up for all the months of summer misery. This morning was perfect, with overcast skies and a temperature of 50 degrees.

I’ve made up a new half marathon training plan for the next 10 weeks and am looking forward to running consistently again. I haven’t seen any of my running friends for a month and I miss running with them.

It feels like I’ve been quarantined from my tribe.

As for motivation, the hardest part about not being able to run for so long has been getting out of the routine. Once you miss so many runs, it’s really, really hard to get back on schedule. It’s easier to look back at everything you didn’t get done and feel defeated, but harder to leave it all behind and start over again. You can be stubborn and feel sorry for yourself for things not working out, and boo hoo about all the time you’ve missed, or you can move on and start where you left off.

That’s why making a new training plan is going to give me the motivation to keep up with my training. I’ve lost some stamina and speed, but I can still get out there and put in the miles. That’s more than a lot of people are able, or willing, to do.

And the best motivation right now: there’s nothing more satisfying than highlighting a completed run green on the training spreadsheet. I’m a real running dork that way.

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