I’m imagining that I’m not alone in experiencing certain ebbs and flows in my running career. The beginning of 2013 was a robust time for my running. I finished the Goofy with a full marathon PR. About a month later I came close to a PR at the Princess Half Marathon. And then in April I PR’ed the More Magazine Half Marathon. A pretty good first quarter. And then May came.
I started the month of May with a work trip to San Diego. I managed to run a virtual 5k while I was there and kept up with my running pretty well. Returning to New York brought more jet lag than I expected. And maybe something beyond jet lag. It brought the blahs. Throughout May I’ve felt exhausted and unmotivated. Maybe it was the travel to the West Coast. Maybe it was allergies. Or the persistent yucky weather that went from too cold to too hot overnight. I managed the bare minimum of training and even signed up to run the NYC Marathon as a charity runner in the hopes that it would inspire me. I also signed up for another round of e-coaching with Jeff Galloway to provide some accountability.
The week leading up to Memorial Day brought another interesting problem. A friend offered me her expiring timeshare points over Memorial Day weekend. They were at Disney World. I had 24 hours to decide if I could take 3 young children to Disney World by myself (my poor husband was on call for the holiday weekend and couldn’t go). As a certified (certifiable?) Disney fanatic, there was only one logical answer. YES. And we certainly had a fantastic and highly memorable time. Which was incredibly exhausting.
My very last minute trip to Disney created a huge training problem. That weekend I was scheduled to run 14.5 miles and on Tuesday I was supposed to run 45-60 minutes. How would it be possible to run for 3 straight hours while supervising 3 children (ages 9, 7, and 5) at Disney? The answer, of course, is that it can’t be done without hiring a babysitter. Since the whole point of this trip was to spend quality time with my children, I had to give up my long run and my Tuesday short run. (And I was so exhausted from the trip that I slept through my Thursday morning run, too.)
In an act of desperation, I tried jogging in place on our hotel balcony for 40 minutes one morning. My fitbit (step counter) measured about 2.5-3 miles worth of steps. And with a full day at Epcot, my final step count was over 11 miles. But it still wouldn’t count as a long run.
I emailed Jeff Galloway on Memorial Day and confessed my crimes. His response was lovely – Don’t worry about it and enjoy Disney with your children. He wants me to resume my regular schedule except to walk the first 5 miles of my next long run. This is why I pay for e-coaching. When I emailed him my update today, I confessed that I’ve been having trouble with motivation – likely due to a combination of travel exhaustion (this past weekend we traveled for my 20th college reunion!) and the hot weather that has suddenly arrived. Again he was helpful in saying that this type of motivational problem is common when the weather changes and I just need to plod on. I also think the absence of a compelling race on my upcoming schedule is an issue for me. I’ve always needed a deadline!
Saturday during my reunion weekend I managed my 4 miles at 12:30 pace. And today I did close to 4 miles with my 1/2 mile “race rehearsal” segments at intended race pace. I felt better today than I have but the temperature also cooled off a bit today.
I’m hoping that a lack of upcoming travel combined with feeling a little better will lead to a renewed motivation for running. I also know that seeing family and friends donate money to my charitable cause makes it very difficult to skip my training.
This weekend presents an interesting challenge. I’m schedule to run a 10k in Central Park BUT I have 16 miles on the schedule. My current plan is to get up early and try to walk the first 5 miles at home (maybe on the treadmill if necessary). Then I drive into NYC and run 6.2 (which will likely be more like 6.5 or more by Garmin distance) and then try to finish out the 16 miles. To make it all better I’m also on call and may have to abandon the race at any time if there’s an emergency. I can already tell that this isn’t going to be my fastest time…
I’d love to hear how everyone else stays motivated when life is making it hard!