Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Running on Empty

"If one could run without getting tired, I don't think one would often want to do anything else." 
-- C.S. Lewis

The last 9 months have been arguably some of the busiest months in my lifetime. I've been busier in the past, yes... but this is probably the busiest I've been in both my work life and personal life at the same time. I'm not good at this whole work-life balancing act. I tend to focus all of my energy into one or the other (usually work/school), but in an effort to give more to my personal life, I've just jammed in more personal activities without really reducing or better managing my work. There are a few reasons for this, mind you, but I have been determined to give my personal life more attention regardless.

I really started to concentrate on giving my personal life more attention last fall, mostly by way of spending less of my days off at work and hanging out with friends more. Small wins. By November, I had begun more steadily incorporating exercise into this new routine, albeit on a less regular schedule. Several circumstances in December drove me to focus even more attention to exercise - as a way of not only improving my health, but also reducing the stress that was dramatically increasing both at home and at work. Since then, I have mostly kept to this workout routine, starting more heavily focused on strength training at first and more recently focusing on cardio.

As you know, I decided that I wanted to go back into running more seriously earlier this summer. I used to run regularly in college, and missed it terribly. I know that the activity is not the best for someone with a history of back and knee issues, but cycling doesn't really do it for me and I cannot stand the elliptical. So, I started run/walk intervals in May, steadily building up to a run by June... and finishing my first 3 mile run in August. I was stoked! 

As you also know, a series of setbacks (excuses) have brought me to where I am today. A combination of heat and smoke derailed my running efforts in late August, and a disappointing finish at the Dodger 5K demotivated me tremendously. My morning miles slowed down, my strength training slowed down... I just couldn't find my mojo! To top it off, my work projects have become insanely busy, and I often find that I barely have the energy to walk my dog, let alone run a few miles after work every day. I've been just so dang tired! 

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I co-chaired and hosted an industry conference in California for the last half of last week. Our hotel was less than a mile to Venice Beach, and I committed to myself that I would at least walk to same every morning before our conference began. AND... I DID IT! The first morning, I ran to the beach, grabbed a coffee, walked a mile drinking it, and then ran back just in time to kick off the conference. The next day, I did it again... this time skipping coffee and just completing the run. Success! Mojo found! And just in time... I only have 16 weeks until my half marathon. Eek!

I know that not everyone has the luxury of finding themselves at a hotel near a beach for a few days to find their mojo... Frankly, I often pinch myself that I am even given such opportunities! But I do think it is important for people to find or recognize their happy place. Is there a park near your house that you enjoy visiting for a sunset stroll? Do you find yourself motivated by certain friends or people? Perhaps you enjoy a certain class, or a specific workout song? It took me visiting the beach to remember why I love running, and why I shouldn't give up. What will it take to remind you of why you are working towards a goal? How will you find your mojo?

I officially started the 1/2 marathon training I mentioned in my blog that I posted last week on Sunday, even though I unofficially got back to my strength training and cardio routine last Tuesday. Today was a 2 mile run/walk routine, which I unfortunately broke out into a mile this morning and a mile tonight. The bad thing with being busy is that you must find creative ways to fit in the things you want to do between the things you have to do. I'm hoping tomorrow will be better. I have cross-training tomorrow, another 2 mile run/walk Thursday, a rest day on Friday, and a 3 mile run on Saturday. Will I accomplish these things? I certainly hope so! But even if I end up walking more than I run, I am determined to finish. My energy may not be there, but perhaps the exercise will help with that too.

I know this has been a long, meandering post... I appreciate you bearing with me. When Natasha and I started this thing, we promised to show you our trials as much as our successes! I just hope that going forward you see more of our successes and less of my whiny posts :) While I'm sure they're less than entertaining, I certainly appreciate the forum to vent. Thank you all for continuing to be so encouraging! I have the greatest friends!