(Note: if you’re looking for motivation, TURN BACK!)
It’s been a tough go since I last wrote this. Last week was particularly rough training wise. On Monday I struggled with a 10K loop of Elk Lake, both mentally and physically. Throughout the entire, easy loop, I mentally just wanted to quit, but I didn’t and I finished it. Wednesday I actually had a good session with my trainer, Nick – he briefly snapped me out of the funk (Good luck in Hawai, buddy!). Thursday I did Elk Lake again and it felt like I had cement in my shoes the entire time. Saturday I did my long-run at Thetis which was a bit of a beacon of hope (I did about 11-12K of trails). Thetis seems to be the one spot I have a hard time having a BAD run. Usually, if I start slow or unmotivated, by the time I get into the technical single track I find some sort of flow.
I took Sunday off as my legs were screaming at me from Thetis on Saturday, then Monday I was supposed to do hill intervals. I went to McKenzie Bight, not far from where I live, and I felt the worst I’ve felt in a long time. I’m not sure if it’s burn-out from work, training on the weekend, freelancing and some other stuff on the go, everything combined, or maybe I’ve hit a wall.
Anyways, on Monday, I got 20 minutes into my workout and I quit. I quit. For the first time in a long time, I quit halfway through a workout. I just couldn’t do it. My lungs felt heavy, my brain foggy, my legs like cement polls; it was demoralizing. I felt defeated, through and through. Tuesday I vowed to make up for my half-ass workout and forget Monday, so I did a hard hour on the bike at the gym, which felt great. Tonight (Wednesday) I did 3 loops at Cedar Hill Golf Course – just over 10K and it felt OK.
But it’s been a struggle to even keep going. I feel tired, sometimes unmotivated and I’m even starting to doubt myself. I don’t know if I can do this 50K race. Maybe I’m not a runner. Maybe I’m too big. Too slow. Not tough enough. These thoughts have been circulating CONSTANTLY at the forefront of my brain for the last week and a half.
I’ve also been juggling a few projects outside of training, on top of a full-time job, which is definitely impacting my mental game.
I’ve been reading a lot of Ultramarathon books – right now I’m halfway through “Eat and Run” by Scott Jurek and listening to “Finding Ultra” by Rich Roll on my commute, and it’s been helping with the confidence, but it’s a little taxing reading about all people who are FAR superior athletes than I’ll ever be. Not to say I’m even comparing, after all, I’ll be lucky to finish the Squamish 50K in one piece, and finishing is my goal – nothing else. Alas, the one common mantra that seems to be coming from these books is don’t give up. Keep going. Do something – anything. So that’s where I am, mentally: Just. Keep. Going.
The one thing I am certain of when it comes to myself is that the older I get, the more I feel the need to follow through and complete something. I think grad school embedded this reserve of kinetic energy in me that I rely on in times like these, but maybe it’s burning up and I need to find smarter ways to balance everything, rather than just push through the tough times and hope to see the crest of a new wave of motivation.
Honestly, I really don’t know. I’m going to hope for something to click again and find a groove. I’ve got about 10-weeks until the race, so I hope it happens soon. Every month until August I am planning on ramping up my training, so it’s not going to get any easier.
So, for now, until I can find a balance or a groove, and hopefully see the end of this slog, I’m going to do, reluctantly, the only thing I know how to do when I feel like this:
Just. Keep. Going.