The setbacks, they just keep on coming.
It started with the cough -- the bugger of an illness that made me stop my walking streak. It lasted for more than three weeks. As I expected, once that streak ended, it was hard to find the motivation to pick it back up. Streaks like that aren't easy to do, and knowing that my foot pain was likely caused by overuse, I wasn't very motivated to begin again.
And with the lack of exercise came the overeating. It's a part of my history: All or nothing.
Then, after my vacation (where I took my running shoes and clothes but couldn't find a do-able path), I headed out to my neighborhood track for a long run only to find a sign that said the track was closed until Aug. 22 (INSERT PANIC HERE). Seeing that sign made my heart sink -- and then race with anxiety. The track was less than half a mile away from my home and was what helped me keep up my training. What was I going to do? The Custis Trail, while also close, was just too hilly for me to get in a solid run.
The rest of the week was a disaster -- I was filling in for folks on vacation and had to be at work at 8 a.m., sometimes not getting home until 9:30 p.m. Then I worked a solid 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. Saturday shift. (That's not a typo: It was an 18-hour workday.) The next morning, there was no way I was going to try to go for a long run. My immune system was already compromised from the lack of sleep. I could not get sick again.
All this past week I have found myself in a massive depression (mixed with some serious anxiety). I know the culprit: No running + free endless snacks at work. I was eating too much sugar/preservatives, was under stress at work and had no outlet to get rid of it.
On Friday, it took every ounce of energy I had to drive out to another high school track my friends had told me about. I did two laps before the rain came pouring down. (Normally rain doesn't bother me, but in this case, I was wearing my glasses and didn't have a hat.)
I returned today, Sunday, for what I hoped would be my long run. I was supposed to do 15 miles. I was sapped. It took everything I had to get to 10 miles, and most of it was walking. Get this: For the first two miles, I felt pain in my shins. What?! All this training had gotten me to a point where shin splints weren't an issue; I take a month off and I'm back to square one? Then my foot/toes began to ache. I thought the running/walking break I had taken had healed my feet. Apparently not.
What does this mean? I wish I knew. I can't help but see these series of setbacks as a sign that I shouldn't be doing this. Then I think of that song on my iPod: "You're an overcomer. Stay in the fight till the final round."
So I'm trying to look at this practically. I plan on adjusting my training schedule to build in more time before I try 15 again. And I need to get back to remembering the mantra "Live every day with intention" -- by planning my walks/runs better, committing to rolling my legs and strengthening my muscles, and having a solid plan for eating so I don't succumb to the sugary snacks.
As you know, that's easier said than done. But the only other choice I have is to quit and that's not an option right now. This fight's not over.
This past week, as I have wallowed in self-pity and battled anxiety, I searched hard for motivation -- I skimmed through my marathon books, flipped through Runner's World, etc. But unlike in the past, these writings weren't inspiring me. Every morning when my alarm would go off, I'd shut it off without a second thought.
Then yesterday, I was going through photos from the past year to get prints made, and I came across the shots of me walking the Turkey Trot, running in the snow, posing after those 10-milers, smiling on the track. And I remembered how much I had gone through to get to this point.
I was looking outside of myself for motivation while it was inside me all along.