Running Funk

It wasn’t until I saw someone else refer to being in a “funk” with their running that I realized that’s the perfect name for what I’m feeling right now. A funk. I’ve been doing my workouts, checking each one off daily, but the excitement just isn’t there. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and moving my legs, but something seems different this time and I’m hoping I’ll grow out of it soon.

It could be the comparison trap – I see friends and peers doing epic things this winter and feel like I’m sitting on the sidelines and not in the game myself.

It could be the cold air – it’s hard to get out of a warm bed in the morning wanting to go freeze outside. I’ve also noticed my muscles are a lot tighter in the winter and breathing is harder for me which makes it even less enticing.

It could be the hamstring injury – I feel like I’m just waiting for an issue to resurface and it messes with my mind when I try to push my pace at all.

It could be the paces – I’m doing nearly all of my runs at an aerobic effort or easier as I build a base back up so those little glimmers of hope that you get while doing speedwork and reminding yourself that your body can do hard things haven’t been as prevalent.

It could be the hills – we moved to a hillier place in August and what used to be an easier effort is now made more challenging by running on hills. I’ve been trying to remind myself that I will adapt the more I keep at it but it’s not fun while I don’t feel conditioned for it just yet.

It could be the fact that I feel out of shape – I was in peak shape just a few months ago and coming off the high of a BQ has been challenging.

It could be the BQ itself – for 6 years I was chasing the same goal and although it’s odd to say, I feel a little lost that I no longer have that “constant” in my life, the thing that was driving me.

Let’s dig a little deeper into that last point as that is truly what I think is going on here. I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to run the Boston Marathon in April. However, I’m having a hard time getting as excited as I used to be about training. I have goals in mind that I’m trying to get myself excited for but while I’m sucking in lots of air getting back into shape, it’s hard to even imagine getting back to that point where those goals are feasible. As of two days ago, we are only 4 months out from Boston and that scares the heck out of me. 17 weeks sounds a little less scary and more manageable. It’s funny how just reframing it can make a huge difference. But that excitement piece – I’m still working on it. My husband and I were talking about something totally unrelated the other night and one of the things he said to me stuck with me – “we don’t like to do things we aren’t good at.” Hmm. Good is a relative term; what’s good to me might not be so impressive to someone else and vice versa. But right now I don’t feel “good” at running. I feel like I’m just scraping by and being mediocre and that’s not a fun place to be. Writing this I recognize that it seems silly on paper, but you can’t shake a “funk” just by writing about it.

I’ve had some small victories along the way – a 10-mile run on hills after the stomach flu and after 2 months of no double-digit long runs my pace came in at just under 8:15. A stride workout where my legs got to move under 6-minute pace again and by the end the 7 teens pace felt comfortable. These little sparks help bring my confidence back and remind me that just a few months ago I was doing really hard things and that my body can’t have forgotten it all in that time.

Although this funk might be messing with my head right now, I’m going to keep showing up every day and doing my workouts. I’ve been adding in weights in the weight room to mix things up and have been enjoying seeing myself get stronger. I know in my heart I love this sport and the funk will only be temporary. I hope to start getting myself excited about the goals I have for Boston and that soon they’ll be just as exciting as the BQ goal.

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