As of late the weather has been a big issue in the Chicagoland area due to the unseasonably cold temperatures that we have been having. With regards to running, either it is bone chilling cold or the paths are not cleared enough to run on even with yak tracks, and DST has not taken place as well so darkness still prevails. The saying “When Hell freezes over” well they might have run out of fire at this point, and the Sun has been on vacation and only comes out occasionally like it has limited plans to return. When I cannot get outside to run that really alters my mood for I do not like going indoors. My motivation of sorts is somewhat based on planned races or just trying to maintain my base by getting in miles the best way I can. Right now I seem to be in a “weird” space and just trying to keep things in order with regards to running.
I have tried to adjust somewhat by going to the gym and running laps on the track. Running in circles is mind over matter to a certain extent but it also becomes very boring and my mind does not like it (lol). I will not run on a treadmill for that is the ultimate death (JMHO) so it’s like the laps are the lessor of the two evils. I do not want running to go from something that I enjoy doing into something that I “have to do” in terms of a job or a chore. Running brings me peace-of-mind something to look forward to in the morning to start my day or after work when I need breathe and regroup hence, a joy.
I have incorporated a weight training plan because I feel that strength is needed for my core, which supports my legs as I run. When I was training for the marathon in 2013 everybody kept telling me that I needed core training and it helped. So by adding something else to my running routine it helps when I cannot run, and alters my focus a bit to change things up. I have a training plan that I keep on the calendar but if it has to be altered then so be it. My goals are not that complicated or fussy when it comes to running for the goals are tailored to what I want out of running.
Motivation can be a bit overrated either you want to run or you don’t. I look at running as something that I have made a part of the lifestyle that I try to live, something that I want to do, not that I “have to do”. When running is part of your lifestyle it becomes part of one’s everyday schedule like work, school, etc. It is probably the easiest to alter or adjust due to weather, illness, etc. but it should not be shelved. Everybody has their own ways of being motivated, inspirations, or some may have nothing at all. Just do what is best to keep you off the couch. #PathRunner #Changeyourmind-Changeyourlife
I am a huge fan of The Hobbit series and when Bilbo wrote down his adventures at the end he titled it “There and Back Again”. I started thinking about the title when I sat down to write my blog and it seemed befitting to do name it the same. I tend to look at life in general as a journey that has numerous paths that it can take, leaving many untraveled trails to be taken. In this phase of my journey, I am in the process of “standing still” in order to regroup and get back on track. Having to many things on one’s plate can cause sensory overload hence, the system will shut down, as so in computers, well so do our bodies.
Being a planner and organizer (sometimes to a fault) when things do not fit into my mold or concept arena, it becomes an outlier. When I introduced running to my journey it was something that I found as a challenge but was willing to take it on. The other duties I had at that time were not as time consuming therefore, I had to time to get better at this new item. Running really helped me lose weight and distress as I have previously stated. Running also gave me a sense of accomplishment knowing that I started out not knowing what to do, what to wear, how to run, to now I can plan my training for any race that I want to do.
I decided to kick it up a notch and started training for the Chicago Marathon (2013), talk about upping the stakes, I jumped in full throttle. When I was training, I was working two jobs (FT and PT) and full-time school, and trained four days a week for the marathon. This was the most running I had ever done in mileage and frequency but I did it. Needless to say I had everything planned out, scheduled, and on my calendar. I alerted family and friends that I am in “marathon training” and would not be available until after October 13. Now for the ones that know me, know I do not start anything thing without finishing it. I have always been this way regardless of how hard or whatever obstacles are in the way I manage to hurdle over it. I had a lot of support, which helped me to do this for it was a grueling experience. Running consumed me 24/7!
On the flipside, I was in the best shape and health that I had ever been, My weight was down, DB down, BP down, and life was good (at least for now). The build-up and the hype for the marathon were awesome. One would have thought I was Meb or Rita <lol>, and I was in my mind for this is the ultimate race for a runner and here I was getting ready to take it on. Well, October 13 came and went, the race was over, I finished, and the hoopla that came with it. I had to settle back into work life, school life, and life in general and things did not seem so exciting. I took two weeks off from running and that is when the seams started unraveling.
As you know in Chicago winter can strike at any time after September, daylight savings time sets in, and now darkness and cold. None of my running buddies wanted to run anymore, too cold, too late, etc. so I was left without someone to run with. Then grad school kicked in full force and my time had to be dedicated to working on my dissertation (which had problems within itself), while I was still working the two jobs. Running started to take a back seat, but I still tried to run on the weekends but it was just not enough to maintain my base, it was gone, I was crushed. My whole demeanor changed for I felt like I did not have an outlet, and that is when I discovered how much running became a part of my life.
The New Year (2014) was here so I decided to sign-up for a half marathon in April for I could plan my schedule and organize my training schedule for I know this is what I needed for a boost to get back in the saddle. In the between time I was preparing to defend my dissertation and graduate (March) so once again no running. Well….the saddle was not for me to get into and I found that out all too quickly. I could not get my required mileage in and the April HM was a disaster time wise and quality. I learned (and I already knew) that if you do not train you cannot run, at least for me. Now in this time span I had gained the weight back that I had originally lost, which made it harder for me to do what was done in the past.
And Back Again……………(current)
Now that graduation has past and the time has come full circle, I had to find my running mojo and that was not an easy thing to do. I lost the motivation and inspiration that I first had and almost stopped completely. I decided to stop and take a look as to why I run. Have my reasons changed if so, what are they? Do I still want to run? I look at the gear that I invested in and still did not know at that point. Still trying to find my mojo, balance, life after school, and life after weight gain, I felt very overwhelmed and out of control. Then I found myself not wanting to do anything, stuck-in-the-mud so to speak. I have since done a lot of soul/sole searching and decided that I know how to change all of these issues but one at a time.
I have taken control back and yes made a plan for that is what I do best. Some people state or say “no excuses” well if that works for you so be it, but you know life happens some things are planned and some are not. I’ve learned that when life deals you a lemon-go run, when things get out of hand-go run, and when the balance is not there make it happen, and go run. Yes, I still love to run and steady making changes to get better for “me”, whether it’s one mile or 13.1 for it’s all about the journey. Bilbo told Frodo that he did not end the book for it still had some more chapters, well the same for me. Change you mind, change your life!
The Journey continues…………….(moving forward)