Stuck in a Rut

As of today, August 4th, I have completed 13 half marathons, one full marathon, and numerous races of other distances. I fell in love with running at the beginning of last year and loved the thrill of the race. I loved working towards a goal, watching myself get stronger and faster. I was coming closer and closer to my goals. I almost ran a sub 30 5k, I'm registered for the Hamptons half marathon in September, the Chicago marathon in October, and the Disney Dopey Challenge in January. Everything sounds like it couldn't be better, but about 2 and a half months ago I started having a problem with consistency and motivation.

I can't quite pinpoint when this all started, but I know it gradually got worse and worse. There were things in life that got in the way. I moved, so I was further away from the area that the Suncoast Striders run - an amazing group of runners that are super motivating and great to run with. I started going back to school. I had to shift a lot of my free time to focus on completing assignments and that became a priority. I transferred work locations, and my schedule is different, so it makes it hard to be consistent with training runs. However, I still feel like I could have made time to run. I just don't know what was stopping me. I was in a rut.
After one of my few runs recently

I ran a few times over the past 2 months, but the runs were very few and far between. I knew that I should be training for Chicago, but I couldn't quite get myself pushed out the door. I did a few 3 mile runs, one 7 mile long run, and that was about it. My pace was slow for me, I was tired, and I felt discouraged.

An attempt at getting myself motivated

There was one day that I was organizing and decided to spread my race bibs out. I thought about the races that I did and how much I loved them. I theorized that maybe my lack of motivation was coming from the fact that I had no shorter term goals - no races planned in the near future. I used to race A LOT and now I was focused more on the longer distances I was going to be running and traveling for. Could this be the problem? I thought about finding an upcoming 5k, but didn't.

Finally yesterday I decided I needed to just snap out of it. I love running. It makes me happy. It makes me more energetic. I could feel that there has been something missing lately and I know that it has been that I haven't felt the thrill of reaching a new goal. I was going to take charge and get back in it. 

I realized this would be extra challenging now because I knew I wasn't going to be able to run as long or as fast as before and this would be discouraging. But running is running, and no matter what speed or distance it's still an awesome feeling when you're done and you know you've accomplished what you set out to do.

This morning I woke up with an immense amount of energy and motivation. I had my fuel belt ready in case I wanted to run long. I had my sports beans and my GU laid out. And then came the rain. It poured. I figured I'd wait it out and see. It eventually stopped but the humidity level was insane, so I opted for the gym. I knew I wasn't going to have the motivation to stay on a treadmill for as long as I'd be able to run outside, but I was going to be running and that was all that mattered.

And so I did it. I ran. I ran 3.5 miles. And they were slow, difficult, sweaty miles. It took me 37:34 to run the first 3.1 miles which was extremely discouraging, but I knew that I had to start back up somewhere. And I'm going to use that to push myself harder to get back into it. Three months ago I ran 3.1 in 30:05. Today I added 7 and a half minutes to that time.

Normally I would be disappointed in myself and this would kill my motivation. But this time I'm using it to fuel my fire. Running is an extremely mental sport. If you think you can achieve it you will. And I know I will get myself back to where I was. Yes, it will take time and effort, but in the end it will be worth it. I'll know I overcame this obstacle and kicked it's ass.