Well hellloooooooo, loves!
How are you and your lovely faces??
Sorry I’ve been a bit absent here lately. I’ve just been doing FAR too good a job at my October Little Goal (RELAX.)
Alright, that’s a bit of a lie. I’ve been doing a good job of not expecting too much of myself, cutting some slack, and trying to just take a breather and have some actual down time. It’s helpful, but I am still wallowing in that burned out feeling and it’s not so hot.
Anyhow. I may keep things a touch lighter around here, but I made sure to prioritize my MOST important posts: RECIPES. And I have FIVE incredible recipes already made and photographed and just waiting to be shared with y’all 😉
Check in tomorrow for my fourth and final pumpkin recipe in a row! YAY! But for today I’m finally sharing an ODD kind of half marathon recap I mentioned in my normal half marathon recap.
It’s rather apt on a day when I’m explaining the burnout and my need for some relaxation because it’s an odd but important part of running for me … the mental aspect.
I mentioned in my last recap that the main impetus for me signing up for this race again was remembering the high I felt while training and running last year. I really felt wonderful during that training. And I wanted that for myself again.
This race, though, turned into a weirdly emotional experience for me.
I’ve made it no mystery on here that I’m trying to fight off anxiety that I feel creeping into my life. And I definitely made it no mystery that the week before my half marathon was a really hard week at work (coupled with Super PMS thanks to a recent birth control swap.) It was a week of high anxiety, high stress, high PMS, and low self esteem.
You know what fixes all of those things? ENDORPHINS.
Accomplishing a physical challenge that I did NOT think I’d do very well at, after a week like this, was exactly what I needed. It was tough, yes. I didn’t do anywhere near as well as I’d hoped when I first decided to do another half and I signed up. But I did it. And I did it with a good attitude.
My emotions really got the best of me at a few moments. It completely took me off guard but was so cathartic and welcome.
I could tell by mile 2.5 that it was not going to be a pretty race. Not surprising. I was SO frustrated when I hit mile 3 that I already was dying to walk, and I honestly thought for a split second about what the shortest route to get back to my car from that spot was. 😉 But then I told myself: ummmm you can totally WALK ten miles. And if that’s what you have to do, you’re going to do it.
True. So I kept on going. I walked a LOT for the next few miles, I felt fine. Not good, not bad (mentally); surprisingly tired physically (but no aches or pains yet.)
And then something happened somewhere around mile 5.5 … I got a second wind! I didn’t expect that! I think I was actually underfueled because it really hit me about 15 minutes after slurping down a Gu. (and not a surprise that I wasn’t in tune with how I needed to be fueled considering the total lack of long training runs 😉 )
It. Felt. GREAT.
And then commenced a series of what I viewed as karmic cheers for me to carry on. Right as I started to feel better, we caught the first glimpse of the Tower Bridge dead on (I love it. But that also means we were coming closer to the river, which I REALLY love.) Just after that, we rounded a corner and passed some awesome drummers (another love) and the absolute second that they were out of earshot and I turned my headphones back up, one of my favorite songs on my workout playlist came on. (The song I rambled about in this post, that just puts me in a happy trance and I can keep on running.)
I was in such a happy little zone at that moment, I seriously started to tear up. In a grateful way. I found that runner’s high, and I lost any urge to walk.
My little karmic signs didn’t stop there! Probably my second favorite song on that playlist came on next (Gorgeous by X Ambassadors), and I passed a woman holding a fantastic sign that said something along the lines of “high five here for a power up” and it had a big burst at the bottom corner of the sign that people smacked on their way past it. Adorable, sure, but I found it downright karmic that it was immediately before we sidled up next to the river.
Ohhhh, the river. Now THAT’S my power up. I absolutely always feel happier when I’m outside, but by water? By our gorgeous rivers here in Sacramento? Oh, man. That’s where my soul lives.
And so, like an absolute crazy person, I started to cry.
I don’t think I can really explain it. I hadn’t felt that good, in general, on a run, but especially about myself in too long. And I’m sure the raging PMS had some hand in it. 😉
I played those songs three times each as we ran along the river. My second wind faded and I had to start taking walking breaks again. And kept fighting back weird tears of pride and relief and just feeling strangely free …
Probably the best part about feeling like that with a great soundtrack in my head and nothing but time to think is I had some much-needed time with a relatively clear mind to THINK. Think about what’s been causing me so much stress and anxiety lately, how to fix it, what I need in my life. Of course these are things I’ve been thinking about lately in general, but from the mindset of “what is WRONG with me that I’m feeling this way?” On the high of feeling my self worth, my mindset shifted to “what do I deserve?”
Let me tell you: if you’re struggling with some anxiety issues and self esteem issues, go run a half marathon even if you’re wildly unprepared for it.
Those endorphins and that sense of accomplishment were better than Prozac. (said entirely for embellishment considering I’ve never taken Prozac so don’t go ditching your meds if you need them 😉 )
By the time I got to mile 10, some serious aches in my hip and knee started.
But by that point, I had done so much better than I expected after such rocky training (and considering that just two weeks ago I was super sick!) that I just didn’t care. I happily let myself walk. Every now and then I’d think something like “I’ll run until the next mile marker” and then that new, calm, proud voice that appeared during this run, responded with “No, you don’t need to do that. You’ve done so well today and you’re in pain. Keep walking until you’re really moved to run.”
I walked most of those last three miles. (Though I DID power walk because I’m a mean power-walker.) Somehow I found the drive to push through and jog a lot of the last mile, and even picked up the pace for as much of a sprint as I could muster to cross the finish line.
After my bizarre displays of emotion earlier, I was a bit fearful that I might burst into a puddle of crazy crying at the finish line.
Instead, all I felt was calm.