Saturday, December 10, 2011

December and running ruts

I'd like to shirk my sense of responsibility and blame how I feel right now about running and other aspects of my life (work burn out?) on: the fact that it's December, we had weird weather a week ago, and I simply feel crazy busy and just want to get the hell out of dodge.  Nice, right?!  This is not an ideal mindset going into a, gulp, half-marathon tomorrow which will be the longest distance I've run in recent years.  In fact, my last half was about 7 years ago.  I would like to say that I took the opportunity to focus and train well, but that would be a blatant lie.  So, yeah, we'll see how the run goes.  I would like to aim for a sub-something-minute mile pace, but I would also like to actually enjoy the experience and be happy with my performance, either sub-whatever or sub-par.
The "enjoy the experience and be happy with my performance" is good advice for me to take, especially considering a serious lack of focus on my part.  Still, it amazes me that even when I don't really put the time/effort in, I find it frustrating when/if I don't feel that I've run my "best".
The 5K I ran last week represents this perfectly! Initially, I signed up for the race hoping to run a fast 5K, a distance that I don't particularly like too much. As race day approached, we experienced bad weather and much uncertainty, and I should have changed how I was framing this run mentally (should have, should have, should have...), especially when we woke up on the later side with fairly foggy heads from a wee bit too much vino and we crossed the starting line about a minute after the gun went off.  This was Michael's first 5K, but I wanted to run fast, so I ditched him and ended up having a so-so experience, running somewhat slower than I hoped/expected.  Hindsight is 50-50, and looking back, I see that running with Michael and just viewing the race as an opportunity to have fun would have been advisable.  I'm going to try to take that advice tomorrow as I slog my way through 13.1 miles.
I will say that it's not just my racing mojo that seems to have hit a hard spell. Thursday's run marked one final sign that my running game is in sore need of rejuvenation.  While I pounded out 6.5 or so miles without a huge issue physically, I found the mental release to be zero, zip, nil, and THAT was what I needed most.  My seventh period class put me in bit of a foul mood (not because of the students but another reason played a role) and then I got home and discovered that one of our dogs had decided to help himself to part of an expensive chocolate bar (he is fine, by the way).  So, I hoped and expected the run to be a zen moment for me, after which I would feel trouble-free and enjoy a clear mind.  THAT did not happen - instead, I was still fuming about my end of day encounter.  So much for the healing powers of running.
Looking at all of this, it signals to the obvious:  I need to take a break from running.  Gasp!  So, from December 12-December 30, I plan on skiing (downhill and Nordic, if possible), walking, hiking, maybe some indoor rock-climbing, snowshoeing and ice-skating, and more walking and hiking and lots of hanging out with friends and family and dogs.
Now, I just need to get through 13.1 miles tomorrow and 5 more days of work, and then life will be grand!
Then, come January 2012: Swim, bike, run!  


kilax said...

I hope your 13.1 goes well! It sounds like running isn't doing it for you, but just because you have so much other stress going on. Do you think those other activities would provide a release? Do you feel so competitive with yourself when running that you can't enjoy it?

Kalli said...

it was so great seeing you kristina! you look like you are in tip top shape and not beaten down but i get the need for a break especially when a run does not give you your release of stress-not good. i am with you-get through this week and we ca relax! let's plan a meet up soon :) will you be in the snow over winter break? sounds fun!

Kristina said...

As you'll see - I actually had a GREAT run, but I'm ready for a break. I don't consider myself a super competitive person, but I think that is a blatant misrepresentation of myself. I guess I feel that I haven't very "focused" this fall - it's been a little of this, a little of that... Which isn't bad, but I'm not sure how satisfactory it is?

Thanks for the mad props. It was really fun to see you and run together, and yes, I'd definitely love to hook up again soon! You did fantastic! It sounds like we've had pretty similar experiences with running.
Hope that you have a great Christmas break - and that it's a real break!
Yes, we head for snow on Saturday!

mindful mule said...

Perfect, after your “December 12 – December 30” break you’ll have one last day of running in 2011 and it just so happens to be a Saturday… just in time for Mt Wilson Brunch Run!