Posted by: Sara | August 21, 2013

Getting Back on the Horse

Now that some things are starting to fall into a still-shaky but tentative pattern of normalcy in my life, I have been able to pick up running and cross-training again. It’s been hard as hell– I haven’t forgotten how hard it is to get back on the horse but sometimes that first hard workout never fails to remind me. Over the past week, my workout schedule has looked like this:

Friday: Run 4 miles
Saturday: Run 4 miles; one hour Ashtanga Yoga
Sunday: Run 8 miles
Monday: One hour Body Pump; run 3 miles
Tuesday: Rest Day

In between several of those running days, I have stood on my feet for 6-8 hours working a part-time, weekend job. On Monday, I woke up at 5AM for Body Pump and started a temp job near a Metro location that happens to have one of the longest escalators in the entire Metro system. Try to be a runner and decide to forgo an opportunity to get in a little extra cross-training in the morning. All of this getting-back-on-the-horse-ness has come at a price: I am FAMISHED and, as a result of overworked muscles that have lost some strength since my last peak at the Brownville Half-Marathon, I have to do the cringeworthy unthinkable: take a second rest day in a row. I hate doing that, but with a planned Body Pump class, a 3-miler, a 5-miler, a yoga class, and a 10-miler planned for the next three days plus a 14-hour weekend on my feet at my part-time job, I’d rather not take the chance of further injury as I try to “cram” for the Disneyland Dumbo Dare Challenge and get back on track to run Baltimore in 8 weeks.

This is the part when I can’t let myself off the hook. But it’s also the part when I reflect on why I am here and try to learn something so that next time I experience major life drama, my running won’t suffer. I think about the times I went running and couldn’t stop thinking about how traumatizing unemployment has been and how terrified I am that I’m going to face rock bottom despite every effort in me to avoid failure, and I sit here with shortness of breath. So I know I wasn’t phoning it in on those runs; that the physical impact of those fears is real. But it still feels defeating to let something like that get in the way of a powerful run that I know will cure my emotions at least for the remainder of the day. I’m not sure I know how to overcome it yet– best I can offer is listening to neutral tunes while running, nothing that stokes emotion or memories. Classic rock has been a lifesaver. Other than that, I have yet to find that changeover button in my head. Easy to do when that fear is not about losing your home, the life you’ve built, and pretty much any sense of financial well-being you worked hard to achieve that was obliterated by a major hardship.

Seriously, someone tell me how to do it. It’s not easy to let myself off the hook. No matter what is going on. I don’t like feeling like I can’t overcome my problems.


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