Giving Myself Grace

Things in my running life are not going well. That's the plain, simple, and honest truth. I've searched high and low for explanations but have yet to find one. To say I'm discouraged, frustrated, fed up would be an extreme understatement. To tell you I'm finding the silver lining and embracing new adventures would be a lie. This one fraction of my life (and yes, it's a big fraction no doubt) is tearing me down at the moment and I'm trying to find the balance between letting it - allowing myself to feel defeated - and coming out on the other side OK and ready to embrace what comes next. I'm getting closer to the latter. All with a positive attitude... there's work yet to do. ;-)

So what's the deal?! I know you want answers just as much as I do. I am not injured. In fact, at the moment NOTHING even hurts. All of the niggling Achilles/posterior tibialis issues are simply gone. Upside? But my body, my body just does not want to bounce back. And it really hasn't in the past year.

When I look back at my racing I can see clearly that this inability to recover, to feel fresh, has been happening since early 2014. At the Mercer Island half last March I felt sluggish.  Boston, Winthrop, Eugene, Hood to Coast - each of those race recaps reminds me that something was off. I didn't have the umpf to do what I believe I was physically capable of doing. Last summer I chalked it up to mental burnout. I have no doubt in my mind that part of it was and maybe still is.

But my argument to that is that I've taken a break. I've backed off. I've switched focus. So what gives?! This is where everyone and their mother suggests I get blood work done. Guess what, I've done that too. I've been tested for mono, thyroid problems, anemia, etc. You name it, I've probably been tested for it. Okay, what about sleep? Check, I get about 9 hours a night and every chance I get I sneak in a nap. Nutrition? Monitored, substantial, sufficient. Sure, I eat a bit more than my fair share of sugar but that's not going to tank my system like this. I don't diet so it's not like I'm lacking in a specific nutrient. Everything appears to be in working order.

Yet I get sick - way more frequently than I used to. I wake up tired and still feeling like I could sleep for hours. I can't hold a steady decent pace if my life depended on it. Short intervals are fine but anything longer than say an 800 and it's a strugglefest. Races... well we all know how those have been going. Even a 5k, I can't muster the stamina to get me through one of those in the way that I used to a year ago. Prime example: last Saturday I ran the Fun with the Fuzz 5k. I had no expectations going into it. I just wanted to race hard and allow myself some grace. Not even 200m into the race my arms were lead weights, my legs didn't want to turn over, and I was struggling. 

I realize that 5ks often feel like this. That they are outright HARD from beginning to end. But I shouldn't feel lactic acid buildup right out of the gate. I shouldn't feel like I'm running through quicksand immediately. Especially when the pace was within a reasonable (for me) range. 

Anywho. I have no answers, no resolution. Oh yeah, the kicker is I also started having blurred vision - technically called 'ghosting' (cool term, not so cool symptoms). Yep, that's fun. Not to worry, I've seen a doctor (or 4) about that and although I've been given plenty of answers (all different), the blur remains - going on 3 weeks! Shrugs shoulders, stares at the blurry typing in front of me, and moves on.

I guess that's my update. I honestly don't know what's 'next'. I'm still running - anywhere from 4-6 days a week. Most, if not all, are 'easy' runs but I have been trying to throw in something faster once a week if I have the energy. I've been told that this will pay off when my energy DOES come back. Here's hoping that's true. 


Cluster - Birch Bay 5k Race Report

Last weekend I jumped into a local 5k, had a complete cluster of a start and race but came out of it with a slow a** time (for me... blah blah) and the win. I'd call that a success... or something.

Preface: Last week was TOUGH! Coming off a week of work travel, followed by a fantastic weekend visiting with family and my friend Steffanie in Portland, I was super fatigued and borderline sick. To put it mildly, I felt run down. And by 'run down' I mean I left work mid-day Tuesday because I didn't feel well and then proceeded to pass out on my couch for 2.5 hours. Yeah, not okay. Needless to say - I didn't really run all week.

Side note: Admittedly, this cycle of extreme fatigue has been par for the course around these parts for the better part of a year. Awesome. Yes, I think something is up with my body and I'm trying to figure it out but as of right now I don't have any answers... so maybe it's just all in my head.

Longer preface: Since coming back from Hawaii my running has been... ... lackluster. It comes in fits and spurts. I honestly don't know where to begin with this. I've switched up my training plan, keeping it a bit shorter in total mileage and slightly more 5k specific. My head has been in it - excited to train, excited to run fast. But then came the crappy workouts. One after another. I swear, the more I've tried to run fast, the slower I've run. So in the last couple of weeks I've thrown in the towel. Let's just all jog it out... 


I Need A Vacation

Kahakuloa Head
Timing is everything:
A month of migrating shoulder pain, derailed runs, ending in a lackluster race (on my birthday no less) was the perfect leap into 'get me the heck out of here and onto a beach' anyone could ask for. Bring on the relaxation! Bring on the sound of waves crashing on the shore! Bring on drinks in the sand, sun on my skin, and the adventures that await on an island untraveled!! I was so very ready for this break from every day life. Bathing suits (yes plural), books, sunglasses packed and an old pair of running shoes thrown in for good measure - ready to be worn in case I felt like running then to be left on the sandy beaches (figuratively of course) as some sort of symbolic 'moving on'.