Checking Out

I haven’t talked about it much here, but I’ve been training.  I was so disappointed in the outcome of St. Jude (missing my sub-5:00 marathon by 15 minutes because of a freak 70-degree sunny day in December) that I signed up for what was to be my redemption race:  The Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham on 2/17.  Things were going great.  I was running my long runs faster and easier than ever before.  I ran a fantastic 14 miles on 12/30 and then things went downhill from there.  On 12/31 I woke up not feeling well, but I ran 5 sloooooow miles that afternoon to finish out my 1,000 miles for the year.  Around lunchtime on 1/1 I went DOWN.  There was no denying it.  I had the flu.  I knew I had been exposed that week.  A coworker had tested positive for type A flu.  I ended up missing most of that week of work and didn’t run a step for 8 days.  Even when I came back, I tired easily.  So that was one long run missed, but I didn’t freak out too much because I thought I still had time to bounce back.

Fast forward one week.  I missed another long run.  We had plans to go to Nashville for my birthday on Saturday, and then it rained its ASS off on Sunday.  That happened during my last training cycle, too, and I was forced to run 12 miles of an 18-miler on the treadmill.  It sucked, but it got the job done.  However, this time around I was already feeling a little burned out, and the idea of 16 miles on a treadmill was just not appealing.  AT ALL.  I couldn’t even bear the thought of stepping foot on the mill knowing that I would still have 16 miles of it in front of me.  I decided to wait out the rain and just get in as much as I could.  Well, the rain didn’t end until around 4:30, only leaving me time for 8 miles before dark.  Yeah, I COULD have finished out the last 8 on the treadmill, but I didn’t.  I thought about it.  For about a second and a half.  So that was two missed long runs.

Fast forward one more week.  Yesterday, I decided I’d give myself one more shot.  I’d try for 16 again, and the outcome would determine whether or not I went to Birmingham.  It was the perfect day for a long run.  High 40s, sunny, a beautiful day.  I felt wonderful.  I was well-rested, well-hydrated, well-fueled… I was going along just fine and then all of a sudden I was just… OVER IT.  I mean, I was DONE.  I was at mile 11, still feeling great, only had 5 more to go, but I was just sick of running.  So I stopped.  If that’s not a sure sign of burnout, I don’t know what is.

I made the decision right then.  I’m checking out of training.  Birmingham isn’t happening for me this year.  And you know what?  I’m perfectly okay with that.  If I’m not enjoying it, what the hell’s the point?  I’ve been burned out before, and I’ve always found my way back.  I have no reason to think that this time will be any different.  I think it’s just time for me and the long run to take a break from each other.  Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?