As for the personal stuff that only belongs here, not on Running Shorts, I’ve been in a little bit of a funk recently. Not depressed or anything like that, but just not quite myself. Kind of unmotivated, with school, with cooking, with day-to-day activities.
The biggest sign that something’s not quite right, other than the elapsed time since my last haircut, is that I’ve been sleeping in more. I don’t have to be into school until mid-morning at the earliest, but I always get up with Erin at six to make a smoothie for us. I do this primarily so that she doesn’t think I’m a lazy sack of s, sawing logs in bed while she’s off helping kids (she’s a pediatric occupational therapist) to support our lavish townhouse lifestyle.
The trouble is, I find myself going back to sleep more and more after she leaves. Sometimes for two hours, sometimes for four. Before you say “must be nice,” realize that it’s not nice. And it’s not me. When things are right, I have so many things I want to do that I can’t wait to get out of bed in the morning. But recently, I can’t wait to get back in.
Believe it or not, I think this is related to qualifying for Boston about a month ago. So much of my focus was on that goal, and now that I’ve achieved it, I can’t help feeling a little bit directionless. I have so much to look forward to and work toward with the baby, my Ph.D., and hopefully a 50-mile run. But none of those things is urgent enough to occupy my mind the way the upcoming marathon and the chance to achieve the goal I’d been chasing for so long did.
The one thing that’s giving me more energy than it ever has is running. Since I’ve started trail running with this group of ultra-runners (ironically called RUT — RASAC Ultra Team), running has been more enjoyable than ever for me. When I’m not running, getting back out on the trail is all I can think about. For the first time in my life, it’s not about the training process, it’s about the running. And for the first time, I feel worthy of the label “runner.”
So I have a plan to get myself out of this rut. I’m going to run every day in November, usually early in the morning. I’m going to try to average seven miles per day, or about 50 per week. This might not seem like a big deal to you, but for me it is. I’ve never run more than five days a week for any period of time, and never consistently run this many miles. More significantly, I’ve never wanted to run this much before.
Don’t worry; I’ll be smart about it. If I see that I can’t handle it, I’ll stop. Being injured and not able to run at all would be the worst thing right now. But I think that done carefully, this just might be the jolt that I need.