How Quickly We Question Our Running Mojo!

yAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAs!

yAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAs!

Subtitle: what an amazing run I had this morning!

I am always quick to question my Thyroid – after all, it pretty much totally failed on me just 7 years ago. So whenever I am cold, tired, irratable, or whatever … I think ‘uh oh – thyroid’. Lisa has been concerned recently that my meds might need adjusting, and my bloodwork is due, so it has been on our minds.

One key thing about Hypothyroidism – when your meds are out of balance you tend to get lethargic.

Yesterday I had an awful run – perhaps my worst run of 2014. I spent the whole thing ready to cash it in, and I was assuming that indeed my running mojo was shot. Doom and gloom. As Harold said – I was the bug. So naturally I began to question literally EVERYTHING … um, yeah, by now I should know better. But fortunately I got a grip on myself and decided to look back at the previous week of workouts.

Here are the last several days:

Friday: It was in the 40s at 4AM, but I was evergized – rushed to get out the door, and I ran 11.1 miles in long shirt, tights and light gloves. It was a great run and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Saturday: My long run came late in the day after a relaxing morning and a bunch of around-the-house work. I decided to do hill work and distance – had a snack before I left and filled my water bottle with ice and G2 and off I went. My goals were basic – hills and more than 15 miles. I ended up doing 18.4 miles, which was just awesome – I wasn’t totally wasted at the end, but it got cloudy and was already getting dark by 8PM and I wasn’t dressed in reflective gear, so I cut off the extra loops I had planned and got home.

Sunday: ‘Rest Day’ … which translated to 7.4 miles on the S-Health app and an additional 3.2 tracked on my Polar Loop when my phone was charging. This also included about 5 hours of driving, picking up Danny’s girlfriend at Cornell on the way to Syracuse, lugging stuff around, the usual stress associated with spending hundreds of dollars per kid on back-to-school clothes, and so on. Early morning, late night, driving in the rain … exhausted.

Monday: After brunch Lisa had to go to work and the kids wanted some time to just hang out with Danny’s girlfriend, and she also had to go back to her house to grab some things to bring back to Cornell. So that gave me a couple of hours, and I hopped right out and went for my run. The goal was … well, just a generic long run, my usual ‘half marathon ready’ default. But … wow, was it hot and humid! It started very cloudy and breezy, but cleared up as I ran and the sun was just beating on me. I ran 16.5 miles … but it was a ‘slog’ for a large part of it!

Tuesday: As I said before – this was awful! It was 75F with 95% humidity – at 4AM! From the start it was a struggle – I kept waiting for things to ‘click’. They never did … in fact, it just got worse and worse. I wanted to walk, wanted to go home, wanted to cry. It was all I could do to get past 5 miles. I cannot remember the last time a run felt so bad … well, actually I can – it was April 2012, I weighed at least 275lbs and was just restarting my running.

Wednesday: We slept with the windows open and I could feel the nice cool air with low-humidity – it was 60F and dry. I woke up feeling great – but stressed out about my awful run on Tuesday. I laced up and headed out early … and from the first strides it was like magic had returned. I ended up doing about 10.75 miles, and I could easily have continued … I really felt great. My last half mile I sprinted and looked at my Garmin and was SO close to the 6’s … but couldn’t get below 7:05 pace. Which, for me, is still freaking amazing! I finished up by breaking 3 minutes for a plank … first time ever!

What Did I Learn?
Major ‘duh’ moment – I have heard so many times people question their mojo when they’ve had a bad day or week … and I remind them that there is a natural ebb and flow, and that we should never place too much emphasis on a single run. And yet I allowed myself to take the feeling from a couple of runs and have it dictate how I felt overall.

I also allowed concern with my Thyroid to impact how I put those bad days into context. It was like I was carrying the couple of days to an illogical end of not running anymore and being fat. Even if my thyroid meds need to be tweaked, it is a minor thing and there is no reason it should impact my running.

And finally, I need to realize that I don’t take rest days – and sometimes that is just not a good thing. I mean, in theory I DO take rest days – but looking at the ‘rest days’ I have taken over the last month, I have (a) done college tours including 7 hour drives each way (b) gone on ‘advanced’ hikes of two different gorges (c) spent 4 hours kayaking and (d) had a long day of shopping including more than 10 miles of walking. Am I REALLY surprised that I ended up exhausted?

When was the last time YOU felt like you lost your running mojo?

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21 thoughts on “How Quickly We Question Our Running Mojo!

  1. RIGHT NOW! My whole shin splint issue has just broken me. I feel like I may be able to get going again soon, though. Just waiting a few more days since I just had surgery Friday to make sure I don’t bounce things around too much while they’re recovering.

  2. You need a rest day per week, or at least once every other week with that high mileage! You are a really strong runner, but man that is just way too much! I am feeling my tendons quiver just reading what you did day after day! In the past I definitely got caught in the “what’s wrong with me” tunnel when I was just pushing myself too much, the mileage was too high and I would start to drag. The heat and humidity makes it worse too. Try really giving your muscles a full day to do nothing – takes a lot of discipline but really worth it.

    • haha – I know I have said the same thing to you in the past! It is funny how easy it is to equate ‘not running’ with ‘rest’ … which is why this post was important for me – it put into writing what I already know … I am more awful than ever about rest. Ugh. No wonder I ‘crashed’ yesterday – my body was saying ‘WTF, enough already dude!’

  3. I think its really great that you can recognize the reason behind the way you are feeling. I think last May/June I started to get a little burnt out and I needed more time than I thought to recover from my last marathon. I had to finally give myself a real break- Some weeks I ran as little as 10-20 miles and took a couple rest days each week and did some cross training. It was like all of a sudden when I was ready to be back to training, I knew! I just felt so different after a real break. I also know that I need a TRUE rest day that involves physical and mental rest to recover well. Its not always an option with busy schedules and traveling but I try to make it happen when I can!

    • I think I have honestly underestimated how busy and exhausting this summer has been – I mean, I ran more miles last summer when I was on work travel, but in the hotel room I would just crash with my laptop and chill – and at home we would just want to be together before I flew out again. So I ran more miles but got more rest. Weird!

      Learning what our body needs is so important … and also the realization that those ‘fitness trackers’ I wear that are constantly telling me how active I am (in addition to running) MIGHT just be trying to tell me something 🙂

  4. What a great post and something we all can use to remind ourselves! I have had those moments of questioning my own progress–its like one bad run can just throw me all off. But if we don’t have the bad runs, how do we appreciate the “good” ones?? I just remind myself of that little nugget when it gets tough!

    I have lost my “mojo” before…it usually happens after a marathon training cycle and takes me about 3 weeks post marathon to get it back.

    • Thanks Nicole – I don’t know why post-race I don’t get the letdown I hear so much about … but I don’t. And I seldom have really bad runs, mostly just ‘blah’ runs – but you are right … because the contrast between today’s run and the one yesterday was stunning.

  5. Depends. If I take a break, it’s sometimes a day, sometimes more. Bear in mind, my schedule incorporates taking 3 breaks in the year: a week or two right around Christmas and in late April (just how the marathon seasons break out), and then in October if we’re on a big vacation. I find those bigger breaks are usually enough to keep me fairly fresh, motivated, energized, but I also try to do a couple rest days per month (though yeah, sometimes I throw in yoga or other stuff, guilty like you of not doing true rest), and I also usually have one day per week of boot camp only (no real running). But even then, sometimes a few runs just suck and I push through and then suddenly, the weather changes and I feel great, or I run something shorter with some kick, and it all just clicks back into place even without any rest.

    • Thanks Carina … it is probably a good thing to have those natural breaks. I kept counting non-running times as ‘rest’ (yes, Lisa tries to tell me otherwise!) … but now I will try to be more mindful of that! And you are right – sometimes it clicks without rest.

    • haha – I remember coming back to running 2.5 years ago after my thyroid died and it sucked so much that I was convinced every week it would never ‘click’ again – and I had already been running for >20 years! haha

  6. It is always good for me to get a reminder that one bad run (or even 10 in a row as is sometimes the case for me) does not mean that I have lost it all (although it always feels that way). Glad you had a great run!

  7. I totally agree with Sarah–sometimes you need that bad run to bring you back to the good runs. But I must also add that I know all too well the frustration of dealing with medications and how they impact your fitness levels. There have been times when I feel so completely out of it, only to realize a few days later that my body is completely out of whack, and there is no reason to beat myself up over it.

    • Good point Suz – I know I am very fortunate that my general health is excellent aside from thyroid issues, so that in general it should be easier for me to sort these things out. But you (and Sarah) are right – it is very easy to forget the distinction between good and bad runs and just assume a bad run means something more is wrong!

  8. Great post! And I find all your runs to be impressive. My running mojo left me two weeks ago, which is not cool since I have a race on Sunday. I think I may have pushed too many times when I was feeling poorly and am paying the price now.

  9. Pingback: Sunday Tech Round-Up and Weekly Running Summary | Running Around the Bend

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