Winter Blues and Running Motivation

A good thing about today is that I have a meal in my crockpot bubbling away, and it will be ready when I get home from laundry/gym/library/errands and before I go off to my Thursday run. I haven’t made Butternut Squash Risotto before (another recipe from THIS BOOK that saved my life last winter) but the sage and cumin spice-combo smells delicious.

A bad thing about today is that it’s still November, and winter isn’t going away for MONTHS!

My Seasonal Depression is mild and manageable without medication, which makes me hella lucky! But as the days get colder I still notice myself feeling down more often than usual, and feeling more tired, even though over the summer I was doing more things with more intensity and with…not less fatigue but different, more positive fatigue. I have a pretty full schedule of life-giving events that I never miss, and sometimes over these last few weeks I find myself not wanting to go…even though I KNOW I’ll feel better when I get there. So I go, and I do.

Some of this is to say November hasn’t been a big writing month, even though in my post just two weeks ago I told you about my big November writing goals. I stand by my decision not to do Na-No this year because there just isn’t a new book in me right now, but without that bar graph and relentlessly increasing word count the writing has not been happening. It’s been a little more about survival—making it to the runs and social events, making a plan for tracking my expenses and making a budget, trying to feed myself more healthily and inexpensively. This doesn’t sound like that many things, but sometimes that’s just where you’re at, you know? I work early mornings at a coffee shop, and I LOVE the morning shift because I get out so early in the day—but if you’re not careful about getting enough sleep, a workweek can feel like a bit of a deathmarch, something to get through until that next day you can sleep in. During the summer on Wednesdays, the first day of my weekend, I just slept for hours and then woke up and ran for hours. And I actually miss that long run training schedule, because you feel just a little less pathetic about the week’s worth of dishes piling up in your sink when you ran twenty miles that day.

Running! The ebb and flow of fitness is a weird thing. I started being intentional about running and fitness just about two years ago, which is a very short time in the scheme of things, and I’ve had the luxury of getting fitter and faster for the majority of that time. I did my second marathon this September (2018) and got a Personal Record by 45 minutes. Going into that race I was the fittest and strongest I’ve ever been in my life. This was just a little over a month ago, and I’ve continued running and lifting things, so most of that strength hasn’t gone too far away. My miles dropped off when I stopped doing race-specific long runs, however, and now I’m trying to get them back up and build a stronger base for the winter. It’s demoralizing to feel exhausted after a 20-mile week when just two months ago you crushed a 47-mile week for your highest-mileage week ever. But you can’t always be at your best/most/fastest/highest/farthest ever, though I do think I have an awful lot of personal bests still to come. You have to keep yourself going by trusting the process over the long haul, and trusting that you’ll get there for your next big thing (I’m leveling up for my next race, if all goes well: a 50-kilometer trail race in the spring). And looking at the little things helps too. Last night was the coldest night for running so far this year, and for 3.3 miles I averaged 8:55 minutes per mile. This isn’t fast by a lot of people’s standards, but I remember a similar cold night in November or December of 2016, back at the beginning of this journey, when I ran my absolute hardest for a similar distance. I remember huffing and puffing on my way back to the bar, really putting my heart into it and running until it hurt—and I averaged 10:30 minute miles. And I was proud! And I should have been! But it’s cool to see how far I’ve come, and good to remember the huge difference between now and then, especially when I feel like I haven’t been working as hard as I could been have over the last month. There’s a lot more months ahead, and lot more hard work to go!

And a lot more cold weather before spring. Brr.

45828058_10155920147631444_4937364115648675840_n

Advertisements