Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Long Run that Wasn't

I have, unfortunately, enough experience with running-while-grieving to kind of know what to expect. When my beloved dog Toby passed away a few years ago, my first run after her death was supposed to be 7 miles. I walked it in after 3.5; my body and mind just weren't ready for that kind of effort.

I remembered that this time around, but I didn't remember how long it really took me to get back into a running mindset. I skipped my scheduled 12-miler that Sunday. Tuesday I went on a run without a distance in mind. I ended up running way too fast as my emotions fueled me, and then had to walk it in after 2.5 miles. That's okay...I knew that run would just be about getting outside.

I joined Kristin for six miles Thursday morning, but missed my Friday run because I felt absolutely exhausted physically and mentally. Instead I did some free weights.

So my long run this weekend was supposed to be 14 miles, and I got up to go. I had my new Camelbak Circuit packed and ready. I had a route in mind. I knew it was supposed to pour around 8am but thought I could at least get a couple hours in.
Typical Florida weather I guess.
I prepped an assortment of food for the run. The Circuit held it all nicely, and still had room for my sunglasses.
But no. I just...wasn't there. It was too much time to think. Too much time alone. I kept remembering that Archie's been gone for a week already, and once I got thinking of that I just couldn't go on. I did just over four miles and came home, dejected.

I may go out again tonight and finish the rest of the distance, or, because we don't have school tomorrow, I may try again Monday morning. I don't want to shirk my long runs, but my mind and body just aren't feeling it right now.
I took quite a few walk breaks and my legs never really seemed to warm up this morning. Usually after a couple miles I start to enjoy myself, but today all I wanted to do was go back to bed.
I don't want to cut myself too much slack, and I certainly don't want to use Archie's passing as an excuse, and I don't want to keep thinking about it...But I know the source of this lethargy, and I know I just need a little more time. It still feels fresh. I'll persevere, but I need to be patient and diligent.

As for the Camelbak, I liked it. You can definitely hear sloshing but rather than annoy me, I actually like the rhythm. It doesn't bounce and it holds just enough stuff. Along with all the pockets in my running skirts, I'll never need to wear a belt again! It didn't chafe on this run; we'll soon see how it does on a longer run.

How do emotions affect your runs?
At what point do I just need to suck it up and push on?



  1. I think you are doing a really good job, Ali. You are trying to get back into the swing of things and going about your normal schedule. The fact that you have the heart to at least prepare and get out there, even if you stopped early, is a great start. I am sure this week has felt very long. :(

    The last time I was grieving, I remember crying to my mom and telling her I didn't think I'd ever be happy again. I didn't want to run, I didn't want to do anything. Well, obviously I did get happy again and I did start running again. But I really remember that time in my life and it was horrible. I never thought I'd be happy with my new reality but somehow, eventually, I was.

  2. When I go on an emotionally charged run, I end up crying...and that just throws off my breathing. So once that happens...I've got to walk it out. It will start to be easier...but then when you least expect it...something will trigger it again. Just take your time!

  3. I think it's a big step that you are getting out there. I don't have the motivation to run when I'm upset or hurt like that. I wish I could give you a big hug. :)

  4. Take your running one day at a time. It's hard to come back after a loss. My pets are the world to me and losing one would really tear me down.

  5. You're doing just fine, Ali. Don't worry about this weekend. Just keep moving forward, in whatever way makes sense for you.

    Remember, you're only a couple weeks in now. You still have a long way to go and what happens now isn't going to make THAT much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. There is more to life than running and marathon training - just do what you need to do and not only will you feel better, but I bet your running will improve as well.

    Hang in there!

  6. I don't think there is a time limit on grief. When I had a death in the family a few years ago I did nothing for an entire week but watch re runs of Greys anatomy. I didn't work, study or even leave the house. Grief affects everyone differently and there's no telling when you will feel ready to run more again. I would take it one day at a time but if you feel you won't be ready in time for the marathon to keep that in mind. This was something completely unplanned and unexpected so there's definitely no shame in taking all the time you need to. Also, I'm here if you need someone to talk to.

  7. Ali, you are just fine. 4 miles is 4 miles. And you learn more about yourself and grow more when you have to deal with life's interruptions. It's not about whether the interruptions or detours occur - they assuredly will. It's how you respond that counts. And I have no doubt that you'll figure this out and respond splendidly. Keep at it, girl!! Don't doubt yourself.

  8. Please don't be so hard on yourself. It will take time to get back into the routine of things and at least you were able to get out the door. Hoping that each day gets better for you! <3

  9. Ali, I am so sorry for your loss. Don't worry about the shortened run. Sometimes running can help us work through emotions but sometimes it just brings them to the surface, where they become overwhelming. Take the time that you need, but maybe starting runs as scheduled. If your heart isn't into it you can always turn back early, but I think sticking to a schedule can be comforting. Do what you need to do and your heart will heal with time.

  10. I know exactly how you are feeling on these runs. When my last cat passed away I had a really hard time being alone with my thoughts. Intially I would cry throughout my entire shower, every time I got into bed, anytime I had to be alone with my thoughts. Eventually, instead of thinking about how sad I was that my cat was gone, I would use the alone time to talk to him, tell him about my day, how school was going, papers I was worried about writing, etc. I know it sounds weird but that process really helped me feel comforted and allowed me to pass time alone more easily. Perhaps you could try talking to Archie while you're running. Tell him your thoughts about marathon training, what fuel you're going to use, etc. It focuses your mind on something positive, while still allowing you think grieve. xo