I was mentally unprepared for obstacles I would be facing these last couple months. The race I trained all year for came and went, the holidays proved to be challenge that completely blindsided me, and three weeks off from school did something to my dedication.
Getting back into the grind is more difficult in January than it is after summer break. I think the main reason for this has to be that I was running all summer. I was still in my routine. But the holidays are a different challenge. You have free time, sure, but it's eaten up by a million commitments; you're dealing with pure exhaustion from the classroom sprint from Dec. 1 to Dec. 21. Three weeks off (17 days, technically) is enough time to begin to feel relaxed but not enough time to really get back into a good groove of calmed nerves and mental clarity. On top of that, you're dealing with holiday indulgences that make running difficult. 6 miles after a decadent pecan pie? A long run on the morning following a five-course Christmas feast? Yeah, right.
And bad food habits tend to snowball. Leftovers build up to a point where you're simply craving all that sugary, carby, buttery food - it flips a switch in your head that tells you that you need more more more. Well, at least, that's how it is with me.
So these past couple months, I've been over-indulging and under-training. Add to that the beginning of second semester and the return of 4:10am wakeups for morning runs, and you've got a recipe for disaster...or at least a recipe for utmost laziness. I've been too lackadaisical about my weekly miles. I've been almost in denial about this Half I have next weekend.
A big part of me thinks, well, hey, I know I can do it. I may not hit 2:15, but I'll be able to finish it. But I'm not really looking forward to running a really awesome race, because I just don't think I'm going to have one. (And since I still carry some baggage regarding this race, I think maybe I'm self-sabotaging. This Half is the same one I ran in 2011 that was so awful, and maybe I just feel, I don't know, defeated already?)
I don't know. This is my first real race season where I was completely busy and fully-scheduled for the entire duration. I think as a novice runner, I wasn't completely ready to be on top of training for a full six months. I'm finally seeing what being a year-round runner means, and it's tough.
This week was not a good one; I let myself miss too many runs. My Half being this coming weekend, I should have really used this week to my advantage, and now I'm wondering if the deficit in miles will have a negative impact on my race.
Nothing I can do about it now. Hoping this week is better, the weather cools down (85 in January, what the heck?!), and the race is solid and doesn't leave me feeling completely dejected.