Riding A Fine Line Between Happy and Hate

Riding A Fine Line Between Happy and Hate

I have been quiet since winning the National Championship in February. I toughed out that race and didn’t take a break. I had 7 weeks to get ready for Mad City 100k with the goal to qualify for Team USA. After a 100 miler, I normally would take 10 days completely off, but my coach and I decided that time was of the essence. Don’t get me wrong, the week after the race was easier, with some walking and some running, but  I didn’t take a day off. It was fine for a week or two, but I started dreading some of my runs and workouts. I was also running 7 days/week. By 3-4 weeks into the 7 weeks, I told my coach I was unhappy running, so he cut the runs down a bit. It helped a little. On race day at Mad City, I wasn’t nervous at all (not a good sign…if you are nervous, it means you care). I started the race, talking to Denise and Liza, but decided to stop to strip off my jacket and was alone after lap 2. By lap 2, I was already in a mental low. I counted, I sang to myself, I did math, I told myself that I was in 4th and 2 people ahead of me had gone out too fast. There was good prize money through 6th place. I didn’t care. I wanted to be on the 100k team, but nothing I told myself was helping. “I am good in cold weather”, “it’s a short race”, “your stomach is fine”, “your body feels good”, and “smile, it will make you happy”. Nothing I was doing was working. I felt angry and unhappy. I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t even want to be running. I was literally hating running. What the hell? I have never felt so depressed running. I was totally apathetic. I didn’t know who was running, but it wasn’t me. It wasn’t the person who thought you never DNF unless you are bleeding profusely or badly broken. I told my husband I was dropping at the end of lap 7. Like a good crew, he told me I couldn’t quit and I was on pace. Like the obedient runner (haha) I am, I ran one more lap. I told him I was turning my chip in at end of lap 8. “THEE END”. I walked away and didn’t even regret it. 

Days later I still didn’t care (again: not me…I am a type A person who believes you do something right or not at all). I knew I was burned out and decided to take time off. After 2 weeks, I started feeling better and wished I hadn’t dropped. I knew I was in fantastic shape and for the first time in a long time my anemia was in check. I decided to try again 3 weeks later at Dawn to Dusk to Dawn (D3). It went well for 30 miles and then it didn’t. I wanted to quit again, but I didn’t. I forced myself to finish despited downpours and puking. I wasn’t going to DNF again. It was slow and rough. 

STUPID. STUPID STUPID. I wasn’t ready to come back. I needed a longer break. So, I took another one. I had Western States Training camps 2 weeks after D3. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t even want to run Western States 100. I looked at the deadlines for getting some of my money back. 

I have never hated running. It has always been my hobby, my stress relief, my social time with friends, my ability to maintain my weight, my passion, my favorite thing to do when traveling. I was now super depressed and honestly worried whether I would ever love to run again. There was a lot of crying and days of feeling hopeless. Running was currently unfulfilling and stressing me out. Besides work and volunteer commitments, life has been crazy for me as well. We have been living in a small rental with most of our belongings in boxes since November. We started building a house in January. Designing a house and picking everything little thing out has been stressful this time. In addition, both of my children have made major life decisions/changes. 

I was in a quandary. My training partner (for the last 10 years) has tried to get into WS100, but hasn’t gotten drawn. He has had a lot of injury issues, making it hard for him to run over 50 miles without his body breaking down. I suggested that he go do the training runs with me in December after the lottery. He would at least get to run and experience the last 70 miles of the course if he never gets into WSER. I wanted a break, but couldn’t back out on him. So, we went with the caveat to have fun and see the course. We decided if we hiked the whole weekend and didn’t run a step, that would be okay.  

It worked. It was fun. We hiked and ran easy. OMG! I ACTUALLY HAD FUN running with friends!!!! It was nice to see friends and be on beautiful trails! I planned on waiting to decide about whether to run WS100 until after the camps. I was so incredibly sore!!!!! I hadn’t run trails (except for maybe 6 mile total this spring). Not the best planning: start trail training 1 month before states, but it is what it is…

So…where am I at? I am happy, but am riding a fine line between happy and hate. I know I need more time off. So, I am doing my best to get in as much training before WS100 without putting myself back into a hole. So far, so good. I talked to Scott Wolfe and Ian Sharman at the Memorial Weekends who both told me stories and gave me advice which left me inspired and hopeful. Since Mad City 100k, I have run 341.97 miles and hiked/walked 38.37 miles in the weeks I have taken off of running. Of that 39% of the miles were run in 2 weekends (D3 and WS100 Memorial Training Runs). Total miles equate to 38 miles per week of running and 42 mpw if hiking is included. This is not ideal. This is not what I planned. But, I am capable and happy. I have readjusted my goals for WS100. My goal is to have fun and compete the best I can. Following WS100, I will take another break. 

Thanks to all my sponsors who have hung in with me! I will give it my best at WS100 and then be back, stronger than ever! Altra Running, Nathan Sports, Running Skirts, Drymax Socks, Squirrel’s Nut Butter, Epsom-It, and Hammer Nutrition.