My husband loses things all the time. “Where did you last have it?” or “When was the last time you used it?” are the first questions that I want to ask but, as we all know, if we could answer those questions, things would never be lost in the first place.
A few weeks ago, I lost my mojo. I’m not sure exactly when or where it happened. All I knew was it was gone. Every run seemed harder than the one before; cycling became tough work; even yoga left me feeling sore. But I continued to lace up my shoes, settle into my saddle or unroll my mat. I kept trying to do the things that I loved and I found so natural, only to feel disappointed by the slower times or the tiredness and aches that followed.
After a few frustrating days, I realized that I needed to cut back. Yoga went first. This was easy to do because the household teen wanted to spend some time at the ski hill; dropping a few yoga practices gave me the time I needed to get him there. Cycling was next; I forfeited my morning rides for sleep, leaving any spinning for the end of the day. I held onto my running as long as I could but let go of one 5 miler through the week.
But the decision to scale back left me feeling defeated. I missed my outlets but I was more frustrated by the feeling of bleh that I had after every workout. I started to doubt my fitness. “Am I getting to old for this? How much more am I going to slow down? How much longer can I keep this up? Maybe it is time to hang up my shoes and just work out for the sake of working out. You’ve lost too much fitness; you’ll never get back to your old self. Should I retire and just run or ride for fun?” Everything pointed one way: yes.
But being the dedicated idiot that I am, I increased my training for the following week, bringing it back to where I left off: a 25 total mile run week, 4-5 rides on my smart trainer, and 3-4 yoga classes. I also planned for something that I hadn’t done in a long, long time: 2 rest days. And like before, I was slow and tired, but my body didn’t ache. By the end of the week, I was starting to feel more normal.
Then Sunday came. It was my long run – only 10 miles but that is where I am at in terms of fitness – and I was dreading it. What if my legs start to hurt? How slowly do I need to run to cover the distance? What if I feel too tired to finish? Self-doubt was taking over again. But I had planned to meet my friend I so laced up and headed out the door. My first mile was 8:22, second was 7:58, and so was my third. Breathing was tough and the miles felt slow. Discouraged, I pulled my sleeve over my watch and didn’t look at it again.
By the time we finished, I was feeling better. Tired, yes, but I felt good about being tired and nothing hurt. But even though I felt like I had a decent run, I dreaded checking my stats: 11.6 miles; 7:47/mile pace. I looked again. How? I checked my splits. “Holy crap! Where did that come from?” And I checked them again. And then it hit me; my mojo was back.
I still don’t know why things went sour at the start of the month. I may have been fighting something, or I could have been run down and just needed some time off. Perhaps the constant cold and grey skies were getting to me. Or maybe it was the frustration that comes with not being where I want to be in terms of my fitness. Whatever the reason no longer mattered. Sunday’s run was the dose of sunshine that I needed to get over the bump, continue to train and keep chasing 2020.