Lighting the Spark Again

There must come a time in every runner’s life when the motivation simply isn’t there.  It could be a cold winter day or a busy day at work that keeps us from running.  It could be children who need help with homework or ride to a soccer game that gives us the excuse we need not to run.  

And, sometimes, we realize that we just need to take a break from it all.  That was me this summer.   I was tired from work, busy with family and frustrated that I wasn’t running the way I wanted to be.  My times were slow and my body was hurting – not as in an injury sense but in the “not feeling right” sense.  For whatever reason, my head wasn’t in the game. I shut down.

There was only one thing that made sense: to close for maintenance.  Taking time off would give me the physical and mental rest that I needed and it opened up my day so that I had more time for my family.  At the beginning of July, and oddly enough at my favorite time of year to run, I hung up my shoes and turned to gentle cross-training.  Two weeks later, I returned to my club’s Monday night workout and that Thursday night, I raced a 5K – not a stellar performance but a respectable time (21:05) and enough to keep me running.  However, I still wasn’t ready to throw myself back into it and, since  I wasn’t 100% ready, I continued with my maintenance: 3 or 4 runs a week, and nothing longer than 12K.

A few weeks ago, I went to Brantford, Ontario to race the Carrotfast 5K.  Oddly enough, even though I had not pushed myself throughout the summer and did not have a lot of speedwork behind me, I still had visions of a strong race – and that I did.  But my time was slower than it was a month earlier, about 40 seconds over.  While it’s true that you can’t compare times on two different courses, I did.  But that became the spark I needed, the motivation to push myself again – to set concrete goals and work towards achieving them.

Over the past few weeks, with the support of my family and the help of my coach, I’m mentally back to where I was a few months ago.  My mileage is climbing back up and I’m excited about running and racing.   I’m looking forward to a few road races and cross-country this fall, and I have eyes set on a spring marathon.  I’m back to chasing my dreams.

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