Yesterday felt really hard. Maybe because I was on day 3 of being alone with the kids–Mr. UnRunner (who, by the way has started running so he will need a new name soon) was out of town for work, an unusual occurrence. It was Wednesday, hump day. I decided to make it a hill workout day. It was windy. Who knows? But I had a bad workout, felt like I was going from zero to rage in 3 seconds all day, and felt completely emotionally and physically exhausted.
Sometimes we have those days, where things feel hard for no major reason. Or maybe it’s for a whole bunch of little reasons, like the straw that broke the camel’s back. I felt tired from the trail run. Not sore, but tired. But, like masochist I am, I decided I needed to do some hill training. And that made it an ugly, slow, multiple walk break run (my watch also crapped out again, what gives?!).
I also had horrible mom guilt later in the day with the kids. I was short with them. There were endless instantaneous tears for no reason. Fighting with each other. Whining about one thing or another. And I was snapping at them, which didn’t help anybody. At swimming, I met the mom of one of my son’s classmates and she was super kind and patient with her similarly squirmy child and I felt like, “What is wrong with me?” I just felt like I had no reserves to deal with my children acting like children (which is pretty much kissing cousins to wild animals).
But then my friend, Kirstin, who had a weird, semi-vaguely diagnosed ankle injury for 9 months (the ankle is a perpetual mystery) and who clawed her way back to finishing a marathon (her 10th) last weekend, posted that she has a stress fracture! She had pain during the marathon but thought little of it and pushed through it. I mean, the whole point of the marathon is running through discomfort. But it turned out to be a real injury after all. That’s the hard part of distance sports, differentiating between regular discomfort and a real injury.
Seeing her post that reminded me that I need to cut myself a break and stop pushing and stop beating myself. I tend to want to punish myself when I feel like I’m not doing well. To do MORE and go HARDER when I really need to take a break. I think that bizarre impulse is what makes people distance runners. Even the little bit of interaction I’ve had with Ironman triathletes makes me think it’s a runner thing. “Oh, it hurts?” I’ll just “run it out.” Versus, most triathletes I’ve met tend to go seek treatment or diagnoses when something hurts. Runners keep running. Into the ground.
I’m tired. I’ve done 6 marathons in 13 months–2 within the last month, 1 of which was a BQ and the other still a good pace. And yet I’m considering an ultra. And there is a little whisper that says maybe I shouldn’t and I should just rest. There is another part that tells me to seize the moment and the training and go with it, that I can do ANYTHING. And I don’t know which voice is the right one. No, I take that back. I have a pretty good idea which one I should listen to. Kirstin’s situation (and the multiple other running friends with injuries) tells me that I should back off. But this…
//giphy.com/embed/2dcW1Dlu2sZnW?html5=true<p><a href="http://giphy.com/gifs/dumb-and-dumber-cover-ears-2dcW1Dlu2sZnW">via GIPHY</a></p>” target=”_blank”>http:////giphy.com/embed/2dcW1Dlu2sZnW?html5=true
So I’m taking today off, doing a yoga class if I can fit it in my schedule, and re-assessing. I know that being a working mom and athlete is a constant juggling act. I don’t even think it’s balance per se (because balance is a lie), but more about juggling and just not trying to drop a ball. And right now I feel like I’m just staring at all the balls on the ground, trying to figure out what I can handle.
So happy Thursday, people. We are one day closer to the weekend. How do you try to maintain balance/juggle in your life? What helps you figure out when to back off or rest?