It’s been a while since my last post. Real life hasn’t afforded me much time to do all the things I’ve wanted to do, plus family life has been busy. Illness has been a recent feature too: run of the mill gastroenteritis for me and an alarming occurrence of an illness known as Transient Global Amnesia for my husband, which resulted in him being rushed to A&E in an ambulance. A very, very scary experience but thankfully all is well now and he has made a complete recovery (although he has no memory at all of the night it happened).It got me thinking though – that life can be as abrupt and changeable as it can be steady and predictable. It sounds clichéd but it’s true; you really never know what’s around the corner. Appreciate what you have while you have it.
Running-wise, things have also been a little up and down. I had my first experience of ‘mojo loss’ – after the illnesses and a period of feeling quite down and despondent, I began to really doubt my progress and what I’m doing. I began to worry that I had bitten off more than I could chew by entering a half marathon. What was I thinking?! I had a bad run too, and that seemed to cement the idea that I couldn’t do it in my head. Sounds familiar, huh? After talking this over with friends who run too, I now know that having a bad run every now and then is the norm. That losing your mojo occasionally is also fairly common. That it happens to pretty much everyone and the best way to handle it is to a) give yourself a break. Ease up on your expectations and be kind to yourself and b) when you’re ready, get back to it. Go easy and see what happens. It’ll all come back to you.
So that’s what I did and by golly it worked, which won’t come as a surprise to just about everyone else! My worries about being race ready in time for the Birmingham Half have been somewhat assuaged. I’m on track with training and have given the Strava app a go. I quite like it! The data it’s given me so far has been encouraging – it works out my times for various distances and also records Personal Records for me. I find that really motivating. I’ve been trying to ignore things like pacing and split times etc., focusing on distance and stamina instead as that seemed more important as a novice runner – it seemed more important to hit those distances without dying in the attempt! I realise now that that’s more of my long term goal and that I need to have smaller, achievable short term goals to act as stepping stones along the way. So now I’m surprising myself (via Strava) by seeing that my 5k time has already improved and I’m now doing sub 40 minute 5ks, that my overall pace is improving and that I’m actually being pretty consistent. This is all of the feel good factor that I was missing before and that’s what lead to my loss of mojo – instead of there being this huge daunting end goal looming over me, I’ve got a path littered with lots of positive milestones taking me there.
Check it out – my Strava stats from my most recent run (yesterday). Three Personal Records, including my fastest 5k so far. Now I know these stats aren’t going to impress anyone who’s been running for a while and who might be half my age but for me, they represent progress and good progress at that. They are my reasons to be cheerful.
As usual, here are my learning points:
- appreciate what you have when you have it. Allow yourself to be happy in the moment because it doesn’t last long and things can change in an instant.
- we’re only human. All of us. We all have good days and bad days, and good runs and bad runs. The trick is to not fixate on the negative and don’t beat yourself up over anything! Be kind to yourself and try again when you’re ready. As the always wise RuPaul once said (sang): “And If I fly or if I fall, At least I can say I gave it all.” You’re trying, you’re doing it, and that’s what counts.
- short term goals are as necessary as long term ones! It’s easy to forget them when you’re focusing on what you want to ultimately achieve. Don’t forget that that’s what you’re working towards and every time you run or train, you are making other achievements along the way. They need to be noted and celebrated too – allow yourself to bask in your accomplishments a little!
Happy running x