So I have been running distance for about 3 years now. I have completed 3 half marathons and a 10K and I coach Girls on the Run in Spring. I love telling people that I am a runner. I love shopping for exercise clothes and running shoes. I AM a runner. However. . . .running and I are a bit on the outs right now. We were doing great at the beginning of the year, we tore up the 10K without looking back, but then things got. . .difficult.
Suddenly, it got tough to tolerate running. I was all "It's not you! It's me. I don't want to hang out today, or tomorrow." I tried, though. I tried all summer to 'push through' this slump, this slow spot, this rough patch, but it didn't work. I had to admit I was deep into a running slump that wasn't getting better but getting worse. It was hard to admit that.
Running is now part of my identity, how I describe parts of myself. I take pride in how far I can run and the types of races I sign up for. I like having running shoes in the house. Unfortunately, this summer, while I still loved those things I pretty much hated the actual running. I believe their are several reasons for this. One reason was it was SO DANG HOT OUT! Every single day was upper 80s and 90s around here from end of June straight through July. I believe I heard on the radio that we had experienced more than 50 days of 90+ temps. Who wants to run in that? I would go out to run, not even that far, and get home soaked and dripping and take an hour to cool off. It was crummy weather and I didn't want to sweat that much. Also, I was super bored with all my options of places to run. I had run them to death. In town, trail running, bike path running, been there, done those miles, over and over again. I didn't want to see the same things again and again and again. New trails were a 30 minute drive or more. Not practical or economical with these gas prices.
I finally admitted to myself that I was in a slump, a deep one, and it was time to step away. I stopped running at all for a week. A whole week. The only time I have done this in 3 y ears is during times of injury when all activity had to grind to a stop. This time though, I could do different cardio, what a concept. I bellydanced on light days, pulled out my ski machine, did some kickboxing and focused on some weight lifting. It was weird but kinda fun. After I week I went for one run and then took some more time off.
This on and off has been going on for about a month. Running and I are carefully starting to see each other again, but with some parameters. I canceled the idea of an October half marathon. I just won't be in shape. I have two races I am looking to in November though. A 15K and a half, if I can get there. I figure the much cooler weather will help with the training. My work schedule is beyond full though so finding time to run will be tricky. For now, we are taking it easy, running and I. This week I ran once but did 6 miles. Last week I ran twice, a 5 and 3. I am doing what feels ok and we are starting to build that relationship again. Working up together, and that is nice.
In the meantime, I am totally cheating on running with a new love. . . Rock Climbing! There is an indoor place about 45 minutes from our house. This is a sport my husband has long wanted to try out. We went once in a gym on a vacation and like it a lot but never followed through when at home. Finally one day I just said, that's it, we are going to try it. My husband was thrilled, we went, we loved it. Almost as soon as we got home my husband started to look up equipment online. How cute. In the month and a half that we have been going we have gone about once a week, bought shoes and harnesses and a membership.
It is so much fun! It is a full body workout without feeling like a bootcamp class. There are nice breaks in between but each climb engages every muscle in my body. I know I am getting a great upper body workout and hitting places that just weights won't get to as much. We are both pushing ourselves, our limits and having fun the entire time. We climb for about 2 hours before our grips totally give out and we can no longer cling to the wall. Then, smiling and happy, we go home or out to grab a quick snack. We are totally worn out by the end, a little sweaty and many times shaking in various muscles, but we are smiling!
I have always wanted my husband to be part of my workout life. When you spend at least 3 hours a week (more like 5) doing something that you enjoy it makes sense to want to share that with someone important. Unfortunately my husband doesn't run, doesn't do videos, won't yoga, and her certainly is not going to bellydance with me. This has been a new bonding experience for us. We go and it relieves stress together, instead of us going to separate corners of the house to decompress. We have even started to draw friends into the mix and spread the love. I think one of our "couple" friends has been bitten. We took them last week and they are already talking gear and classes. We are meeting them tomorrow to climb in the afternoon.
For my husband's birthday I am going to give him some gear and get us a private lesson so we can learn to belay for each other. Maybe next spring we will try the great outdoors. Running and I will always be tight, I hope desperately that our relationship heals quickly and I can do my races and enjoy them. Rock Climbing is my new love and I hope it gives me as much long term enjoyment and health as running has, for me and my husband both.
Int he future: See you on the trails or on the wall.