Hello again: some updates!

Well, it’s been a minute, huh?? Okay, it has only been 12 days since I last blogged, but I’m not one of those people who takes long unplanned absences from blogging so this feels weird. I feel like so much has happened in the past 12 days.

I had a super busy week with our huge work event of the year last week, so not only was I not active in blogging I wasn’t doing much blog reading either. I read a few here and there but I didn’t comment much.

Here’s an update since the last time we talked:

I stopped training. It was a hard conversation to have with Laura after all she has done for me putting together my many weeks of training. She’s done a fantastic job with my training, but I finally just had to admit the truth: my heart is not into this training at all and I really, really don’t want to do it anymore. It feels pretty lousy to quit something, but I’ve felt so much better since I stopped so I know it was the right decision. I had a pretty bad 5 mile race a couple weekends ago – despite perfect running weather, I ran like crap and finished short of the very reasonable goal I had set for myself. Again. But more importantly, I hated every minute of that run, didn’t feel any exercise high afterward, and actually thought to myself that I could have just skipped the run, went straight to the beer festival that followed, and had a much better day. That thought concerned me, because I’ve never felt like it wasn’t worth it to run, and at that point I realized I could no longer deny what a rut I’ve been in and how unhappy I’ve been training for a goal I have no passion for. I knew it was time to cut the cord.

But that’s not all, because not only am I not training…

I’m not running right now. I am now 9 days sans running. In 2-3 more days, that will be a new PR for me for time off running. I didn’t intend to take time off this soon, but it just happened this way. Last week when work was crazytown and I was super stressed and busy, I ended up not running all week. And then at some point I realized – it felt great. A bunch of stress I’ve been feeling lately has disappeared. Even with a high-pressure work week, I’ve felt happier and more like myself this week than I have in months. So, I’m gonna roll with this unplanned break and see where it goes.

 

I’m still on the fence about what this means for the races I’ve signed up for. I’ve already registered, so I don’t want to throw that money away, but I also don’t want to drag myself to a couple of 10Ks and a 5K that I don’t want to do – especially if I’m still not running at that point. I’m going to wait and see how I’m feeling. Luckily these short local races aren’t exactly breaking the bank, but still.

Here are some updates that are a little more positive:

I quit Strava. I don’t just mean I removed the app from my phone, I mean, I straight up deleted my account and never looked back. I suddenly had this epiphany that these social training apps add nothing to my life and are only a source of negative feelings. So, I just ditched it. #ByeFelicia.

I’m signing up for my next marathon!!

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Chicago Marathon Logo

Guaranteed entry registration for the 2017 Chicago Marathon opens in 8 DAYS and I am so excited! Seeing all the stories from the 2016 race really pumped me up for my own journey to Chicago next year, so I was over the moon to find out they’re opening registration early and I get to sign up soon! I have a good feeling about this one: I think it’s going to be my most fun and meaningful marathon journey yet. This training cycle has really showed me that I am a distance runner through and through, and I’m eager to return back to my strengths. My appetite for longer distances is very slowly coming back, and I know that taking some time to recharge now followed by a long break from structured training in the spring will be just what I need to be raring to go when training officially starts in June.

I’m rebranding my blog (read: creating a new one). This didn’t come from a dissatisfaction with my current blog; rather, I was just suddenly struck with a great new blog idea and decided to run with it.

Here’s the story: while I am absolutely stoked to run the Chicago Marathon next fall, there will be a lot going in my life that will require me to simplify my running and training. Budgeting will get tighter, and I won’t be able to spend a zillion dollars on workout gear and tune-up races. With a lot more going on in my life, I won’t have the time or attention for a hardcore training cycle and I can’t make running so much of a priority that it’s “like a second job” anymore.

So, how can I incorporate a “less is more” strategy into my training – doing the quality work that will prepare me for the distance without going overboard, obsessing over details, and letting training dominate my life? I think my journey to answer those questions would make a great blog, and voila – the “minimal marathoner” is born!

I’m still developing minimalmarathoner.com, and I’m not sure when I’ll make the official switch. I want to do it after I sign up for Chicago since that’s when my journey to marathon #4 will officially begin, but it seems kind of weird to have a running blog while I’m not running, so I think I will wait until later. I hope you’ll all follow along! I’ll make an announcement here when I’m making the switch and until then I will keep blogging about who knows what on here. Stay tuned!

 

Honestly, I have really been enjoying my time off from running – and blogging. As much as I love to blog, I often find I’m a lot happier when I’m not so immersed in what everyone else is doing all the time. I love to read about people’s running journeys but sometimes I just need a break from reading about so much damn training (no offense!). I’m not going to take time off from blogging like I am with running, but I probably will cut back a little bit until my new blog is born.

In the meantime, life has opened up for me lately. While planning for and carrying out our big work event was stressful and busy, it went great and I was really proud of the hard work I put in and my coworkers put in to make it happen. It made work feel so alive again. I drank beer, I said yes to nights out, I hung out with friends I haven’t hung out with in forever, and this weekend I even went on impromptu bike ride just to see some fall leaves. I ended up riding 20 miles! And it was easy and I wasn’t the least bit sore or tired afterward either…maybe I’m in the wrong sport? 🙂

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20 mile leaf peeper ride

 

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Fangirling when the TOUR OF GYMNASTICS CHAMPIONSHIPS came to town!
Cats still thinking they own the place

So, I’m going to continue in this vein of just taking my life as it comes, letting things open up for me, and finding out a little more about who I am when I’m not a runner. Surely not every week will be as good as this one, but I know this is something I need to do for the time being – whether it’s for the next couple weeks or the rest of the year. Stay tuned!

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29 thoughts on “Hello again: some updates!

  1. Love everything about this post…I felt like you read my mind and wrote exactly what I’ve been thinking since my husband deployed. That, and added that it seems like with all the social media outlets we’ve got this days, I am left feeling SOOOO lonely and less social. What gives? And when running becomes a chore, it’s best to set it aside (which I had done for several months as well)…it’ll always be there when you are ready for it. I am thinking about throwing my name in the hat for Chicago (I’m not fast enough to qualify) this year too!

  2. I am so excited about your new blog! As you know I’m a huge fan of the moderate approach to marathon training and I just love the name you came up with. And I’m glad to hear that your long distance appetite is coming back. Some of us are just made for the marathon – just like other runners prefer trail races or 5Ks. It’s important to embrace what you truly love, because running/training is tiring enough.
    And good call on ditching Strava. I’ve never used it for that reason – too much comparison (plus, it makes me scream when I see people race their workouts all the time).
    PS – if you want any tips on running through the things that your life may be going through in fall, shoot me an email. I did race training during that time of my life and you can make it work! In fact it’s a sanity saver to run and not think about all the things there are to think about during that time in life.

  3. Wow! So many wonderful updates! First, I have to say I’m jealous that you’ve discovered what kind of runner you are and can best target your training to what suits you. I’m still on my journey of running discovery! Good to hear that you’re enjoying your time off from running so much. It sounds like ending the 10K training was absolutely the right decision. Very cool about your new blog! It’s a great idea, and I look forward to reading it. I’m fascinated by people who do less training and still knock out great races. I don’t doubt that it works for many people. My problem is that making training like a second job is what gives me the confidence. I wish I could feel confident doing less, but at least right now I can’t. Who knows–maybe that will change for me some day!

    1. Thank you Jen! I’m also not one of those runners who can knock out amazing times on little training, so like you I too get more confidence from training hard and putting in lots of miles. But – and I say this knowing a lot can change between now and June – I’m probably not going to go for a PR or fast time in Chicago. I really do just want to enjoy and appreciate the experience and not put so much pressure on myself to train hard and get a certain finish time. There’s nothing like the feeling of hitting a time goal/PR, but it does come at a price. In my last two marathons I’ve ended up burnt out and sacrificed a lot in my life by working way harder than I probably needed to in training, and I won’t be able to afford that next year. If I run my slowest time in Chicago but love the process from start to finish, it will be worth every minute of that personal worst.

  4. I’ll be following Minimal marathoner with great interest because since this year’s NYCM was off the table for many, many reasons (some good!) and I think trying to say I’ll run my first marathon next year 6-7 months after giving birth is a little too much even for me, I’m going to try to get my entry deferred to 2018 and go from there. I know training with a little one will have to be minimal and utilize every moment so seeing how you go will be great!

    1. Thanks so much Alyssa! Glad you’ll be following along! Although I can’t imagine what it’s like to juggle training and new motherhood, I flatter myself to think I can provide some inspiration and insight into training minimally!

  5. I love the new blog idea! Perfect for you as you go through this transitional period in your life. You have already taken to to declutter your life and things so why not with running 🙂 I kind of pictured you on trail somewhere just running not looking at your pace as I was reading this 🙂
    I hope up decide to still run races even if you haven’t run much. It is kind of fun to show up and run one with no pressure and just people watch lol I have done it…people are quite interesting.
    I think eventually you will feel like running again 🙂 but I hope this little break refreshes you.

    1. Thanks Karen! I do hope my break is shorter rather than longer, but I’m making it a priority to give myself the time I need and not force anything. I may still run one or two of the races but only if I really want to at that point. Returning to running happy and being able to train for the marathon next year are my top priorities!

  6. Wow…I’m gone a week and things are a complete 180, what is going on lol.

    So glad your feeling less stress and in a much better place. I always go back to my 2nd marathon, I shut it all down for weeks. With so much focus and attention on training, sometimes we need to pull back.

    Looking forward to the new blog.

    1. Thank you! Haha, I wouldn’t say it’s a complete 180 – training was going downhill pretty fast and I felt like I was hanging on by a thread to this cycle. But I’m excited now for some time to recharge and some new beginnings!

  7. I’ve certainly been taking some time to take running a lot less seriously. As I was approaching Chicago, I was feeling like too much of my happiness was getting tied into the race outcome. After signing up for GOATZ 50K, I started taking things not seriously at all. Weird, right? I mean, I am about to run a 50K, and I don’t care at all about the time. My training, well it certainly isn’t perfect, and I am more than OK with that. I am so glad that you are doing something that is making you feel good. Making training more minimal is a good thing, whether it leads to PRs, or just to you having a little more fun while you’re out there. I can’t wait to see your new blog. Congrats on Chicago!!

    1. It seems like a lot of people in our blogging circle are starting to take new paths and find their true calling in the sport, and it makes me happy to see. Your love of the trails and the ultra really shines through in your posts and I’m glad you’re embarking on that new adventure.

      While a lot can happen between now and June, I’m pretty sure I will not be trying for a PR in Chicago. I really just want to enjoy the experience and not get so overwhelmed by training that I end up burnt out after the race, like I have with my last two marathons. I’m hoping that a lot of time off from structured training will help me get back to a place where I just enjoy running for its own sake and am not so worried about paces and times. It’s such a killjoy.

  8. You sound very happy! Here’s to time off and new beginnings (I will toast you with beer, but mine will not be pumpkin!!)

  9. I’m sorry that this fall has not turned out the way you hoped. I know that I have tried to encourage you to be patient with your 10k training and the speed will come, but you sound so much happier in this post that I completely agree that ending the training season was the right thing to do. There is a difference between pushing yourself through a rough patch and having every single run feel like a chore. Running is fun, and when it isn’t, it’s time for a break!

    Looking forward to your new blog!

    1. Thank you! It is a fine line between wanting to give up because you’re frustrated and wanting to give up because your heart just isn’t into it, but I just knew something was wrong when I wasn’t even motivated to improve anymore, because working hard at running has always come naturally to me. I’ve never taken any real time off – like, with no end goal in mind – and I think that after 3 years of always chasing goals and feeling like a failure if I wasn’t getting fast, I finally just shut down. I knew that I could either back off now and salvage my love of the sport in time for the coming year, or I could keep pushing until I eventually burned out so badly there was no coming back. A sobering thought.

  10. I’m glad you’ve figured out what you want and how you are feeling! It sounds like you really examined what’s best for you and acted accordingly.

    Regarding running those 10k races, I’m not sure what the best decision is, but try to keep in mind that it is a sunk cost. You already paid for the races, and you can’t get that back regardless, so technically the money spend should not be a part of the decision-making process. If your life would be better if you skip the races, then skip them! Economic theory is on your side!

    And isn’t cycling the best?! I love how much exploration it offers. My longest training runs are just around 20 miles, and those wipe me out. But on the bike, I can ride so much further with the same time/effort. It allows me to see so much more of the area I live in.

    1. Whoo hoo economic theory FTW!! I probably will end up doing the 5K that’s on November 6 – it’s close to home, it’s an event I like to support and running 3 miles after a few weeks off sound a lot more doable than running 6! But the others are out in the burbs – one is almost a 30 minute drive, I think – and it’s hard to justify that even when I am in shape. If I get the burning desire to go I will, but, I’m letting the fates decide.

      You hit the nail on the head with what I love about cycling! I don’t do it nearly enough to consider myself a cyclist, but I go through periods (usually when I’m burnt out from running) where I really crave bike rides. There’s nothing like the high from a good run but cycling is so much more relaxing, and I love that I can go the same amount of miles in half the time. And that I can pass the runners on the trail like “byyyeee SUCKERS, glad I’m not you!”

  11. Glad i read that you felt happier when you stopped running. I’m having a months break from it and hoping i would feel a lot better for it.

    1. Good luck! Hoping your break gives you the time to recharge and you can come back to the sport feeling happy!

  12. You sound really happy in this post and I’m so glad for you, Hanna. Just reading through I can sense the weight off your shoulders that running had become. A burden isn’t what you want to feel like running is. I’m glad you’re not totally quitting blogging, I really enjoy your posts, and will definitely be following along the Minimimal Marathoner.
    As for the races you’ve signed up – run them for fun, race them if you feel it, or don’t run them at all. Go with what feels good in that day. Running has seemed to always be cathartic for you, until it wasn’t, and taking care to keep it in the right category of life is smart. You’re still young and have plenty of years to focus on chasing PRs if you feel like it, and plenty of years to enjoy it even if that’s not what you want to focus on.
    I am SO excited for you to run Chicago!! You are going to love it – the atmosphere and buzz in the city come race weekend is incredible. And with so many bloggers & instagrammers who run it (at every pace you can think of and for every reason you can think of), I think you’ll find a lot of social media camaraderie without the competitiveness that can come along with social media running.

    1. Thank you Katrina! I am so pumped to run Chicago. I’ve wanted to run it ever since I decided I wanted to run a marathon, and every year when I see the race weekend posts makes me want to run it even more. Excited that it’s finally my year!

      I do hope my break is short. I think that in itself is a good sign, that I’m simply waiting for the desire to come back because I know it will rather than feeling like I just simply hate running and am done. And you’re so right that I need to keep the long view in mind. I often have to remind myself that most women runners peak in their early to mid 30s, and I’m not even 30 yet – I still have several years to get faster and realize my potential, no need to do it all now!

  13. I’m really glad that you decided to stop 10k training considering that it sounds like it really wasn’t life-giving for you anymore. When training gets to the point where it’s not fun and you’re really regretting runs and hating every minute of it, it’s time to step back. Life is about SO much more than just running, and we run for FUN. None of us are elites! This isn’t a job. It should bring us joy.

    I’m ALSO glad you’re excited to get back into long distances once your break from running is over. I think maybe this 10k cycle was a good way to learn about yourself as a runner, so it wasn’t for nothing. Now you know what your strengths are and how you want to move forward with that hobby, which I think is great. I look forward to your new blog endeavor!

    1. Yes! Thank you Ali. This cycle obviously did not turn out the way I hoped but I definitely don’t see it as a waste or failure. Ironically, my passion for longer distances grew more during this short distance cycle than it ever did during marathon training. I needed to rely on my strengths during these weeks when I was constantly battling my weaknesses, and it made me appreciate them so much more. Granted, it kinda sucks that my running strength is something I can only do once a year, but I suppose the same could be said for most distances – an intense training to arrive at peak fitness for any distance is just not something that can be sustained. From sprinters to ultra marathoners we all go through the peaks and valleys!

  14. Love the new blog idea! It seems to be the culmination of your thoughts (and writings) over the last year. And so glad about Chicago. My husband ran it a couple of years ago and loved the course and support. It’s funny how this training cycle may have not gone as you hoped but it gave you a new(?) sense of clarity about what kind of runner you are and what is important to you personally. Judging by Instagram “real” runners need to dedicate themselves to training and have super awesome runs everyday. Yeah – I don’t think so. This should be a hobby that is fun! Do the races if you feel like it, or stay in bed and go out for brunch – whatever sounds more fun.

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