Tonight when I was faced with a treadmill run, I was a little bummed. Maybe it was the noise of the Monday night basketball league. Maybe it was the anticipation of tomorrow’s 13 hour work day. Heck, maybe it was the lady talking to herself in the mirror next to me at the gym. But all I could think about was when I could get back to the trails.
There’s a good chance that you’ll find what I’m about to say very familiar. We can ALL relate to the stresses of daily life. Somewhere in the last 8 weeks I fell off the wagon. Nutritionally and athletically, I lost it. I signed up for a few spring and summer races and I hit the road, hoping to stay motivated. 3 weeks into my training and I started struggling with shin pain, so I (very willingly) started taking days off of training. Then things started to snowball… I started slacking with my nutrition. Then life got SUPER busy … I started skipping my vitamins. I started eating convenient food and drinking soft drinks during work hours because I was too tired to meal prep. The poor nutrition made me even more tired. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I just lost that fire…
So when I came down with a “flu-like” illness 3 weeks ago, it took me down. So much so, that I had myself convinced that I was super sick. After 2 weeks of multiple tests and no clear diagnosis, I started to bounce back just in time for the much anticipated Ragnar relay race here in Kentucky. I went into the race with the anxiety that I wouldn’t be able to run at 100%. Weeks of low mileage had surely taken a toll on my fitness and I didn’t want to let my teammates down.
Luckily, as the 2017 Ragnar Kentuckiana unfolded, the race atmosphere started to become everything I needed it to be. Great weather. Great friends. There was a ton of friendly competition and support by other teams. I was happily surrounded by like-minded runners that were all ready to give their best.
Then something really spectacular happened in the excitement of the night—As I started my midnight run, the landscape felt more serene and dream-like than it ever had before and I didn’t want to leave the trail. As I finished those last two legs, I felt recharged and I left the race on Saturday feeling strangely renewed instead of tired. The tides have finally turned and I’m ready to go again. I’ve fallen off that wagon so many times and these are the moments that make me jump back on.
Recently, on a Sunday morning we spent our time in the solace of the woods. I just couldn’t bear another day with the weight of the world on my shoulders. I left every problem at the trail head and my soul danced for nearly 2 hours. I realize that I’m just a better me when I’m outside. I have races coming up that I’m far from being ready for, but for once, I’m looking forward to the experience more than I am the outcome. So for now, I’m jumping back on that wagon and riding it to wherever it wants to take me.