This past Saturday was our longest run before tapering for the NJ Marathon. We met up with the NY Flyers (a running group in NYC) to join their Unity Run for Boston and then figured we would run the remaining distance to get to 20 miles. It was so powerful to see such a large sea of yellow and blue all huddled together at 8AM on a Saturday morning to run for Boston. As a group, we conquered the bridle path in Central Park and my teammates and I ended up running it twice plus a lower loop and by the time we left Central Park to head South towards East River Park, we already had 8+ miles under our belt. Thank goodness for that because that is when I mentally broke down.
We exited Central Park on 59th Street and ran East to 1st Avenue and then South to 37th Street and the entrance of the East River Park running / biking path. The plan was to run the additional mileage along the tip of Manhattan and come back north along the Hudson River to 57th Street. As soon as we hit the 10-mile mark, I knew that I was going to struggle the rest of the distance, however, I kept telling myself to truck along. No matter how slow I was going, as long as I complete the miles, that was all that would matter. Mentally, I was falling apart. All I could think about was how I wanted to “retire” from marathon running after the NYC Marathon in November and that I didn’t want to train so much anymore. By the time I was at the 13th mile, I was almost at the South Street seaport and running underneath the FDR and that is when it happened. A big warm glob dropped on me. I think for a split second, I thought it was rain but when I turned to look over my shoulder, I knew it was bird crap.
Crap. That is what I get for thinking about crap on my run. I deserved it. I was talking about hating birds and pigeons earlier in the week (and they heard me!). On the run, I was thinking about how I didn’t want to do another run longer than 16 miles again (16 is arbitrary but it’s because I actually enjoyed my 16-mile run last weekend). Again, this was another one of those runs where I knew physically I could do it, but mentally, I didn’t have it. Needless to say after getting crap all over my shirt and back, the run did not get any better. I ended up stopping a couple miles later to pick up a bottle of water to dump down my back in hopes of washing away some of the crap, but it didn’t help. My shirt was soaked and I was just cold and wet the rest of the run. By the time I finished, I knew that this was one of the worst ways to start the taper period.
I need to find a way to bounce back. I had another early morning and long day on Sunday at a work event and by the time I got home last night, I felt like crap. I was tired, cranky, and just felt drained physically and mentally. Reflecting on the last 10 months of marathon training, I think I am officially burned out. As a newbie runner, that is a hard thing for me to acknowledge; I always thought I was going to want to run every day forever and ever. The NJ Marathon will be the third one (with two half marathons in between) I run in a six month period with only about a month of rest in December due to my injury. More than anything I am looking forward to not having to follow a training schedule after May 5th until mid-June when NYC training starts up again. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate running. I just need some time away from having to run on a structured schedule.
I write this post in hopes that I remember how I felt this weekend and in hopes that will help clear my mind for the two week taper. I know that I can’t help myself to want to do more. It is not in my nature to relax and rest. As it is, I want to go to barre tonight and run afterwards, but I had to remind myself that I am in rest mode. I also know that no matter the outcome of the race, I will want to sign up for more and push myself even though I need the time off. That will be the adrenaline and type-A personality speaking. I hope reading back on this and the reminder from my friends and family will help me have a restful taper so I can go into the race strong physically and mentally and then take some well deserved time off.
How do you overcome your running blues? Do you ever feel like you’re burned out from running?