Ever have too much of a good thing? When I was a kid I had a friend who was obsessed with crepes. Obsessed. Every day after school he’d go home and beg his mom to make him crepes for an afternoon snack. For his birthday party, he had a crepe station where you could get crepes with a million different toppings. I think my friend had about 6 of them, was sick as a dog that night and never had them again (and this really was a friend and not me. I was a latch key kid whose snacks consisted of a bag of Doritos or a sleeve of Oreos and a Coke every afternoon. And my “too much of a good thing” story didn’t happen until college and involved a fifth of vodka and a quart of orange juice; to this day I still cannot look at either without getting queasy).
Why am I talking about crepes and vodka? Because suddenly I don’t want to run anymore. Actually, I seem to have grown an aversion to all forms of exercise. I know I’ve been complaining for a few weeks that my runs haven’t been very good, and I kind of just figured I was in a slump. Well, in the last two weeks this slump has turned into a full blown nose dive. I just haven’t wanted to exercise. At all. Nothing.
|Trail run in North Carolina. Not bad, eh?|
Now, it’s possible that it has to do with my schedule being kind of wonky. First, I was in North Carolina for 5 days at a conference hosted by my company. Although we were at probably the most peaceful and beautiful place in this country, I was still off my routine. There was no gym, so I had to improvise. Part of my duties at the conference (when I didn’t have to give a nerve wracking presentation in front of old bosses, new bosses, and bosses’ bosses) was to run a resistance band exercise class every morning. So, I’d get up each day 2 hours before I had to teach in order to get my own resistance band workout in and then drink enough coffee to make myself both pleasant and coherent to our clients. I’d lead the resistance band class and then take off for a 3 mile run before breakfast. If there wasn’t time in the morning for my run, I’d find an hour in the afternoon and run then. So, I worked out a lot, but without a gym I was unable to swim, bike or take any classes where other people told me what to do and I’d just do it. Also, my runs were pretty awful. Yes, the scenery was amazing and I even got to do a trail run, but we were in the mountains in North Carolina, which makes half of an out and back run entirely uphill.
The weekend after I got home from my business trip was that awful half marathon that I wrote about last week (and if you didn’t read that blog, you should. The race was horrific but the blog was pure genius :-). And before my legs started feeling better I was off for an entire week to cover my kids’ Passover/Easter school vacation.
The week started OK. On Monday I went for an early run so I could be home before my husband had to leave for work. I was going to do my bands when I got home, but by then I was sweaty and tired, with no desire to exercise any more that day. On Tuesday temperatures dropped into the 30s, and there was NO way I was running outside. I know, 30 isn’t bad, but I’d had a taste of a couple of 50 degree runs and I wasn’t going back. So, I did my bands and road on my bike trainer. Wednesday was still cold so I excused myself from running again. By Thursday I was using excuses like being unable to carb load properly on matzah.
By Thursday night I was actually kind of worried. I had run once in the past week and hadn’t been to the gym in 14 days. Granted, it was due to circumstance, but my concern was that I didn’t miss it. Not one bit. I started sleeping late (which in my world means until 6 AM, but that still 2 hours more than normal), and I quickly realized that sleeping for 2 extra hours was a lot better than working out for those same 2 hours. My next half marathon (3 in 3 months. What a stupid idea that was) is in 4 weeks and I was definitely lacking in the mileage I needed to be prepared. And I didn’t even really care about that.
Friday night I thought about my new sedentary behaviors. Was this it? Was I done? Had I eaten too many crepes (or drunk too much vodka)? I had an 8 mile run planned for Saturday. Was I even going to get up to do it?
I thought about this for a while, and then made a decision: I was not going to decide. Not yet. I was going to do my workout on Saturday even if it was just going through the motions of it. Making a decision when my routine was so far off was not the right time.
So, Saturday morning I woke up, did my resistance band workout for an hour and then went for my 8 mile run (again, carb loading with matzah instead of bread, which is so not the same thing). And guess what? It was AWESOME. It was by far the best run I’ve had in a very long time. Before the first mile was finished I could tell that I was happier, and by mile 7 I was sad that it was almost over. And somewhere in between I had figured out my problem.
I hadn’t over done my workouts and just burned out. I was missing my routine. Waking up at 4 AM is tough. Four runs, 2 swims, 2 bike rides, a strength training class and 3 resistance band workouts in a week – every week – is absolutely brutal. But it’s my routine and it’s what keeps me going. My problem wasn’t that I had had too much of a good thing. My problem is that most of my good thing was gone for a couple of weeks and I didn’t function well without it.