I’m in the midst of a two-week break from running.
After back-to-back marathon cycles my body needed rest and my mind wanted a hiatus. This break has been good.
If I’m being honest, my entire life is constructed around running. What I eat, how much I sleep, when I travel – nearly everything about how I live is at some level, done with running in mind.
What will make me feel good and strong? What will give me energy and fuel me well? These are the questions that drive my day-to-day existence.
Most of the time, living my life in this way doesn’t feel burdensome or frustrating. I’ve run nearly every day since I was 12 and have gotten used to the routine. I’ve also come to view my running lifestyle as a path to self-awareness and self-care. I’m kinder and more attentive to myself when I’m asking the questions above. I’m at my best when I am running.
But, all of that doesn’t mean I dread breaks from running. Pauses in my training are like a vacation, a hall pass or a “Get Out of Jail Free” card. They afford me the opportunity to be lazy and glutenous. They change up my routine in a wonderful way. Breaks from running give my body and mind a chance to rest and heal and re-calibrate.
For the past 12 days I have slept an extra two and half hours each night, set personal records in time spent watching television and consumed a hearty amount of alcohol. I’ve skipped the gym after work to catch dinner with friends, and let myself fall down every internet rabbit hole I’ve stumbled across. Not running is great.
Breaks from running haven’t always come easy. Like most competitive female distance runners, at my worst I’m neurotic and obsessive. Running can be my drug – a way to shut myself off from the more difficult and unwanted parts of myself and my life. A break from running can mean anxiety. It can mean a breakdown in my defenses against issues I’m literally running away from. But now in healthier times, I can embrace a pause in training as a way to appreciate this hobby for what it can be at its best – a source a joy, relationships and confidence.
The Olympic Trials left me hungry and inspired – eager to be fast and strong and competitive. As much as I’m loving this hiatus, I’m looking forward to resuming the routine of my running-centric life. I think I still have a lot of fast times left in my legs and a lot of miles yet to run. Plus, I miss my Twin Cities Track Club teammates and the feeling of my body being a well-oiled machine.
It’s creepy face masks and wasted time for a few more days – then its back to the life I love and the routine in which I thrive.