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Monday, January 30, 2012

The Sophomore Slump

Last year was a big year.  Lots of big accomplishments, lots of strides made (literally and figuratively) in my running life, lots of awards, lots of miles, lots of PRs.  Lots of things.  I love looking back on it.

It was fantastic.

It was pure.

It was exactly what I wanted out of my 2011.

And it completely drained me.

How do you follow up a performance like last year?  I know I can, and I know I will, but in the throes of a full-on burnout it's quite difficult to imagine.  And almost as equally as exhausting!

But, I'm pulling out of it.  I feel like I will be back in love with running very soon.  I just needed to retreat for a short bit and just stop thinking about it all.  Rather than fighting my loss of mojo and the burnout this time I just let it run its course.  Sometimes that's all you can do to make it through with sanity intact.  I feel remarkably sane considering my seven mile week last week :) 

I also let a bout of the flu run its course.  I'm quite lucky, though.  My version of the flu is considerably less crappy than most others who've experienced it, thanks to all that running and good health otherwise.  So I can't whine too much, but I sure am glad to crave food, and sunlight, and the smell of brand new running shoes again!

It was only a week of darkness, but it was a very long week.  I called the time of death on my running streak on January 22nd after a particularly awful long run that morning, and claimed a 25 day streak as my very own.  A pretty hefty achievement considering my usual streak lasts, at most, six days.  My body was ready for a rest as I had run it pretty ragged, and that's probably how I came down with the flu.  Live, learn, blahblahblah :)

So tomorrow I will attempt to pull myself out of this sophomore slump of sorts and get moving again.  Maybe I'll love it, maybe I'll take some more time off.  No sense in getting too crazy just yet.  Though we do have all sorts of ass to kick come late April, at Zane Grey.  But I feel very confident in my ability to be ready for that :)

Oh, I have another blog!  I've kept it kind of quiet the last several months and didn't do much with it, until recently.  I decided to make that a space to post tasty vittles I concoct in la cucina de Dunmore, among other non-running related tid-bits.  Check it out if you like, or don't :)  But I think you may enjoy it as a nice change of pace:

The Back Paige

I shall now get back to conquering the world and start dreaming up which shoes to lace up for tomorrow's run (I've got a couple new ones to choose from!).

Paige, out.


Gretchen said...

Oh wow, you and I are in EXACTLY the same place, Paige! I had such a sweet year in 2011, I don't really feel like I can live up to it in 2012. When I should be building my miles, I am just not feeling like running them. blech!

After a total of 15 crappy, un-fun miles last week, I met a great friend for a 24 miler on Sunday. We spent at least one hour of our 5 hour run doubled over in laughter. God it was good, and so desperately needed. And somehow we ran fast without even trying! Those are the kind of miles I need more of.

I don't really feel like I'm out of my own slump quite yet, but you are right that there is still plenty of time to prepare for upcoming races. I think it's also important to remember that we don't always have to compare ourselves to past performances. It's hard not to, but there are many other fulfilling aspects of running than just PRs. I think Zane Grey will definitely get you some of that sense of badass accomplishment without the speed. ;)

Anyway, don't put too much pressure on yourself. (A little maybe, you know, but not TOO much. ;)) It's supposed to be fun!

Dirty Running said...

That's a bummer. Burnout sucks and everyone seems to have a cure, but it's different for everyone and what worked last time may not work this time. You'll get it back though. No doubt.

Meghan said...

Aw, I'm so glad to read that you're taking this in stride. I say it's the perfect time of year to relax the bod and mind. Methinks your 2012 will be even better for it.

Personally, I feel so joyful about all the training I'm doing right now, but I know I'll also embrace some downtime, too, come mid-April when my goal race is all over.

Can't wait to see what's up your sleeves for 2012.

Paige said...

@Gretchen, @Dax and @Meghan...Thanks :)

@Gretchn, we will battle this slump together! In the meantime there's quite a bit of ice cream in the freezer that needs eating, and I hear it is GREAT mojo recovery food :-)

Scott Dunlap said...

A little couch time is always good - enjoy it! Then jump back in with no watch, no goals, and a few weeks of fun running so you can remember how joyful it can be. You'll be back pushing yourself in no time.

Happy 2012!


Paige said...

Thanks @Scott :) I like the sound of that!

Leslie said...

Geeez, there's a simple solution for the running blues! COME TO BANFF!! :)
It's all sunshine, lollipops and bacon.

Eric B said...

I'm catching up on my blog reading, so I might be a little late on this post. You might already be out of the slump. I think a person (runner) need time off to refill the tanks. So I think a little down time and maybe some other activities is what you need. I wouldnt worry too much about it, as I have a feeling you will be mowing them down soon on the ultra course.

Paige said...

@Leslie, I've heard about this Banff bacon; sounds amazing! :) Banff is definitely on the short list!

@Eric, great to hear from you! I've done lots of tank refilling of late...mostly with dark chocolate and gelato :)...and it has felt great! Thanks for the words :)

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