Friday, June 20, 2014

Backing Away From Burn Out

Have you ever felt so burnt out doing something you love, your body rebels and your mind aches to go through even the most minimal efforts required for that activity?  By the time I raced Pre at the end of May, I was getting dangerously close to running myself into this type of burn out.  There are several reasons for this, but none are an easy fix.  My hips hurt on every run, taking the joy out of the movement.  My form gets especially bad when I tried to run fast. My back arches and my knees circle out to compensate for my tight hips, and it's hard to create much power.  As much as I love a Seattle, my team, and the support I get from Brooks, it has been a harder transition I thought leaving Minneapolis.  I get homesick and miss the community I spent my life building.  On top of that, Danny's training, while exactly what I want, is a lot different than in the past, and it's taking my body a long time to catch up.
I know how long it can take to heal from full burn out because I've experienced it before.  By the end of college I never thought I would want to run competitively again.  Halfway through my third year of college, depression hit me hard. It took me a long time to get better, for many reasons, but I came back for my fifth fall of school ready to end my collegiate career with a bang.  Unfortunately, I got mono and had to finish competing that cross country season half asleep and having trouble breathing around my massive lymph nodes in my throat.  With two full years of having to force my body into over-racing while mentally and physically exhausted, all the joy was gone from running and especially competing.  

After racing Pre, I knew I was heading back into this black hole. I'm lucky to have a coach who understands how detrimental this could be.  Danny could have forced me to grind it out until nationals and beyond, but he knew it would hurt me long-term.  I know the consequences of racing poorly and having to stop early; my contract could not be renewed in January, I could be asked to leave the team, and I won't get the support and funding from USATF that I got this season.  But it's so much better than re-living my experience in college.  While it's scary not knowing how, exactly, I will support myself running through 2016, it's worth it to be able to do it right.  And it's worth checking in with myself to make sure I want to do it.
I'm taking a couple weeks off of my usual training to let my mind, my body, and my spirit recover.  If everything returns to full strength, I know I can be a contender to make the Olympics in 2016.  If not, I will be disappointed, but I will know I gave it my all while doing right by my health.

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