Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lose Yourself

It was a bit of a rough week. I've been feeling rather run-down and tired; I think I'm fighting the 3000 viruses that have been going around lately. Work was frustrating, I didn't feel like running, haven't been sleeping well, possibly hormonally imbalanced, and feeling insecure/uncertain about some things.

All of that resulted in two crappy runs, Tuesday and Friday.

This morning I went to pick up my new road shoes from the post office. I knew I was over-tired when a friendly stranger stopped me to meet my dog, and something the stranger said made me turn away and start crying. Came home and attempted to take a nap, but couldn't sleep, so I eventually got up, put on my new running shoes, and forced myself out the door in the hopes that a run would help me feel better. While putting my hair up into a ponytail, I caught my own eye in the mirror, and what I saw there surprised me. There was a spark of independence and confidence in my own eyes that I certainly hadn't been feeling. I realized that somewhere in the past few days I'd lost sight of myself.

As I started my run, I remembered Powderface42, in 2007. This was the race that nearly conquered me. I remember wanting nothing more than to sit down by the trail and cry, or sleep, or both. I remember feeling burned out after, and that weeks later I could not face a hill in a run; I was mentally and physically broken by that race. But I had finished it, and that had changed me. From then on, the phrase "If I could do that, I can do anything" echoed in my heart and mind, changing the way I thought about myself, and about whatever challenges life threw me. It gave me the confidence to go on and do more ultras, to make big life changes, and take chances that would previously have seen me paralyzed with fear. Running in general, and trail/ultra running in particular, has made me a better, stronger person, who is not afraid of challenge and uncertainty. I know who I am and what I'm made of.

My thoughts continued on as I ran today, to my various ultras, running friends, injuries, celebration, fear and overcoming. I thought of RunningMania, and how the community there has been with me every step of the way.

As I ran out of town and into the forest, the light started to dim and there was a gentle fog in the valley. Part of me wanted to just keep running into the descending darkness and mist, but I eventually turned around and came out of the forest just as it was getting dusky. 12 miles done, harder and faster than I thought I had energy for; clarity was gained. I'm still sleep-deprived and uncertain, but I know who I am and what I'm made of, and I know that in the end it will all be ok.

This is why I love running. You can lose yourself and find yourself all in 12 short miles, gaining perspective, hope, clarity, and confidence in the process. There is no better therapy, and all it cost me was $80 for a new pair of shoes.

Week Summary
Tuesday - 4 miles with the puppy
Friday - 10 miles
Saturday - 12 miles

Total: 26 miles (cut-back week)


  1. Sounds very nice. Glad you had such a good run. :)

  2. Good thoughts Holly, Feeling a little unsure of my running lately, but will get back on track soon enough, keep the posts coming :)

  3. No better therapy indeed. Nothing better than a daily fix.... The world always makes much more sense after.

  4. Nice post. Reminds me to take a good look at myself today. I love new running shoes!

  5. What a great post! Thanks for sharing. It's so easy to fall into those slumps with all the pressures of life etc. Good for you for getting out there. How are the new shoes?

  6. I really want to lose myself in a run again. I feel like all the cards are stacked against me though. Just when I decided that I am going to do it and face the music of flare-ups and try to run through the pain (I know there is a hurdle I have to overcome and it will get batter) I got hit with this awful cold and have had to cancel my plans twice now. I'm afraid I won't find the motivational gain when I'm recuperated. :(

    I envy your drive. I need to find the motivation.