Challenge Confusion

It has been exactly one year since I last laced up my running shoes and stepped out for an actual run. 365 days without running! Oh how I miss it! Oh how I don’t miss it! Isn’t it strange how equally strong mixed emotions can be.

I remember that last run fairly well. It was a short run, just 2.5 kilometres, but it was only my second run in about five months. That gap was the result of obeying my chiropractor’s advice to stop running for a while in order to deal with a disc issue that was causing me hip pain. While I didn’t like giving up running then, I did it for the sake of my hip and the fact that I was preparing for a powerlifting competition in October. A couple of days after that competition, I went for my first little run in five months. A week later I went for my final run. The run started out tough, because my body was sore from post-competition high volume training and was not used to running anymore, but I powered through the run, feeling like Rocky Balboa. Until the end when the hip started throbbing. In my head I can see and hear my chiropractor’s reaction/response perfectly. Tsk, tsk! He told me to stop running, for now, although he does not seem so inclined to ever indicate when for now will end.

Fall is probably the time when I miss running the most, because there is something intensely satisfying and enjoyable about running through crunchy leaves and feeling the crisp chill of the air hit your lungs. I could go for a walk through the leaves and find a small measure of joy in the crunch, but it just isn’t quite the same as running. (Running in the rain or on fresh snow come close to the same feeling as running on fallen leaves.) So, these are the days when I feel the desire to run most intensely, even though it has been a very long time since I last ran.

The flip side is that I do not miss running all that much. It helps that I train three times a week. It helped even more when I was focused on preparing for a competition. Now that I’m in off-season training, I can’t help but feel like there is something more that I could be doing…like running. Honestly, the goal of running a marathon has come and gone, but I would like to be able to just go for short runs once or twice a week. By short I mean anywhere between 2 and 5 kilometres. Okay, maybe a 10K once in a blue moon.

I think this love/hate running relationship is an example of the restlessness I am feeling inside for lack of challenge or purpose. With no powerlifting competitions in sight, I feel lost and adrift. My gym training still has purpose, but there isn’t exactly a definitive goal there, at least not that I’m aware of. I’m working on technique and weak spots, so I can get stronger and more efficient which should transfer over to improvements in my competition lifts, but the results, at least right now, are not as tangible as having a distinct goal with a deadline. Make sense?

This miracle morning challenge that I started a few days ago was exciting before I began, but now I don’t feel excited about it at all. It feels like a burden, like tasks that are done merely for the sake of crossing them off. Such tasks are sometimes necessary and there can be benefit in doing them, but I suspect that I still need a different kind of challenge. I’m still not allowed to run. I have begun to suspect that my chiropractor will never give me the green light for running, and my resulting emotions are mixed. Competitions are still far off in the distance of next year sometime. I don’t know.

This feeling is yucky and difficult to describe. It’s a combination of boredom, restlessness, procrastination, laziness, longing, listlessness, confusion, desperation, a sense of being lost, cast adrift, a desire for something more, the need to be or to do something. It’s a hot mess.


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