burn·out/ˈbərnˌout/NounPhysical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress
Burnout is never a word you want to use when thinking about something you enjoy. Most of us have experienced burnout in one way or another, at work, in school, doing something you enjoy. Burnout, in a word, sucks.
Burnout is something that has happened to me in the past. more than once. I get super into something and go 1000% for a while, and then, I'm just done. I feel like I have nothing left for that passion. Normally my passion for whatever I was so ingo comes back around after a while, and I'm better about, not making the thing I enjoy the only thing I enjoy. I burned out a little bit on photography. I was going full tilt for a while, taking lots of classes, participating in shows, spending lots of time in darkrooms, and editing pictures in photoshop. It was all I could focus on, think about, talk about. I stepped back a little bit and now I really appreciate it again. I really appreciate my talent and the joy that I get from taking pictures.
I've been spending A LOT of time on running recently (well actually for a while). Blogging, running, tweeting about it, talking about it, participating in Team in Training marathon team, among other things. I don't want running to become the only thing in my life, because that will guarantee that I will burn out sooner rather than later. I actually think part of the reason I haven't burned out on running so far is because I was injured for a couple of months, with a badly sprained knee and had to rearrange my goals and schedule. So, now to prevent it from happening in the future.
This week, on Facebook, a friend of mine posted on her Facebook wall (and taggeed a bunch of us) about races we were registered for, or planning on doing. Everyone was posting all the races they are doing and I got to thinking about burnout. See, I am registered for a bunch of races, SFM this weekend, and then nothing until October, and I have a busy race schedule after that (Long Beach, Nike Women's, Marine Corps, Las Vegas, Goofy, Tinkerbell, and a couple of others I've been eyeballing). I'm afraid this schedule is going to lead me to burnout and make me not want to race or run. And, I don't want that. I enjoy running, I enjoy how it makes me feel, I enjoy pretty much everything about it, even being sore (I think the only thing I don't enjoy is losing toenails, its gross).
About a week and a half ago I posted that I was in a running funk. How did I know it was just a funk, and not burned out? I suppose at this point I don't, especially since I've only run ONE time since then. But, the only reason I havent been running is because of my stupid neck, not because I don't want to. I got a stiff neck a couple of weeks ago, waited a few days and got a massage, and it was better. Then a few days later I woke up with the worst pain in my neck that I've ever felt, wound up in the emergency room and now, a week later, I'm better, with the help of steroids/muscle relaxers (diagnosis was a pinched nerve with a severely cramped/spasmed muscle). So, while I haven't run in a while, its so I don't hurt my neck worse. I was starting to feel good again post hill repeats, I don't think I'm burned out and I'm ready to get back to training again.
This weekend will be a good jump start to my training for Goofy. I'm running the second half of the San Francisco Marathon, and I'm super excited about it. I loved running the first half last year, and really wanted to run across the Golden Gate this year and improve on the terrible finishing time I had last year (my finish time was sloooow because I was running with my sister, who was injured and my roommate, and both of them needed frequent bathroom breaks, but it was fun, nonetheless). But, with the "Half it All" Challenge and the cool extra medal I decided to switch it up and go for the second half. (Ya, I sometimes race just for the medals... You got a problem with that? Good, I didn't think so!)
I don't think I'm burned out on running and I'm planning on avoiding it.
After talking to my run coach last week we discussed Goofy and the Marine Corps Marathon and my schedule. I know that I'm going to be doing a lot more training runs and long runs than I'm used to the Goofy training schedule. And I want Marine Corps and Goofy to both be "A" races, but there's only about 9 weeks between them. Will I be ready to tackle Goofy after going as hard as possible at MCM? Unknown. Plus, with everything else that month, and both races being a cross country flight away, I'm not sure it's worth it to do both.
I've been carefully considering my options. The thing is I'm not a super fast runner, or even a fast runner. My marathon PR is 5:26, my half PR is 2:34. At this point when I run a marathon I always have the potential to PR. My last marathon (Alaska), I PR'd by 31 minutes, and I was CRAZY hungry from mile 16 on (I think that's called bonking). I think that's pretty impressive if I do say so myself (and I do). Basically, it means I haven't been running to my potential. And, I want to start exploring how much I can actually improve if I set my mind to it. (Can I get sub-5? What about sub-4:30? Maybe one day even BQ?) But, I don't think that cramming in training for MCM and then quickly recovering and cramming training for Goofy is going to get me to my goals.
So, with that said, I am going to defer MCM to next year. I am a little disappointed, but I think it's actually a really good thing. I can really focus on Goofy this year and then for next fall I can really focus on MCM and really enjoy the experience. Everyone has told me great things about both races, and I want to fully appreciate both. I could have said forget it and dropped Goofy and go for MCM this year, but something is drawing me to Goofy, and I think this is my time to try something bigger.
I really want to have two great races at Goofy and not be miserable there, 39.3 miles is a lot for one weekend and I'm going to take it seriously AND enjoy it at the same time.
I think if I do everything I have registered for or am thinking of registering for I'm not really going to enjoy any of it. In fact, I think I'll wind up being kind of unhappy, which will lead to burnout. And, if I'm not having fun while running, then what is the point? With that said, I'm still running San Francisco this weekend and then in October - Long Beach and in December - Vegas, then January - Goofy and Tinkerbell (which will be just for fun). I'm thinking about dropping Nike and really just focusing on a couple of good races. I want to get a new PR in the half. I'm really over not being able to break 2:30. I'm going to train hard and enjoy the races and not kill myself trying to do it all, it doesn't seem worth it.
Have you ever burned out? Are you afraid you're going to burn out (on running/marathoning or otherwise)? How did you prevent it? Did you prevent it?
As for this weekend's goals. I have no time goals in mind for San Francisco, seriously. I haven't trained properly for it at all. The last time I did a "long" run was Alaska, 6 weeks ago. Since then I've done maybe 5 miles, at the longest. I know that I can finish 13.1. It certainly won't be my best time, but I'm fairly certain it also won't be my worst. I'm just happy that my neck is now cooperating, thanks to the steroids, and that I'll be able to run. (Hmmm... I've been taking steroids all week, maybe they'll magically make me super fast this weekend! Or not. Serious dry mouth happening and they are upsetting my stomach, awesome. Should make Sunday all the more interesting.)
My goals are as follows:
1. Have as much fun as possible (since I will be wearing a tutu I'm pretty sure this one will be easy, and yes, I, the least girly of girls will be wearing a tutu, pictures to follow the race, small preview of the tutu below).
And, as always, if you'd like to find out why I've decided to run Goofy and why I fundraise for LLS please click the link and consider making a donation to support me!