I haven't run this week. At all. Not a single mile has been logged into my dailymile journal. I'm not sure where my sneakers are at the moment.
I have set my alarm three times this week with the truest intentions of a morning run. I laid out my clothes and prepped the coffee maker. It was raining on Tuesday (darn!), and Wednesday (shoot!) mornings and today was simply too foggy to be safe (oh man!). Did I then feel guilty about it for the rest of the day and force myself to the gym in the evenings? Nope.
And you know what?
I feel great! My knees are happy. I'm not getting random shots of mystery pain in my legs and my shoes (somewhat) fit this morning. It's 10:30 am and I'm not considering eating my arm as a mid-morning snack. I'm not exhausted. My shoes fit easily this morning because my feet aren't swollen. My energy level is up and I'm willing to walk to my coworkers office instead of emailing. I'm not panicking on the inside about decreasing mileage or gaining a pound or ten.
Huh? What's happening? Who is this girl? Didn't you say you can't go three days without running for fear of the world as you know it completely coming to an end? Are you and running fighting again?
Relax, I'm just resting.
On Saturday, I accomplished my goal of racing or participating in 100 miles in 2010. With four half marathons, two 10-milers, and a handful of smaller events, I successfully raced 104 miles from February to October. Those 100 miles do not take into account the hundreds of training miles and hours of cross training.
As I set out on an easy run on Sunday, my legs let me know that they were D-O-N-E. I could barely maintain a 10:45 minute pace. After 2 miles, I gave up and walked home. This was a huge 'listen to your body' moment. The pain in my shins and calves as I ran was more than the typical discomfort. It was threatening. With each forced step, my legs were saying, "If you don't stop now, we're going to make you stop." In my head, they sounded like my mom would while giving the I'll-give-you-something-to-cry-about threat.
I feel like this week off is allowing my body to play catch up. I've slept well these past few nights and have woken up feeling rested. Because I'm not burning through every calorie consumed and my body isn't working as hard, the bizarre cravings have also subsided. They've been replaced with a want for veggies and meat which means I was probably low on protein.
My appetite has decreased significantly and when I do get hungry, it's not accompanied by a lightheaded desperate feeling. I'm not HANGRY (hungry + angry = hangry). I bought a jar of peanut butter on Tuesday night and it's still unopened. That's saying something, people.
I'm not worried about losing my "runner-ness" because I know that soon my legs will be asking me to run and a new race will come my way that I'll want to train towards. This is the runner's cycle. You run until you hate it and then you rest until you need it. In this interim, I won't have to schedule runs or have distance/pace goals. I love the "off season" season because running returns to it's fun roots. I'll be out there because I feel like it and because I can.
My next run will be on Saturday with Girls on the Run as we do our 'practice 5k'. I predict that with running back and forth, I'll log 4 miles. And that's just fine with me.