It’s been almost 2 years since my last race.
I had prepared to wear shorts for The Illini Half Marathon in Champaign, IL. Rain was in the forecast, which turned out to be a very cold rain, not a refreshing rain. The incessant, cold rain forced me to wear the only pants I brought with me – a polyester pair of track pants. These particular pants are nice to wear after a race, but not great for running. They most definitely weren’t great for running in the rain.
I usually wear a visor when running in the rain to keep the water out of my eyes, but since it was cold I needed a hat as well as a visor. I certainly did not look like the height of fashion.
Within 2 miles, my pants were soaked and dragging – fortunately I always run with a hydration belt so I cinched up my pants with the belt. I also neglected to put my phone into a baggy, so by mile 3 my phone stopped working, thus no music. Oh well, I’ve run without music before so I didn’t mind running in the quiet and often struck up conversations with other runners.
I ran a 10 min run to a 2 min walk cycle, making my way through the streets of Champaign and Urbana, streets I never knew existed when I was a student there over 30 years ago.
By mile 10, my legs felt heavy and I was dragging. Despite the cold and rainy conditions, I wasn’t surprised I was feeling this way. That’s because I’d experienced the same heavy feeling in my legs while training for the half marathon.
Despite the cold rain and my leg heaviness, I completed the half marathon in 2:38, at a much slower pace than when I ran the Milwaukee marathon just months before. Luckily, as soon as I stopped running, the leg heaviness disappeared and I went in search of my son, Drew. I found him all dry and comfy eating an apple, hanging out in the rec center for the past hour as Drew completed his first half marathon in 1:27, finishing 46/4267!
Since then, I have not signed up for another race. Over the past year and a half, the joy I used to receive while running has left me.
Why did I lose my running mojo?
Health challenges can impede anyone’s ability and desire for the sports they typically enjoy. Even people working in the health field have these challenges. In the summer of 2015, I developed chronic idiopathic urticaria or chronic hives, for which there is no known cause or cure. I began taking numerous antihistamines including a once-per-month shot to abate the burning pain, itchiness and swelling from the hives. It took 9 months to eliminate the hives completely, for which I am very grateful.
Today, I am off all the medications and am slowly weaning off the shot, but my love of running still hasn’t returned. As a result, I’ve had to modify my running and adjust my physical activity.
What have I done instead?
- I run for fun three to four times per week, for no more than four miles
- I do more weight training
- I enjoy walking more often
- I have time to listen to audiobooks while decluttering
- I meditate
- I have more time to focus on business
- I have no pressure to follow a training plan, so I have more energy
- I go for leisurely walks in the Botanic Garden with my mom
What can you do when you lose the love of your main interest?
- Embrace the new-found time to do other things
- Embrace this time as a sign your supposed to slow down
- Use this time for your body to heal
- Meet up with your non-running friends for a walk
- Try something new
As I continue to wean off the shot, I hope the leg heaviness I feel when running dissipates and my joy of running long distances will return. But, if it doesn’t, then I will continue to enjoy the fun of short runs, walking, meditating, and more free time.
Have you ever lost your running or other favorite activity mojo? Comment below to let us know how you dealt with your loss so others know they are not alone.