My 6-month run challenge: a retrospective.

So, my 6-month run challenge came (quietly) to an end last week and I have been racking my brains on how I wanted to recap my journey. As I look through post after post of the last 6 months of running, I see a few common themes:  consistency, run-volutions and…as much as I hate to admit it, the frustrating head case that I *still* am from time to time whenever I run.

I do, however, think the biggest progress for me in this journey has been this: being at peace with running happy miles and not *for* mileage. Yeah, there are days that I wish I had the endurance and distance in me that I once did. Sure, my mind meanders to ‘what-if’ I try again (to work towards another half marathon). But at the end of the day, I really really still have a big issue with running a mental run. Even though I have improved substantially in not panicking, steadying my breathing and focusing on…less focus when I run, it still happens. It still rises up in me in certain instances (heat, and conversely, cold!), up hills, on longer runs, etc. And until I really beat that, I honestly think that running another half marathon will end up in the same result – frustrating, panicked and running a race I am not proud of.  Not that a half marathon is even my goal or end-all-be-all. Because it’s not. We all know racing is not for me. But it still is something I want to do. There, I said it. It is. I won’t deny it. But it’s not the main goal. The main goal remains…not to run a mental run.

So while I still have a problem with the mental (run) game, this challenge has done WONDERS for me, because I have finally gotten to a point where I embraced the dreadmill (in the winter), AND intervals (and rocked them several times), AND running outside IN the winter, AND sustaining some good mileage (5-7 mile range in the winter whereas previously, it would have been 3-4 – max). I am also finally at a point where I trust running to be my main cardio source (with a dash of spinning sometimes to mix it up), because not only do I truly LOVE it, it is ultimately the best workout for me and magic bullet with barre n9ne. 

This challenge…is not over. I am still a work in progress. But I am okay with that, because a physical challenge should always be just that: a challenge. It should never get ‘easy’ and it should also push me out of my comfort zone. Thus why I love to run. And thus why I *will* rock the mental game too.

Thank you for all of your support, friends, I have loved sharing this journey with you all, even if you aren’t a runner, because I truly think some of the messages and learnings here are universal. Now I think I will pick myself up and dust myself off and go for a kick ass run tomorrow, with M by my side. Pushing myself just a little bit farther.


21 thoughts on “My 6-month run challenge: a retrospective.

  1. I honestly think you are on the verge of truly kicking that mental headcase issue you run into (no pun intended) from time-to-time. You’ve come so far already in six months…just imagine what a few more months of this will do for you? Sayyyy sometime in October maybe? 😉

    1. Something in October huh? 😉 Hmm…and as for a breakthrough? I think I had one today, as a matter of fact. Who knew?!

  2. LOL – me and running don’t always see eye-to-eye either. Especially when it comes to injuries. I think you have to go with with you love the most. So that’d be barre. Then the running. Run for the love it it not ever because you think you have to.

    1. Thank you friend! Glad you agree with me on the picture hehe 😉 you’re right, barre is first, I think, or at LEAST an even tie with running. I have a death grip on bot because I love them so much! I definitely have shifted into run because I want to, not have to. It really is helping!

  3. glad you’ve overcome the stress. as much as possible anyway. you are so much further along the road than i am; the very idea of running makes me break out into a cold sweat. 🙂

    1. Thank you friend! Everyone has their loves and interests, and running doesn’t have to be yours 😉 Cold sweat sounds awful! hehe.

  4. Love this part the most – “being at peace with running happy miles and not *for* mileage.” Just reading about your progress over the last couple of months has been so great. You’ve come so far! I think, unfortunately, there will always be mental runs but that’s OK. I think that’s the big part of the challenge right and challenges us to continue to grow and adapt.

    1. You’re right, there will be mental runs. I’d just prefer there be LESS of them and more good, solid runs. But happy miles and not mileage is helping me maintain more of a good run cadence, not a stress/head case one!

  5. I’m just in awe of your barre teaching too. How amazing!!! You’ll have to come out with a DVD in the future, how cool would that be.

  6. Here’s what you need to do. You need to go out, and do everything wrong. Don’t hydrate, start off way to fast, you have to take way too many walk breaks, and have a run where you bonk out and have the wheels fall off the wagon and have a run turn into a death march. You’ll find out 2 things:
    1) It’s not a big deal, it happens to everyone.
    2) You’ll not only recover, but your next run will be sensational and this whole running mentality thing will fix itself.
    Let things go bad and see how you well you recover and how you come back strong. I guarantee it will make you physically and mentally tougher.
    (just a little outside the box thinking).

    1. Ya know? You are probably right. Very right. Especially on the first point. It happens. It’s not the end of the world. But in that moment? Man, does it feel like it is. I think this little run-speriment just may need to happen, spur of the moment-style. Thank you for weighing in! Love the out of the box run thinking!

  7. I love how far you’ve come, friend. You’ve really pushed yourself, mentally but you haven’t forced the mileage. That’s awesome! You and I are so very similar (and insist on reminding each other of that all the time)…and I think that’s why when one of us succeeds/pushes/hits a milestone it’s even more exciting…and super inspiring. Running is easier for some…harder for others. I’d like to think we’re in between. 😉 You’ve come a long way, Jo, and I’m glad you’re not pushing yourself into racing for the sake of getting the miles/races in. Do it when you’ll enjoy it. Maybe we can run a nice, friendly turtle race together one day…no goals, just go. 😀

  8. I love your perspective and what you took away from this challenge. Way to rock it girl, keep up the great work! 🙂 I’m so proud of you for pushing yourself into this challenge and keeping with it, you needed it and learned so much from it!

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