You know, I never thought it would be so bad.. a genuine suckfest! I pushed, pushed [PUSHED] and then REALLY pushed as hard as I possibly could for about two years. I got fast, I got strong, I won some races, I got injured, and then BAM….I got burnout. Real deal burnout.
Read a very basic definition of burnout here and let me tell you about my experience. Though I am finally reaching the end of my complete crash: my burnout was hard, fast, and cruel. About a month and a half ago, I literally lost interesting in training. I became extremely depressed, and basically just sat on the couch for a month…..it was pathetic, y’all.. furreal. I had absolutely no interest in racing, my legs started to hurt despite days of rest, and any running I did try to do (like Run the Reagan 1/2 marathon) felt borderline impossible. Then came Double Top 100, and I was just all kinds of messed up.
I had a hard time understanding what exactly I had done to get to the burnout point, that is until I took a good solid look at who I am as a person. I finally realized that the crash and burn came from the year prior which had all caught up to me:
3 100 milers, a 70.4 mile in 11:50, Hinson Lake 80 miles (serious hip injury), Fort Clinch 67 miles (ICU), weekly mileage often over 150 miles, multiple daily trips up Stone Mtn with Brooklyn on my back, quadruple run days, speed work multiple times a week, running threshold paces every other day….
Why did I do all of those things? Why didn’t I listen to my body’s signals telling me CHILL OUT YA FREAKIN MORON! That long hard look into who I am brought about some revelations, which brings me to this post!
The 5 personality traits that led to my burnout:
1.) Addiction – I am very transparent with my life story, and have no problem stating the obvious: I have an extremely addictive personality. ughh ya think? Some people might say that casually, but with me it’s the truth. I spent my teenage years addicted to crystal methamphetamines. And if I am honest with myself, I believe I have spent my adult years with just as strong of an addiction to running. I genuinely believe that my body became strongly dependent on endorphin release and the pain associated with relentless forward motion. I’m not talking inspirational “I’m addicted to pain! Bring it on! Wohoo!” type of stuff. No- I mean literally running through an entire night by myself with days of not sleeping for no reason- kind of addiction to pain. Just read through past posts on this blog and see some of the ridiculous crap I was doing. I think that addiction is the first thing that led to this serious burnout. That and the fact that I used the endorphin release as a form of coping mechanism- as means of therapy to hash out some of the massive amounts of life junk that I’ve dealt with these short 25 years of existence. I guess I just didn’t want to NOT feel running, so I continued to feed the addiction daily.
2.) Pride – Pride comes before the fall.… Whatever. I hate that. (I hate it because its something my dad has always said to me, and he is always right about everything.. but that’s an entirely different post I’ll save for another day.) But no matter how much I hate it, it’s true. I have always been very prideful in my training. For instance, when I’m out running 5 mile loops at the local park, I will kill myself trying to beat some fast chick out doing her 1 loop when I’m doing 6! Gets me every time. I absolutely hate feeling inferior, and that’s really immature and stupid. Had I just swallowed my pride on several long runs, I wouldn’t have tackled them so daggum fast and destroyed my body in the process! I can just see Dad shaking his head and sayin’, “You never listen, Ash.”
3.) Stubborness – A typical phone call between me and my husband:
Me- “I’m exhausted. I’m 20 miles into this stupid run and I feel like I’m 50 miles in. My legs are killing me. I hate running. Furreal Daniel. I need to stop, I’m gonna hurt myself.”
Dan- “Just stop and come home, then.”
Me- “Nahh, I think I’m gonna do a few more hours. I don’t wanna quit.”
…and that’s all I gotta say about that..
4.) Perfectionism – I have seen perfectionism show up in several areas of my life: body image, relationships,……running (duh), and it has never been a good thing. As a kid, I used to look in the mirror and obsess over the fact that the rechid scar stretching from my chin to cheek made my face completely unsymmetrical. I hated that! In running, perfectionism’s all about miles and paces. Just 9 miles ain’t enough for a morning workout. No, if I thought that 15 was the daily quota, regardless of how I felt , I would push to 15. No doubt this contributed to over training, as I often pushed harder than necessary to please my psychotic brain.
5.) Competitiveness – ahhh, and now we’ve reached the final and most powerful means to reach full over training potential! THE KEEPING UP WITH RUNNING JONES’s! Now while I am far less competitive than I once was, I still consider myself “very competitive”. I like to be the best I can be. I like to be better than the next runner chick, and I’m quick to do more than I’m capable of doing if it means beating her- training, racing, you name it. As childish as it sounds: I just like to win. It’s usually more in training that this destroys me, because I’m not into racing so much as I am training, but it hurts me just the same. I have pushed to win and ignored many serious body signals, resulting in several days and weeks off at a time. In the end, it’s just not worth it.
Pushing past smart barriers will always be my pitfall. I enjoy the challenge too much. However, the consequences of having absolutely zero drive, motivation, or ability to actually run were severe enough this time to finally teach me a lesson. And while I have no interest in turning into a pansy excuse of a runner, I have much interest in reaching my full potential as a human being. If I keep playing around and acting all stupid-like with this running crap, I’m gonna run myself into the ground. This past month sucked major,,and since I’m writing a post on “5 personality traits that led to my burnout” maybe I already HAVE run myself into the ground. But at least I’m learning and identifying the things that dragged me down. I’m definitely taking note this time, and I’m going to learn from this. Because if I am not learning and growing, well I’m not really living.
…And I love life WAY too much to not actually live it.