Going back to work after a 6 month career break was a real shock. Not only because I'd gotten used to doing whatever I liked all the time. But also because the culture of my new company turned out to be so different to my old one. In ways that I'd never imagined.
Even though my hours haven't been too long yet and I won't start traveling until after Easter, the stress of the adjustment has really made these last four weeks a struggle. I was more tired than I expected and even though I had practiced getting up early for @6amClub, the reality was much more challenging.
But still, my running had been going pretty well and I felt ready for my next half. I had to skip Berlin (at least I can get a discount voucher for next year) but I was able to sneak into the Maxifuel Half at Dorney Lake last weekend instead. Work meant I didn't really dwell too much on it, and just went in feeling positive about running a sub-2.
Dorney Lake is a very flat course and the weather on the day was perfect. But it wasn't meant to be and for the first time ever I had fuelling issues. To my absolute surprise I felt like I was hitting the wall at MILE FOUR and actually wanted to pull out of the race. But I refused to give up and finished, at a time about 6 minutes slower than my PB.
After 7 half marathons I still haven't been able to break that sub-2 mark. But then I realized, in just over 6 months I've run 5 half marathons and 2 10Ks. I've gone from one training plan directly into the next, with no real time off. So after Dorney Lake I decided to take a break. A real break. Right in the middle of my training plan.
I HAVEN'T GONE RUNNING FOR A WEEK!
I could hear the collective shudder from the Twitter Running Family as I typed that, and it did feel like I was being very, very naughty. But in a way it felt liberating. Taking a break meant I had one less thing to worry about as I stressed about my job. I got a little extra sleep. And mentally it helped me to put half marathons aside (for now...I WILL run a sub-2 one day) and focus on two new challenges: my first marathon in Edinburgh and my first triathlon in London.
So while I never thought that I needed to take a step back from running, the break has done me good. My spirit and body feel refreshed. I feel a little less stressed about my job. And I'm ready to run again.
Hmmm....maybe I should take breaks from running more often. Maybe. :)