Stuck

Is this me? Image via 1000awesomethings.com.

In the blogosphere it’s easy to portray the image that everything is like so great all the time. I am soooo happy and everything is perfect. All. The. Time.

While there is so much to be grateful for in all the Salty Bloggers’ lives, we’re all still human. Including me. To prove it (because I know you’ve all been secretly wondering) I want to share a (probably irrational) fear I have about my running.

I’ve been stuck at really close to the same level since 2007. That’s 5 years running almost the same race times. I admittedly ran many prs in 2011, but most were not particularly big. In fact, there’s one 5 mile race in which I ran 31:17 (2007); 31:25 (2009) and 31:16 (2011). How does one even manage to do that?! It drives me crazy.ย  I managed to get my 5 mile pr down under 31 a few months later (finally and just barely!) but you get the idea.

My 2009 Johnnycake Jog finish. You can see the WTH all over my face.

As racing season starts ramping up while I start blimping up I find myself wondering if I’d be finally breaking through this 54-55 VDOT ceiling if I wasn’t pregnant. Would I be making those big PRs coach seemed to think were just around the corner?

Yeah, I know I’ve had two kids in that 5 year period and when I start whining about it again next year I’ll have had 3 kids in the frustrating 6 years of the 54-55 VDOT ceiling. But is it possible that someone can just get stuck like that and never make a breakthrough?

Johnnycake Jog 2011. If you could see my face it would be saying WTH?! even louder than two years before.

When I started running and then training and then racing I improved very quickly. Every season I made huge gains in fitness and ran big PRs. I know that this levels off and new breakthroughs and PRs become harder to come by and I suppose it makes sense that it would happen at this level. But you’d think with hard work I’d be able to make another big leap. Waaa! Why not?

I realize as I write this the one thing I haven’t been able to do is to train with consistency. A year on, a year off and a year on is not enough to make the big leaps I’m looking for. Right? But as I get older and worn down by three little ones will I ever make the breakthroughs I hope to?

Salty Running boss and mother of 3 little ones with PRs of 3:10:15 (26.2), 1:25:59 (13.1) and 18:15 (5k). I love to write about running culture, mental training, and fitting in a serious running habit with the rest of a busy life.

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13 comments

  1. Consistency is the key, and with the pregnancies, it’s not surprising that you are seeing similar results year over year. You still have plenty of time (after all, you are younger than me, I think, and I have plenty of time!). I don’t expect a great 2012 here after losing too much time to injury either, but there’s always 2013.

    1. Rationally I know you’re right. I just have to get that irrational worrying part to get on board ๐Ÿ™‚ Cheers to 2013!

  2. I do not have an answer for you because essentially I’m just getting started. I pretty much was pregnant and/or nursing from 2005 till August of 2011. I can tell you that more kids = more required energy to raise said kids, which in turn takes away needed energy in other areas of life. I have never been so sleep deprived in my life and my twins turn two this month. I got more sleep when they were newborns. I can tell you that knowing that our family is complete has cleared my head & allowed me to focus on my training goals. Obviously my sights are set on Boston this month, but I also have another goal of a sub 20 5K (which I’ve come so close I can taste it). I 100% feel that the inconsistency & pregnancy breaks in your training have been a reason for stalling & your training. But, the sacrifice is worth that precious life in the end. Hang in there. I easily relate to your frustration, especially when your feeling miserable, getting bigger, & everyone around you is peaking & getting PR’s.

    1. Oh man, Michelle! You got the tears welling up! It is worth it and I am so grateful for my family, but you know how it is ๐Ÿ™‚ And I forgot about nursing! I’m still nursing my daughter! I’ve been pregnant and\or nursing for over 4 years straight now! I suppose when I’m finally done with all of that my body will just fly! Maybe? I hope!

      PS Your goals are right at the tip of your fingers. You’re almost there. I predict you have the sub-20 by the end of June!

  3. Oh sister I am so right there with you! Except I don’t have any pregnancies to blame for it. I started around the same time as you, peaked in 2007, got super close to those numbers and achieved a marathon PR in 2009, and have been chasing my tail since. Or so it seems sometimes. But I have faith that if I keep working hard, it will come.

    1. You did restart your career in the middle there. That’s huge! You’ve got a new PR coming your way this weekend!

  4. I am going to run up to Cleveland and smash your rear view mirror-hehe! Your best races are ahead of you. I promise. You did not mention how evil Johnnycake is to your readersโ€ฆ.the womenโ€™s record from 1992 still stands. I have not run sub 7 since 1998. Running has filled in the blanks in between my other sports. But now that I have nearly destroyed my body (all worth it) playing those sports, running is all Iโ€™ve got now. You are entitled to your feelings, but you will learn to filter through them. You are surrounded by people in the REAL world and BLOG world (me) who have walked (RUN) the same line as you! We will pull you out of the ashes every time. P.S. My stuck ERA 1993 to 1997—Feel free to borrow my box of green ribbons. In college track I came in 5th almost every time, even when I broke a school record!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. You answered your question, in my opinion. Right now your hands are REALLY full with bambinos and the consistency you’d really like isn’t there. But as a mom of an 11-yr. old and 7-yr. old, I can tell you the consistency will come back. And you’ll be hungry for good times, and you’ll get those good times!

  6. I’m done having babies and nursing….I’ve had my fair share with 4 c-sections. My irrational fear is that I no longer have any set backs to feasibly blame things on. I have gotten a lot faster of the past year and am hoping to have some big PRs this season, but what if I can’t do it? I did just have major surgery in January, but I am about to be past the point where I’m all healed with nothing standing in my way…but me. Yikes!

    1. Nothing standing in your way is great! Skies the limit. Can’t wait to live vicariously through you as you make your big breakthroughs this year! (You CAN do it!)

  7. I could have written this verbatim. Will I ever be as faster than I was in high school? College? 5 years ago? Sigh. I guess if we keep beating on the wall, it will eventually crumble, right?