"Leaves were falling, just like embers. In colors red and gold, they set us on fire. Burning just like a moonbeam in our eyes."
I'm not exactly sure what it is about December... The limited daylight and cold, dreary days? The upcoming holidays with busy schedules and consumerism? The arbitrary but ever-present pressures of a new year with all its hopes, dreams and aspirations? Whatever it is, I always find that December, for me, brings on a kind of year-end depression and heightened anxiety about what's to come.
Many – even those very close to me – will be surprised to hear that I have struggled – and still do – with mental health issues. Depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsiveness and disordered eating. And while I have dealt successfully with most of these and am often able to control any relapses, I do still occasionally succumb to life's many and mounting stresses and fall back into deep and dark spaces.
"Now I am guilty of something, I hope you never do. Because there is nothing, Sadder than losing yourself in love."
Running to me has always been as much about maintaining positive mental health as it has about chasing fast times and PBs. Running was, has and is one of few 'aspects' of my life where I feel I have complete and constant control. No matter what life throws at me, a run will seemingly makes things better (if only for the time I am away). Running is the rock that provides a foundation and allows me to safely and confidently be me. It provides me with a valued and important identity, belonging to a group and working and contributing to both individual and shared goals and outcomes. It provides me with purpose.
"Now you asked me, just to leave you, To go out on my own. And get what I need to. You want me to find what I've already had."
Now, as I continue to struggle with an ongoing injury/issue and am prevented from training and performing at my best, I am in what seems a highly uncertain and unsafe place. I am lacking motivation that has always been there and failing to enjoy an activity I usually love. And while I continue to run for my own sanity, I know I may be preventing myself from healing and getting back to the place where I can train and improve again.
If there is one, the point I am hoping to make is that running and training, to me, is not as simple as "run or don't run". It's not always easy to stop, especially when you don't have too.
Just as good habits are sometimes hard to make, bad ones are hard to break... so what happens when what you're doing is a bit of both? We are told to "listen to the body" and "know your limits"... but what of what our heart and our head says? What do we do when the two are at odds?
"Somebody said they saw me, swinging the world by the tail. Bouncing over a white cloud, killing the blues."