Friday, December 19, 2014

I do believe I'm burnt (out) ~

After the St George Marathon (which was the first weekend in October), I lost a lot of motivation to run.  I'd had a long summer of running, starting back in April at the Zion 50k.  I did a lot of events this season, more than I typically race in a year:  Zion 50k, Yellowstone 1/2 marathon, Bighorn 100mile, El Vaquero 50k, Wasatch 100 (dnf), and St George.  I also volunteered, swept, or paced at Pocatello/Scout Mountain 100k, Speedboat 50k, and the Bear 100.  I get tired just thinking about all those weekends that I spent traveling and running.  Poor dogs were in the kennel a lot of weekends this year.  But I had so much fun at all of those events, and I felt good for a long time.

After 6 months of training, racing, and traveling, I became really worn out.  Mentally and physically, I was tired and my body needed a break.  But when you are tired and worn out, sometimes you need to prove to yourself that you are just that, so I went for a 20 mile birthday run in the mountains near Pocatello for my birthday, the weekend after St George Marathon.  It hurt ~ a lot.  My legs were not fully recovered from my first road marathon and my head was not completely into running, so I hiked a lot of it.  It was cold and snowy, but beautiful.  And I'm glad I did it.  I also went to New York City and the Adirondack Mountains for the first time to try and reset:  I've decided that to keep a positive outlook on life, I probably need to do some sort of travel or adventure every 3 months, or my attitude really suffers.  Of course I did not rest in New York:  I either hiked with my friends in the mountains or walked around Manhattan everyday for 4 days.

When I got back to work after the New York trip, I didn't want to be there.  I think I finally realized that my current job was leading nowhere:  still no benefits after 4 1/2 years; promises of more hours and a possible staff position that never materialized.  Always being introduced as "but she's only part-time" which I feel has always minimized my roll and my abilities.  My mind and body were tired from racing for 6 months and I didn't have the energy anymore to deal with the constant feeling that I was worth more at my job, but was not being recognized for my abilities.  I decided to take some time off from running and look for another job (unfortunately, I still had to go to work, but my hours had been cut from 25 to 16 per week, so I decided I could deal with it for the time being).

I found a great job close to home (5 minute drive, or easy walking or Trax train commute) and interviewed for it.  I told my boss that I'd interviewed, and he might be contacted as a reference.  He said, "Ok" and seemed unaffected.  No words of praise or luck, which further deadened my feeling of commitment towards him and reassured me that I was doing the right thing looking for another employer.  He made no effort in the following weeks to offer more hours or promise to look into benefits.  In fact, he seemed to grow more distant.

I didn't get the job and stewed about it for several weeks.  Thankfully, I was going to Colorado to spend Thanksgiving with the cousins and knew that being around family would boost my mood.  I had a line on another job and set up an interview for when I returned from Colorado.  I stayed pessimistically hopeful (I am a pessimist, after all).

To add to the mix of emotions, in the days before Thanksgiving, I got a phone call from my doctor's office that my mammogram was abnormal and I needed to go in for follow up testing.  My mood suffered even more, but I tried to remain hopeful, remembering that many mammos are abnormal, only to have follow up testing that is benign.

I went to Colorado and talked about work as little as possible, but did talk a little about it and my current search for a new job, and found my family to be just as super-positive and supportive as I needed them to be.  I started feeling better around them, and even went out for a couple of trail runs in the trails around my cousin's house in Erie, CO.  It was great to be out in the sunshine, looking at the beautiful Front Range, and feeling better about myself.  Sometimes I have to remind myself, "I am a good person.  Good things will happen to me.  I need to keep my chin up through the rough spots and look at all the beauty and good people around me."

I got back from Colorado and received an email that the job (the second one) that I had applied to had found someone to fill the position and my interview for the following Friday was therefore canceled.  Great.  Strike two.  But on the upside, my repeat mammogram testing was benign.

My knee was a little cranky after running more miles in those two days than I had run in the past two weeks.  But when I got home, I got on the foam roller and worked out the kinks; walked the dogs diligently every day, and kept up with the running.  I logged my first 30-mile week since the marathon in October and went to work on Monday feeling better than I had in weeks.  On one of those afternoons, I was running laps in the Park, thinking of how good life can be if you let it.  I had an inclination that I needed to answer my phone, but had left it in the car (I drove the car to the Park and had the dogs with me, but didn't want them to run the full 8 miles on the pavement, so I did alternating laps with and without them, leaving them to chill out in the car while I was on my solo laps).

When I got back to the car after my run, I had a voice message.  It was from the clinic manager at a clinic I had filled in for when one of the providers was ill in February of this year. He asked me if I would be available to help out, because one of the NPs was leaving the practice.  I called him back immediately and got his voice mail.  I left a message.  I also emailed him.  This was surely a sign.  A good sign that I had an opportunity move on.

It was Monday afternoon and I hadn't heard back from him.  It got to be Tuesday afternoon, and I called him and left a message (again).  He called me back as I was leaving work.  Would I be available to come in for an informal interview?  Talk with the current NP (who was staying) and the medical director?  Certainly.  I went in later that week, and talked with them (nervously) and they all seemed receptive.  I got out to my car after the interview and looked in the mirror.  I had a coffee-dot on my nose.  I went through that dang interview with coffee on my nose and no one said anything!  I felt like an idiot.  They probably thought I was an idiot and they were going to change their minds about hiring me.  I would have to stay at my current job and resign myself to being miserable.

Then in the following days, I talked with the clinic manager again a couple of times via email and phone.  What was my schedule like?  How does this schedule look?  Can you work with this?  I thought to myself, "Seriously?  I have this?  I am so lucky.  I am so fortunate.  I am so grateful."

I began running more.  I've logged 30 mile weeks the past two weeks and am well on my way to logging 30 miles this week.  I feel better, and I think 30 miles might be the minimum I need to run to feel healthy both mentally and physically.  Of course, not worrying about the job situation and looking forward to a new job with more hours, better pay, and paid benefits helps me to feel better, too.  I have been sleeping a lot better the past couple of weeks probably because of both of these factors.  I also feel better about the work that I'm doing:  more invested, and like I'm really helping people.

I'm so grateful to be feeling better, both mentally and physically.  I have five races planned for 2015 that I'm looking forward to.  I have a new job that will start in a couple of weeks.  I'm happy that I kept my chin up through all of this,and that I have supportive family and friends around me.  It's important to believe in yourself, but it does help to know that others believe in you as well.