Nearly two weeks ago, I set out for a 25K long run, seeking to link up Mt Hiei with Daimonjiyama on the outskirts of Kyoto. I spent a half an hour on the bus to Ohara, then found the trail headed up to Mt Hiei. It was a beautiful fall day, and I was testing out my new hydration pack. In theory, the stars were lined up for a wonderful afternoon out. But something inside of me just wasn’t along for the ride.
Just walk. I told myself. It’s uphill anyway. Walk until you feel the motivation to run.
So I walked. And walked. And by the time I reached the top of Mt. Hiei two hours later I knew that today was not the day to push myself to go the distance. I took the cable car down the mountain (yes, seriously), and then the train home. I got a milkshake and french fries and watched Netflix for the rest of the afternoon. Sometimes you have to do that.
Beautiful foliage on Mt Hiei.
Every since I won Hanase Trail Run, I have felt mentally exhausted. It has been a long, intense year of running. I started to focus my training in January and I have trained and raced well this year, with no injuries to speak of. Physically I am fine, truth be told I am in great shape. But I need to back off, to find to space to wake up excited about running rather than doing it because I feel like I have to, every day.
I am signed up for one more race, a 35K trail race near Nara which takes place tomorrow. For a while, I kept telling myself I would just keep up the intensity until that last race, and then I would back off and take some time off from running. It turns out I don’t get to decide how long I keep the intensity up for. My unconscious self is already on vacation. So I’m not going to do the race. It’s time for a break. I’m still running a little, but only when I really want to.
I struggle, as a type A person, with letting myself relax. I still feel guilty when I get up in the morning and don’t work out. But maybe that’s why it’s important not to, at least for a little while.
In other news, my running routes along the river now looks like this! It’s finally fall in Japan.
One thing is for sure: I’ll be back.
- The Wild Bazilchuk