Monday, May 19, 2014

Managing Burn Out

Burn out happens. As writers/readers we know this first hand. We get burned out on our WIP. We get burned out on our fav genre. We get burned out on writing related social media. You name it, we get burned out on it. Burn out can be happen to us all.

So I shouldn’t have been surprised last year when I got burned out on running. But I was! (Surprised, that is). I’d been running for years. I’m not great at it but I love it. I started running in 2008 and craved the challenge of competing against myself for a better time. I jumped immediately into Half’s (13.1) because that distance scared the crap out of me (the Full 26.2 was just impossible – I thought). Over the years we had run in countless races (ATL has a pretty amazing running community) until we finally conquered the Full at Disney in 2012 and then the Goofy + 5k in 2013.

Burn out happens when you least expect it. I should’ve been happy and excited with my achievement. Instead, I was sore, tired, and bored with running. I thought I had peeked – what else can I do to challenge myself now?

Luckily, I was familiar with burn out and how to handle it. See this post about book burn out here.

So, what did we do? We took a break from running.

We changed gears. We stopped running so much and started training with a personal trainer. We limited our races to small 5k’s or just-for-fun obstacle course racing. I stopped reading my running mags and even cut back on the runners I follow on social media. I needed distance and so did my hubby.

We thought about training for a Tri, we even logged a few laps in our gym’s pool. But we just couldn’t get excited about it so we let that fizzle out.

When I was researching a Disney half for my SIL I noticed that Disney had a new challenge: the Dopey Challenge. It was similar to the Goofy that I'd already conquered but the Dopey actually included the 5k and 10k. January 2014 was the first time this challenge was offered. Of course I had no idea it was even being offered because of the self imposed blackout on most things running related.

Still, the fact that they now had a name for what we did (Goofy + 5k) and there was a whole new distance in the mix (+ 10k) made me a little jealous. I felt a little cheated that we didn’t get something special in 2013 for our efforts. Had a 10k been available in 2013 I’m sure we would have run it. I threw a slightly jealous text to my hubby letting him know about the new challenge. I was sure he’d be peeved like me that we missed out.

Instead, I got three words back:

Okay, I’m in.

Those three little words blew my hair back, a but like this:

They were entirely unexpected. The idea of running the Dopey Challenge never crossed my mind. And the idea of my hubs wanting to run it was even farther from my mind. He was probably more burnt out on running after the 2013 Goofy +5k than I was. (And, to tell you the truth, he didn’t love running the way I loved running. He sorta warmed up to running over the years but he always thought I was weird for L O V I N G running).

Still, those three little words sparked a fire in my chest. I will run the Dopey Challenge in 2015. I want to run again. I want running to be fun again and I know that the Disney races will be fun. Staying on the property and going to the parks after the races is like stepping foot into a fantasy world and I love that feeling.

It’s perfect timing for us both – training will keep my mind off of queries and rejections. It will also help me de-stress from work and class. My hubby is done with his Masters degree so he wont have homework interrupting his training schedule (and my class ends with a giant test just before training really gets hot and heavy so it really is PERFECT).

Over the months I’ll be including a few posts about training, costume creation, and the inevitable ups-and-downs of running. Come back by to follow me on my journey.

What do you do (outside of writing/reading) to release stress? What hobbies do you enjoy?

Want more on writing related burn out?

Check out this awesome post by Jenny Kaczorowski on why rest does not equal failure.

Or my post on managing book burn out and contest fatigue.

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