Running has been a roller coaster since the Trials. I left that finish line unsatisfied. I wanted to jump right back in, prove I wasn't a flash in the pan. Use the fitness I knew I had. The next week handed me a big life change as I transitioned out of Oiselle HQ and began working for myself. And last night I found myself signing loan paperwork as we look to buy a house in Tacoma, and leave behind the city I've called home for nearly 10 years. The longest I've ever lived anywhere.
Hey, mama, you alive? Barely.
So to correct my first sentence: LIFE has been a roller coaster since the Trials. And running is part of it. 

As I talked this over with my (new) friend and ultra runner Sarah Bard, I realized that most of the competitive runners I know share a similar "flaw". We don't appropriately account for life stresses affect on our training and racing. We tend put our running and racing in its own box, as if it simply can't be touched by anything else. We think our heart and determination should be enough! Even if we aren't sleeping, or are working long days, buying a house, or just ran two marathons in 8 weeks. We think we just need to "want it more", or "work harder". 

 15 miler followed by too sick to get out of bed. #rollercoaster
This is a valley in my training. I'm still going through the motions, doing the workouts. But truthfully it just all feels hard. The ah-ha, hooray moments are weeks apart. I know from my years of running that this is okay. But there are moments it's hard to remind myself of that. That it will get better and the work that I'm doing now isn't for nothing. It's money in the bank, even if it feels like pennies rather than hundies. And recovery is just as important a deposit as the work.

Or simply maybe I should take it from Sia and bang my head against the wall. Within reason of course...


What's next? I'm jumping in local races this spring to test the wheels. First up, Beat the Bridge 8k on May 15th. And you can always check out my race schedule here.


  1. Great post. So true; even us non-elites fail to take into consideration those darn life roller coaster moments. They can knock you off your feet and your running game. Just had a fluke case of severe poison oak; who would have thought that would mess with life and running? Lol. Here's to smooth sailing for you!

    1. Elites, non-elites, whoever I am... we're all still competitive runners! Also poison oak is no joke! Shudder. How you're recovered! I've been sidelines by an infected heel blister before, so there's always some weird snag ahead to look forward to ;)

  2. Amen sister. I just went through this last weekend in Eugene. I had two deaths in my family, have 3 potty training emotional toddlers and am in the middle of a major move...and I expected to PR last weekend. I had a "what the (insert profanity) was I thinking" moment at mile 20 �� Head up, wings out sister. Try to cut yourself some slack and enjoy the process. ✌��️

    1. Oomph. Classic. Kudos for starting that marathon in those shit-hitting-fan conditions.

  3. Right on re: the "flaw." My husband and I recently sold our home and bought another (on the same day). I didn't really feel overly stressed about it, but my running took a nosedive in the weeks leading up to the move. My speedwork slowed so much, so suddenly that my coach asked if I might be pregnant. (Nope!) I ended up taking the days right before and after the move completely off and running's slowly starting to feel normal again. Good luck with the house hunt—hopefully the process is quick and as painless as real estate can be. :)

  4. I'm having a low motivation period, after a much-harder-than-expected half-marathon. I even skipped my long run this last week! It's been so long since I've done that. But thanks for sharing this, Sarah. Even though I preach the "all-stress-goes-in-the-same-bucket" to the athletes I coach, I have a hard time remembering it myself. It's good to know that a) I'm not alone, and b) whatever I can do is good. As you said, "[i]t's money in the bank, even if it feels like pennies rather than hundies." #YES


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