Monday, May 6, 2013

Burned Out



Burnout is a state of emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, you begin to lose the interest or motivation that led you to take on a certain role in the first place. Burnout reduces your productivity and saps your energy, leaving you feeling increasingly helpless, hopeless, cynical, and resentful. Eventually, you may feel like you have nothing more to give. Most of us have days when we feel bored, overloaded, or unappreciated; when the dozen balls we keep in the air aren’t noticed, let alone rewarded; when dragging ourselves out of bed requires the determination of Hercules. If you feel like this most of the time, however, you may be flirting with burnout.


I am sure most people were expecting a post about Leona Divide or my Miwok race recap. That is not what this is. It has taken me awhile to digest the last few days. To be perfectly honest I have been struggling since September of 2012. I think at times I am so happy, and love my life so much that I write off sheer exhaustion and burnout like its not happening. I guess in many ways I just kept ignoring and ignoring it. Racing with poor results, and pushing through when all I have wanted to do the last year is take a break from the sport. If you were to ask Jesse how many times I have sad that in the last year he would probably say 12-15. I have stated to him many times over the last eight months that I want to take a few months off, and just take a step back from it all. Unfortunately the very next thing I do is sign up for a race. Its like a never ending cycle that I have committed to finally fix, and put a stop to. 

I am incredibly healthy. I am by no means trying to sound like an ass, but honestly I am one of the most healthy friggin people I know. I do not eat processed foods really at all. I am obsessed with words Like Kale, Raw Cocoa, Raw Coconut Oil, Mung beans, and Avocados. I cook everything from scratch, and digest every seed and green powder you can buy at Whole Foods. I honestly up until last month had not been six in 5+ years. I; so i thought, was the in the purest form a health nut. This past April I got incredibly sick. Like in bed for almost two weeks sick. This was just after racing Old Goats 50 mile, and then in the first few stages of this sickness I went to Oregon for a week long Patagonia trip. I got back, stayed very sick for another entire two weeks all the while working my ass off to put on the inaugural Griffith Park Trail Marathon. Two weeks later I put on the Leona Divide. This by numbers mind you is one of the larger Ultra's in the country. Prior to all of this in February I put on the Ray Miller 50 mile 50k, and yep this one is a large race too with 350 runners. Through all of this I had been training allot. Like massive amounts of miles, and mind you I mark all my own race courses myself. My job is incredibly exhausting and physical to say the least.  Are you tired yet? I finished this all up with going up to Miwok 100k this weekend. When we went to check in on race morning and they announced it was only going to be a 60k not a 100k due to high fire dangers I was actually happy. It was 4am and they said to come back at 8am. I didn't even care. I was perfectly ok with that. 
I had found out the day before that my beautiful Ray Miller course that I had worked on for years creating had been thoroughly burned by the Camarillo fire. Mentally after hours of crying I rallied, and boarded a place to San Francisco. My heart was a mess, and ached terribly. 

My gut told me not to go. Why did i then? Because i had committed to share a very expensive house with other friends, and was worried about the obligation. Myself, my mental state, and sheer exhaustion were put to side for 350$ dollars. My lord where were my priorities? Clearly not with myself, and what was in the best interest of me. I made it through the shortened course and took my time enjoying the day the best I could and even ate Popsicle's at aid stations!  You would not believe it! Very yummy Popsicle's, and what an amazing course! It really was so beautiful. I am glad I took it all in, and spent the day chatting with so many friends.

The interesting thing is that this was one of many races this last 1o months where things just didn't feel right. I have now had 4 or 5 races like this in the past year. Races in which I thought I was in pretty good shape and then when I tried to run fast (i.e. race) I felt slow and weak. It's not a fun place to be. No one ever wants to be in a position where they feel like they can't run anywhere near as fast as they could 12  months previous. More and more I have begun to feel this in my training also. I seem to have plenty of energy and endurance, but my muscles just seem to be weak, slow, and slow to recover.

OK so moving on from Miwok I have made the decision to work on fully getting my Mojo back. I have pulled out of Bighorn 100, and I simply am not going to start running or racing again until I feel like doing so. It might only end up being a few weeks, and that's perfectly OK with me. I am tuning off of face book for awhile, and making a commitment to only check my email once in the early am, and then again at night just once.  I guess in a way I am checking out. I am going to go camping in Yosemite, Three Rivers, Oregon, Idyllwild, and spend every weekend hiking until I feel like running again. I am going to volunteer allot at tons of upcoming events so I can give back, and see all my amazing friends. I am also gonna go up to Mt.Baldy at least twice a week. I am going to yoga allot, and cleaning up my nutrition a bit. With all the races I have put on in the last few months, and traveling my health has for the first time in 10 years fallen to the side. I simply will not let this happen. I pride myself on looking and feeling amazing, and nothing is gonna get in the way of that. Period. 

So luckily for me I am my own boss. I have worked tirelessly the last eight months so I can now check out a bit and work on this whole Burn out ordeal. As for now I have no desire to toe the line competitively at any race, and have not really since last July. Not good, and have to fix this. You only live once, and I refuse to live my life not exactly the way I want it. 

As for Ray Miller myself and my awesome team will have an alternate course. We will figure out an amazing "B" option for a few years, and when the time is right and nature is ready we will bring back the original Ray Miller 50 mile 50k course. For now my heart aches everyday for those beloved trails. My heart aches for my dear friend Howard who serves on the Santa Monica Mountains council, and spends most of his free time on those trails. The Camarillo fire is a tragedy to say the least, but I do see a small light shining through(Thank you Jimmy Dean). Hope is all I have ever had. As a little girl it was all I had to survive so I am most certainly not going to give up now. Always hope for the best. That's just the only way I know how to survive. Life is so awesome, and we are so lucky to be here. I refuse to not be living it the way I wanna live it. 

On, On, On my friends. LIfe no matter what will always go on, and we must never loose hope!! Time to get some rest for me..... 

6 comments:

  1. An honest, heartfelt, open declaration...you have looked within and found the truth in your spirit. Isn't it ironic when you said in your first paragraph, "...take a break from the sport...how many times I have sad that in the last year..." You even wrote the word 'sad' for 'said'. You're right, life IS awesome, and even better when we slow down and rest, reflect and enjoy the solitude sometimes. It's hard for an overachiever, athlete like yourself to let go...But you will rejuvenate your soul and body and come back even stronger. Good luck, God bless and savor the rest.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What an honest post. I was tired just hearing about your schedule. A rest well deserved in my opinion. Looking forward to see ya on the other side.

    Carlos Pineda

    ReplyDelete
  3. Darling girl, this is awesome that you had decided to truly take care of yourself. You deserve it. And I am looking forward to your new RM50 as I ache for the previous trails burnt on fire. Be well, be healthy, be happy. Love you.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you so much for sharing Keira. I know this is something that affects so many of us runners and as "in tune" with our bodies as we seem to be, confusion of exhaustion vs. burnout (even straight denial) is something most of us will face. I’ve struggled with the same issue since Leona Valley race in 2011 but since the beginning of 2013 it seems I have been able to grab the reigns once again through rest and staying in touch with the running community -i.e. your blogs =) – have been able to transition back. Your writings are always so inspirational; I always look forward to new postings. Enjoy your rest and I know you’ll be burning up the trails again. THANK YOU!!
    Mark Averett

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sometimes, before you realize it, that feeling that you had in your legs, that spring....had left you. The feeling you had breathing in the mountain air as you got lost in your run...isn't there anymore. And like you, I felt the same. There is healing that needs to be made and this type of healing takes time...I run alone right now, taking a camera with me to REDISCOVER those trails again..yeah, you gotta stop to take a good pic.. They are there and you'll find them, just breathe them in, and they'll come to you...and your legs will soon have that spring again.. :) Take care Keira, hope to see you on the trail.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Really Nice Post! Gnc promo codes & online coupons are available at ShoppingSpout.com

    Only people who want to look beautiful, healthy and fit will come in for Nutritions, Natural herbs and proteins.

    ReplyDelete