Running, Guilt and Grief.

If you read my race recap from last week’s half marathon, you’ll know what I am talking about. If you didn’t get a chance to you can read about my fourth half marathon there.

Last week was a sad week around our house as we lost our dog rather fast. She was sick but we didn’t know how sick and were in the process of figuring it all out when she passed away at home.

It was Friday morning when I came home after dropping the girls off at day care when I found her not breathing. My heart broke instantly. I knew that when the day would come for her to no longer be with us I’d be sad and miss her but I didn’t expect to feel so broken and empty.

After I got her to the vets and paper work done I thought I’d take a nap as I was drained. What does a runner do when they are out of sorts? They run. Since my nap didn’t work out, I went for a run. It was a shitty run. I was going to do Spital Road (6k of rolling hills) as I missed my run the night before. After the first kilometre I changed my mind and decided to stay close to home and just run 5k.


It was a shitty run mid-day in the heat. I wanted to go but my mind and body didn’t really want to move. I think I looked like a pathetic runner and just made my way home. That run did nothing but give me some more freckles and increase my heart rate.

It’s been over a week and though we are sad she’s gone we are starting to get into our new life without her. The girls are fine. Hilary (3.5 years) is still too young to understand, she just thinks we don’t have a dog anymore. Lilly was sad for a few days and has short moments of missing her but is okay. My husband and I have lots of moments of “oh yeah, we don’t have a dog anymore”. You know the normal routine of:

  • walk your dog when you get up (feed her etc)
  • walk her when we get home at the end of the day to get the mail. We haven’t gotten the mail in a while!
  • take her out to pee before bed time…don’t have to do that anymore
  • the snuggles, her soft fur, the noise her id tags made when she shook her head.

Anyway…we’re moving along each day.

When I ran my half marathon last Sunday, I had a lot of guilt leaving my girls after this happened. Should I leave them, should I run, should I be away over night? Knowing they were in good hands (grandparents), I decided to go.

I thought running would be therapeutic after losing her but it wasn’t. I thought getting away would be a good change and less sad, It was nice to get away with Krystol sans kiddies, however the run was just a struggle (and that’s okay). Sure the heat was extremely hot but I honestly don’t think that really bothered me.

I felt like I lost my love of running, my passion, even my interest. I actually hating running many times during that half marathon and maybe that’s why I gave up and walked SO MUCH.

Confession: I haven’t run in a week and am fine with that. Though I want to run, I think I just needed a break. Don’t worry, I’ll get back to it but I just needed a break. I did get out for a bike ride and a yoga class…and may have enjoyed a few more beers then normal πŸ˜‰

Here’s to a new week ahead and maybe the start of my next half training – maybe.

How’s your weekend going? (We are having a great weekend so far).Β 

Ever use running a race as a distraction?

What do you do when your mind gives up earlier then your body?

Also, I realise the grief of a person vs an animal might be different to everyone and it’s taken this experience to really understand what it’s like to lose an animal. However, a loss is a loss and I was going through the grieving process during my half marathon.




25 thoughts on “Running, Guilt and Grief.

  1. Anna – let’s see if I can explain this right. a lot of people talk about how running feels so great and is the best thing to do when you aren’t feeling well mentally. Most of the time I find that NOT to be the case for me, unfortunately. I know there are those people who go through a breakup or something devastating and then run a super fast race and it feels great — but I’m not one of them. If I am anxious, depressed or overwhelmed, I feel very uncomfortable while running. It’s usually better for me to rest. For a long time I thought there was something wrong with me — but we are all different. I just wanted to tell you that in case you were feeling the same. I think it’s totally understandable your race didn’t feel great when you were feeling down emotionally and mentally. Enjoy your time off and your beverages!

    • Thanks Molly. Usually running would help me if I was stress or anxious about something but this is just different. I just felt different, lost, sad, unmotivated, deflated. Uncomfortable was probably how I was feeling, I felt like I needed to run but at the same time I just felt deflated.
      Thanks for your message and thoughts.

  2. I was like a zombie for almost 2 years after our dog died. I has little inrerest in mych at all. It is hard. So sorry for your family’s loss.

  3. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. There is something very difficult about losing that companionship of a dog. It hits you at the strangest times: when you come in the door and expect to be greeted, at night before bed when you start to take them out one last time……a loss is most definitely a loss. You deserve time to mourn. I read this wonderful article where they did research on dogs. They are pack animals and they actually feel that they are a part of your family. Isn’t that a wonderful thought? Your dog was a part of your family and they felt that connection too. What a lucky pet to have had your love. As for the mom guilt: I believe you told me last weekend that it was totally okay. You were right. And you are awesome. Sending love and hugs across the blog world.

  4. Grief takes time. Take YOUR time!! You’ll get back at it when you feel ready. Our pets are like children. πŸ™‚ *hugs* on a race note I started training for my fall marathon today! Woohoo!

  5. I think it’s totally normal for you to need a break from running…do it. Don’t force it, do other fun activities, rest…the desire will come back on its own time.

    I remember when we lost our first family dog. I was 12 years old. The dog was just a few months older than me so I had never known life without her and I was devastated. I cried for days. I wore her collar around my neck. And one day, my brother who was 6 years old turned to my mother and said, “Is she ever going to stop crying??”. Yup, we all grieve differently! lol

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