When I stopped running, I stopped blogging as much. I know, that sounds kind of ironic because you’d think with more time on my hands, some activity would increase. But it’s been a touchy subject in the cobwebs of my head. I’ve tried to distance myself from it because I thought what I used to know was over, and I had to move on. I know, that sounds dramatic but I have to give myself a hard truth to face sometimes, or I’ll convince myself otherwise. So back in April when I was hurting really bad, I took time off. I was trying to do it the right way, underwater running, other strength training, rest days, etc. I did it for the 8weeks, maybe even a little longer. And I eased back in and I was so slow, and it was so discouraging, but I was trying to just be grateful for the whole act of running itself. Then I ran a 5k on the Fourth of July. It was raining, and by that I mean it was more like hurricane conditions. They decided to do it untimed. I was like oh hey, I don’t care I won’t be competitive, but it’s impossible – it’s some innate quality that ignites when they scream “go!”
So, whatever, I thought I was back at it, slow as a turtle – but still moving. And then I started getting worse pains than before and I couldn’t really figure it out. It didn’t matter about stretching, or swimming, or rest days or what. I couldn’t get more than two tenths of a mile without having to turn around and walk (and wanting to cry.) So, lately I’ve just been trying to deal with that. Accept it for whatever it is, and think that maybe two-ish years of running started to take a toll on my body that was just now starting to appear? And I tried not to feel bitter towards the people trotting around the neighborhood, when Running Times showed up in my mailbox, when raceday photos appeared on my Instagram. And then something in me, one morning this week made me decide to just try again, lace up some different shoes and see how it went. Somehow I managed two miles, and the air was cool and breezy and it was so beautiful and perfect I wanted to scream with joy, after being so frustrated.
That’s where I am now. Just taking it one day at a time. And being infinitely grateful for every single run. Every step I take that doesn’t hurt. And I’m not exaggerating. I thought I’d be fine without it. But there’s something about that sport that has a strong hold on me. I can’t quit. I can’t let it go. I ordered new shoes, and I’m hoping that that might have been a factor, that my others needed to be retired. Before I had half marathons (like the Rock n Roll in Savannah) in my starry eyes, but now I’m just thankful for the recreational activity. Maybe one day I’ll go back to races.
I was thinking about it this morning. Tallahassee was graced with this incredible weather this weekend. Fall surely has arrived. The humidity has been low, the sun shining, a breeze in the air – just absolutely gorgeous. I forgot the mindset I get in with running, nothing else clears my head in quite the same way. (Like when I’m swimming? I’m concentrating on breathing and if I’m keeping a good form too much to be thinking about anything else.) Especially when it’s just me, an early morning, an empty neighborhood, clear skies, cool breeze, and some thoughts or dreams. I forget about the emotions, I access when I’m running. It’s like an inner layer pealed away that I leave covered up the rest of the time. Facing all my insides, ugly or not. Anyway, maybe another day I’ll have to deal with it, but at least for right now I don’t have to because I don’t want to. I don’t know how yet to start over with something else. It’s an addiction, sure, but it’s the only good one I have. I guess I never realized how much it all became engrained in me. I need running for so many reasons. And sure, those PRs I reached, or finish lines I crossed brought a certain sense of accomplishment I’ve never experienced from anything else, but right now it’s not about that anymore. You know that part in “Wear Sunscreen” that goes “Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and in the end, it’s only with yourself.”
Well it’s true. It’s just an inner battle right now, (and for the record? Right now, I’m winning.)