…but what am I so afraid of?
I wrote on my workouts recap post a few days ago that I didn’t want to push my feelings to “loving” running right now. I said that I really liked it a lot but didn’t want to go yet to loving. I spent time thinking about it (have I mentioned I’m an overanalyzer?) and wanted to elaborate.
I haven’t really been running that long, compared to what is standard for many people in the endurance world. In March of 2011 I started the Couch to 5k program. I did it to lose weight and because I thought maybe eventually I’d like to run a half marathon. So I did. I ran my first half marathon in October of 2011.
And while it wasn’t love at first run, I had a good time. Once I got over the nausea at that finish line (it’s funny because my mom swears that was the worst she’s seen me, even after the marathon and 70.3), I decided I wanted to do another race, but faster. I joined a running group! And over the course of the next 8 or so months I ran several more half marathons and the Rock N Roll St. Petersburg Half Marathon, where I ran my first sub 2 at 1:57:44.
And between the half marathons and the Gasparilla Beck’s Light Challenge a month or so later, I loved running! I loved having physical goals for myself, and I loved the people I was starting to meet.
Then Tim and I got married, went on our honeymoon, and I had surgery that took me out of all forms of exercise besides picking up my purse for an extended period of time. I missed running, yes, but I had adjusted to life without it for a while. But I knew I wanted to run the Disney Marathon!
A bug had bitten me when I watched the finish line of the Marathon Relay the year before, and right then I swore I’d run that race in 2013. So once I went on my first few runs post-clearance from surgery, I signed up and started training. The plan looked daunting, and I did a lot of the runs alone. They started to become something that I had to push myself out the door to do instead of looking forward to. That’s not to say that I’m always running excitedly out the door to run now, but that was more dilly dallying than necessary.
I thankfully did a bunch of races as part of long runs that broke up a lot of the monotony, and I slugged through the training without missing one single run until the week before the race when I skipped a Tuesday run because I was getting a cold. I knew I was ready for the race.
And then the Disney Marathon came! And I really didn’t love it. I wanted to so much, but it was hot and I was not feeling 100% at the beginning, and I hit a wall so hard that I had sworn off running once I finished. I swear, I swore I was never going to run again, not run a marathon, but run in general. But like always happens, the emotion of the finish line washed out all the bad memories, and an hour after I finished I decided I was going to run the Chicago Marathon to get a better handle on the marathon in general.
And I started training to PR a half marathon. And here’s where the story changes.
Even writing this all out I sit here thinking, “No wonder you got burnt out. You didn’t love it for quite a while.” I kept pushing, though, and I did get a half marathon PR, though still minutes off what I knew possible at the time.
And then I found out the pain in my heel was a stress fracture.
And those months off turned me to triathlons (which I quickly grew to love, along with biking). I cut running down to 3 days a week when I finally got back to it, and I focused instead of becoming a better swim, bike, and runner. Some of the pressure I had started putting on myself was off.
And after finishing Rev3 Florida 70.3 and turning back to running full time for a short period to get in another shot at running 26.2 miles without flopping hard, I feel like my excitement for the sport has been restored. I’m getting back to where I was pre-stress fracture, and I’m even feeling mentally in the same place about running as I was when I was first starting to love it in the spring of 2012. Heading out the door to run isn’t as much of a task for me lately, and I’m spending a lot less of those miles plugged into an iPod just hoping to finish the run. Instead I’m able to actually enjoy them.
Some of it has been the pressure I’ve taken off myself in the time I spent not focusing on this one sport, and it has also been immensely helpful to have good friends to run with once a week or more. They keep me motivated and excited about what’s next. So I’m almost there. I think once my confidence in my ability and strength as a runner increases a little more I’ll be ready to utter the “L” word again. Until then I’ll keep heading out the door and enjoying the miles.
Do you love running? What word would you use to describe your relationship with it?
Is there any other physical activity that you love?