This past Saturday, I ran long. Not long as in 15+ miles long, but long as in my new definition of long. Saturday morning I successfully ran 8 miles, my longest run since surgery, and it sucked. But was great, all at the same time.
Due to my paranoia about running on slanted sidewalks right now, I’m keeping most of my runs indoors. For all the miles that I run, I stare at a blank wall about 4 feet in front of me. (I’m working on my mental fortitude.) Before I headed upstairs Saturday morning to stare at this blank wall, I decided to meditate. I’m horrible about meditating on my own so I prefer to listen to a guided meditation. The meditation that I chose to listen to Saturday morning was about gratitude, and I thought it would be the perfect way to start the morning. During those 15 minutes, I practiced gratitude for many people, but I also made a point to be grateful for running. Right now I have a love/hate relationship with running. I love it because I love running and have for many years. I hate it because right now it is hard! My legs ache, my hips are stiff, and I can’t run as fast as I once could. But on Saturday morning, I took time to be thankful for this sport, no matter how easy it once was or how hard it has now become. I do still love it.
Eight miles on a treadmill used to be nothing, especially at an easy pace. Now it is a mental and physical battle to watch the miles go by, while staring at a slightly too close white wall. I decided to break my run up into 2-4 mile segments. Run the first 4 miles in my new pair of Zoots (thanks to the awesome new running store, Runologie, opening up next month), and the last 4 miles in my Brooks. The first four miles went by ok but then I thought to myself, how the hell am I going to make it 4 more miles? Thankfully, I had a few ideas to help me along the way. First, cover up the numbers on the display. Nothing makes a run seem like an eternity than watching the numbers slowly tick by. Second, play bad ass music kinda loud. (Thank you Eminem and Maroon 5 for helping me along.) And third, practice gratitude. Like I mentioned, I have a love/hate relationship with running right now. But as hard as running is for me, I still love it. I took the time during those last 4 miles to just be thankful that I was able to run at all. Fast, slow, easy, hard – it doesn’t matter. I was still doing the one thing that has made me feel “me” for so long and for that, I was thankful.
As I’ve started to run more miles and longer distances these past few weeks, I’ve come to realize something. Once again in my life, I am a newbie runner. If you had asked me 8 months ago about running being easy or hard, I would have declared easy! And then tried to understand why it is some people don’t like running. For so long, I’ve taken running for granted and thought it was something that just came easily to me. I forgot what it was long to be a new runner. Now I am reminded of just how difficult it can be, and it gives me a deep understanding and respect for those just starting out on their own running journey. If I could offer one piece of advice to those just starting out, it would be perserverance. It is the one thing that is helping me through all of this.
Two Saturdays ago when I was out for my first 7 mile run, the last 3.5 miles were so hard. I wanted to stop. I wanted to walk. I wondered if I was ever going to make it back to my car. Then I started thinking about my husband, who has a mental fortitude like no one I have ever known. (For example, he ran 35 of the 200 miles in relay event a month ago, with only having a few long runs of 8 miles and a weekly mileage topping out at 12.) I remember he told me a few weeks ago Once I make my mind up to do something, I just do it. That’s what it’s going to take to get me back. A decision to just keep going, no matter how difficult, how slow, or how uncomfortable. In the end, that is what is going to make the difference for me – a new level of mental toughness and a new willingness to just keep going, no matter the obstacle.
Happy Trails and Happy Running,
Baby Update: I’m a little over 16 weeks and feeling good. We had a doc appointment on Tuesday and all went well. We find out if it’s a boy or girl on December 9th, but I’m not telling anyone until Christmas. Sorry Mom, Dad, and Toni. 🙂