I’m happy to say that I feel like my recovery from ITBS is slowly progressing. Walking still feels “funny,” but it doesn’t hurt. I partially feel like I forgot how to move like a normal person and that I’m just expecting something to hurt. Hopefully that will slowly go away too.
This weekend I did a 45min strength training workout on Saturday and 30min on the recumbent bike on Sunday. I am thrilled to say that the bike caused me no pain or soreness. The PT butt & hip exercises, along with some additional strength training I’ve been doing makes me feel strong. I impress myself when I hold a plank or squat with weights that seem heavy to me. Hopefully I’m building enough strength to be able to support my muscles running long distances again someday soon.
Anyways, back to the main point of my post — today is a GORGEOUS March day in NYC, one that requires a run. I was working from home this afternoon, so around 4pm at the peek of beautiful weather (74 degrees! yey!) I decided to head out for a run. My plan was to head to the East River down to the Williamsburg Bridge and back home. The route in total is 4miles. Having only run 2miles since my recovery, my plan was to run until I feel pain and then stop. I’ve had a pretty negative relationship with running lately, so I wanted to take this run to just rewind — no expectations, no watch, no running buddies — just me, my sneakers and the sun.
The run only lasted 3.25 miles, but in those mere miles I felt like I went through an emotional 360. I ate a Clif Mocha Gel Shot before I headed out — I feel like these energy gels are generally for longer runs, but I needed the caffeine surge and to be honest, I just really love the taste! Just eating a gel made me feel like I was still a runner. I started out with a smile on my face, the sun was shining and I was comfortable in shorts and a tank top! A march dream come true. As I ran along with one foot in front of the other, I instantly noticed that running no longer felt like common place to me, the motion didn’t feel natural — it felt strange. I felt like a baby learning to walk.
As I got to the river, 0.5miles into the run, I felt tired already. “Where had my endurance gone!?” I asked myself. I felt frustrated. I knew I could stop because this was a run I was doing for fun, for me. I didn’t though, because more than anything I needed to know I could keep going. So I did, I kept running. My stomach started to feel a little unsettled and gassy — maybe the energy gel wasn’t a great idea after all. I’m also not used to afternoon running. I usually run in the morning when you know the only thing that will effect your run is what you eat right before you head out.
I tried not to focus on the unsettling feeling in my tummy and focus on the beautiful sun and all the other happy runners around me. Right, other runners…First, a girl that looked around my age whizzed by me, then a man in his 30’s or 40’s without a shirt on and a dog trotting along whizzed by me as well. I felt discouraged. Only a couple of months ago I would have been chasing after them, maybe running at the same pace, but not today.
As I hit my first mile my legs felt heavy and I was tired. Seriously tired after 1 mile!? Who am I!? You’d like think was the recap to my 20mile run. At that point I thought to myself, “maybe I don’t love running anymore…I don’t HAVE to run – I don’t run for weight loss, fitness or even health. I ran because I loved it, but I’m not loving this.” Despite my negative thoughts, I kept going. Even if this was the last run I ever ran, I wanted to finish it out.
By 2 miles I had hit the Williamsburg Bridge and it was time to turn around. This used to be the standard route that I’d take 3-4 times a week (plus a long run). This was the route that back in January I was insanely bored of. Today, though, I was so thrilled to be standing under the Williamsburg Bridge, to have made it out their again. Still tired, I headed back. Regaining some joy, I came to a realization as I spoke to myself — I didn’t always love running. I grew to love running because I love the challenge. I love the high you get from pushing your limits. I love that when I run, I run for ME and it’s something I do for myself. So sure, I felt tired after 0.5mile, which outright sucks because 10 miles used to be easy to me. But you know what, I started at running zero miles before and I can start again. Isn’t that part of the challenge? If I give up running, yes I’ll be giving up a TON of frustration right now, but I will also be giving up a something that has brought me so much happiness, brought me sanity and has even brought me new friends. So I will continue to struggle through (because to be honest with myself, every step right now feels like a struggle) and one day I will run 20 miles again. Shit, one day I will run 26.2 miles….OK I love running again, but it will take some time until we’re back on steady ground. Like any good relationship, this one will take some work.
By the time I hit 3miles I actually started to feel good again, but around mile 3.25 I started to feel a slight pull in my knee. I stopped. I didn’t try to go further. I stopped and I stretched and I walked the rest of the way home. I couldn’t be prouder for stopping. Something I feel like finishing a run is the easy part. The real mental challenge is listening to your body when it says to stop, even though your heart says to go.
On my walk home I also realized it was time for me to officially announce to myself that I would not be running the Paris Marathon. I’ve known it for sometime, but I still had wild dreams in the back of my head of making a HUGE comeback. I know I could probably pain my way through 26.2 miles with shear adrenaline and will power, but that wouldn’t be an accomplishment to me. I want to run a marathon and come out strong, not ruin my legs for the next year. There will be other races to run. I’m still going on a wonderful 2 week trip through France and Belgian so it’s still a win even without the race!
This is me, post run smiles 🙂
Have I mentioned how much I LOVE running in shorts again! I don’t even care that I still have a pretty noticeable sexy bruise on my leg from graston. I also love my new running top that my friend across the pond so kindly brought me! The mesh is perfect for running on warm days and I not-so-secretly feel really cool for wearing a shirt from a running team in the UK.
QUESTIONS: Have you and running ever fallen out of love? Tell me, why do you run? Inspire me 🙂