Back At Square One
|July 18, 2012||Posted by Lauren under Marathon Training, Running|
My return to the running world hasn’t been glamorous or easy…but you already knew that. What you may not know is that it goes beyond feeling like a stranger in my own body. For the past month or so, my running mileage has been less than impressive.
First, there was the long honeymoon. While you may have expected that someone who had spent the past 3 months dreaming about being able to run would be out there logging miles every single day the second she was able, that wasn’t the case for me. In fact, I found it much easier to stop stressing about when I would run again once I knew that I could if I really wanted.
But in my defense, if you’ve ever visited the islands of St. Maarten and St. John, you know they aren’t exactly a runner’s paradise. Narrow winding roads up steep mountains, lack of shoulders, crazy drivers, and hot and humid days all dampened my motivation to pound the pavement.
I ran up this hill (and many more before it) once. Despite an awesome view at the top, I never did it again.
Plus, I found that I much preferred spending lazy mornings with my new husband over getting up early and hitting the roads (imagine that!).
Not that it wasn’t an active vacation — it was just more of a walking/hiking, swimming/snorkeling type of trip…and not so much a running one.
Now that I’m home, I find myself struggling a bit to get back into a routine. After all this time away from training, I truly am starting back at square one. I suppose this is only fitting given my current phase in life. These past few months have been full of change. On top of struggling through injury, I’ve lost my job, moved to a new state, and married my best friend. My whole world has basically been turned upside down. I’m learning how to make a new life for myself just as I’m learning how to run again. To say I feel unsettled is an understatement.
Add to that the fact that I don’t really trust my body yet, and you have one very cautious runner. Don’t get me wrong — I love every run I get to take these days. I love exploring new roads and I love the awesome views that surround me everywhere I turn. Running in Vermont is much tougher than running in Providence, but it’s also more rewarding.
So it’s not that I dread running itself, it’s just that training is tough. I have the New York City Marathon coming up in November, and while I’m still very excited about the race, I am finding it hard to settle into an actual training plan. I find myself wanting to run just for the sake of running. I don’t want to stress about paces or distance or speed work. I have enough on my mind just trying to keep my form intact.
I suppose it doesn’t help that I’m also incredibly out of shape. My legs are heavy and my breathing becomes labored way too quickly. Whereas I used to be able to run for an hour or more without much difficulty, I now find myself being proud of a day’s effort after only 4 – 5 miles. Nothing wrong with that, right? …except if you’re training for a marathon, you need to be able to run just a tad bit further…
I am trying hard to accept this new place. To enjoy the process of learning how to run again, instead of stressing about what I’ve lost. I may not be the runner that I used to be, but who’s to say that someday I won’t come back even stronger? I’m also trying not to get caught up in comparison. I don’t know how some runners are out of commission one day and back doing double digit miles the next. I certainly have not been able to bounce right back. So if I’m missing out on some big training secret, please clue me in.
Anyway, I guess there’s really no point to this post. Except to say:
Running is hard (duh). Getting back into running after a long absence is even harder.
And for those of you who find yourself struggling to get back into shape, you’re not alone. There is no shame in starting off slowly and taking things one step at a time. It’s better to start off small and avoid injury than to jump right back in and cause bigger problems down the road. At least that’s what I’m telling myself…
After all this, there’s still a chance that I might give up on the whole running thing and retire to a Caribbean Island. There are worse ways to spend a lifetime.