It’s no secret that I’ve been having a hard time getting back on my running feet after a pretty intense schedule of races over the past year. My legs have consistently felt heavy, and my lungs have been fighting me the whole way. Truthfully, I know it was mostly mental. But, it was what it was. And I wasn’t enjoying running like I used to.
And then this morning I opted to stay snuggled in my warm bed listening to the rain hit my window — when I “should” have been getting in my four-mile run. The thing is, I knew I had a completely free afternoon, since our summer half-day Fridays started this week. And my still-sore legs were begging for a break after some intense lunges and deadlifts yesterday. Plus, I’d woken up with a tweaked neck that would require a morning visit to the chirporactor. (It’s still not 100 percent, and she suggested I get a massage.)
Not excuses — I know I chose not to run today. And I’m not apologizing for it. Just giving the full picture.
All day — all four hours of it, anyway — I was nervously looking forward to this afternoon’s run. It’s rainy and cool today — my FAVORITE running weather of all time. And it was broad daylight so I could comfortably run on the wooded trail instead of the sidewalk by a very busy but well-lit road. But, what if this run stunk as much as the last one? What if I truly had lost my love of running for good?
I set out for my run hoping for a decent run — knowing that most of it is all about the attitude.
I walked down to the apartment office to drop off my rent — it is the first of the month after all — and counted it as my warmup. And then I started my GPS, covered it up with my sleeve and headed out on the run. Before I knew it, I heard the one-mile alarm on my GPS. “I haven’t been running that long,” I said out loud, confused. And then I really looked around me and saw where I was. I had been running a mile. I didn’t uncover my GPS to see how long it took me. I didn’t want to know. I just wanted to run for the sake of running. (That’s how I do “spontaneous” too — I like to do things on a whim, as long as I can assign some measurement or order to them when I’m done.)
But, when I heard the second mile alarm go off, I had to pull the sleeve up of my running jacket. By the time I fought with the elastic to uncover the watch, I saw a very quick flash that said 8:57. What?! I haven’t run that quickly in a long, l-o-o-o-o-o-ng time. I quickly sent off a post that may or may not have included a swear. And may or may not have admitted that I was crying — justalittlebit.
I put myself back together and headed home, smiling the whole way. And then, I turned the corner to head up the hill — into a cold, rainy wind — toward home. Soon enough, I was passing mile three. All I could think about on mile four was how amazing I felt — even those two sore legs of mine. My mind was in it. My body was in it. Most importantly, my heart was in it.
And then, soon enough, I turned into the apartment complex, heard the GPS and walked myself the rest of the way to my apartment. I felt like I could run forever. But I know better. And I certainly didn’t want to overdo it on my very first good (GOOD!) run back.
When I walked in the door, I was soaking wet. My legs were covered in mud. And pollen. And grass. And I couldn’t stop smiling — filled up to the brim with that love of running I haven’t felt in some time.
The verdict? Four miles, 35:52 — an 8:58 pace. I’m extremely happy with this. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for a long, hot shower and a mug of green tea.