I didn’t run this summer.
There are reasons–Florida summer heat, an ITB injury–but the plain truth is that I’ve completed only 4 runs since the last time I posted on this blog. I’ve been biking, swimming, walking, and practicing yoga on occasion, but not with much regularity.
Quitting on the training block I had–from 5k to 11 miles without interruption–has been gut-wrenching. I’m still trying to find my way back into a practice. The races I thought I might run this fall (like the Barkley Fall Classic) are slipping away. I won’t be ready for a marathon, much less a 50k. I’ll be lucky if I can manage a half marathon before years-end.
So I’ve been pretty discouraged about running. And I feel like an imposter. Family and friends ask me about running and I wonder how much to say. Am I still a runner when I haven’t gone more than 3 miles in the past 3 months?
The Stress Slog
Twice now I’ve gotten out on the trails and felt the love for running return. Both runs were driven by the same feelings that got me running at the start.
About a month ago, I had the type of day that leaves me shaking from pent-up frustration, angry, distracted, and not entirely in my right mind. I drove straight home, threw on my running clothes, and hit the trails. The run itself was scorching and slow. I had to rush back home for supper before my husband’s evening responsibilities.
But I needed to run. And that brutal slog of a run was exactly what I needed to purge the frustration, feel some control over life, and remember how good running is for me.
The Fall Frolic
For Labor Day weekend, we visited family in our old town. I got out early Saturday morning to reconnect with my favorite trails. When I started training this year, I ran almost exclusively in one park, learning miles of winding trails. I was heartbroken about moving away from these trails, where I found so much peace and strength.
I ran and walked 2 miles that morning, taking regular breaks to sit and soak in the almost-fall beauty. That single run may fuel me for months now.
I think….I think I’m ready to start running again. Even if I won’t make 50k this year, I can still hit my original goal of running a 10k and a half marathon. I’ll make 50k sometime.
If you’re struggling to find motivation, go back to the roots. Why do you love running? (or working or whatever it is) Indulge those first feelings a bit. You may find your motivation again.