I CAN RUN AGAIN!…Now what?

For the last six weeks my mind has been focused on one goal: getting my ankle healed and getting back into my running shoes.

It finally happened and I in no way want to diminish how ecstatic I am.

ran!The joy of being able to go out and run–without pain!–is the absolute best feeling. My smile is ear to ear as I slowly cruise down the street…for about the first block.

Guys, I am out. of. shape. Sure, I kept up with my strength training while injured, and I do believe it helped, but running right now is tough. When I was running on Monday, I was getting so frustrated. I was out running (finally!), but my lungs felt like they were going to explode. Running 3 miles felt infinitely harder than running 20 miles ever has.

And I got to wondering…why?

It hit me: Endurance, baby.

Running is tough. No matter who you are, the distance you’re running, or the pace you’re running at, it’s not a sport for the faint of heart. It takes time, and lots of effort. It takes strength, both physically AND mentally. 20 miles is hard–but you train your body to run 20 miles. You work on building your endurance so that when you go out to run a 20 mile long run, your body is trained to do it. There’s fatigue and general moments of “owwww” when you’re pounding that much on the pavement, but overall your capable–far more capable than you may think–to run that 20 mile run.

But, when you’re starting from zero, it’s damn hard.

With the exception of the people I know that run, whenever someone learns I’m a runner, I immediately hear “Ugh. I hate running.” Well, sure. When you’re just starting to run, it freaking sucks. On Monday, my legs felt sluggish and heavy, my breathing was labored and I never got into a rhythm, and I felt clumsy and ungraceful. And I’M coming from a place where I can still go run three miles! What about the people that have never run, and are really and truly starting at the bottom? No wonder people hate to run! It doesn’t feel good! I felt self conscious. I wanted to scream out to everyone I saw “I don’t normally run like this! I qualified for Boston 3 months ago!” And then I felt ashamed, because for the last six weeks I have been doing nothing but complaining about the fact that I couldn’t run, and now here I was, running, and all I cared about was how bad it felt.

However, I am graced with the knowledge, that in a few weeks, on the other side of the uneven breathing, the heavy and clumsy legs, there will be a moment when it all clicks. The glorious moment when my legs will move with ease and my lungs will feel good. 3 miles will be easy peasy and I’ll get to feel the pride of building milage again. I’ll hit double digits runs again, and it’ll feel good.

Injuries aren’t just about the time it takes to heal and get back in your running shoes. It’s also about the time to allow yourself to get back into shape–not pushing too much too soon and getting injured again. I’m restricting myself to running every other day until my ankle feels strong again. I’m not going to push my pace or my distance until I’m sure that I can handle it.

I have a race in 18 days. I have to run 8 trail miles in 18 days. And I can barely run 3 at the moment. It’s easy to get discouraged. It’s easy to make excuses not to exercise when you can barely walk. It’s easy to make excuses when you can barely run. But, nothing worth having ever comes easy. The endurance will come back. With time and hard work, I’ll be back to where I was when my ankle rolled on that rock six weeks ago.

For now I’m focusing on running and feeling good. I’m bummed I won’t be running the 27k in 2.5 weeks, but running the 13k will still be fun. It’ll be tough, since I’m sure I won’t be in great racing shape by then, but I’m excited that there’s the potential to be getting to that start line. I was so afraid I wouldn’t be able to.

I have the whole summer to work hard at my running and get back to great racing shape by the time my fall races start. Speaking of which, if you haven’t heard, Hanna @ The Millennial Next Door set up an awesome Blog Roll of bloggers running fall marathons. I’m on the list at the bottom under Other Distances since I’m not running a fall marathon this year. It’s got some serious ladies on that roll! Check them out and send them some good racing vibes!

Thank you all for your support over the last few weeks. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to be able to whine about not running to someone other then my poor boyfriend {thank you boyfriend for putting up with my whiny-ness}. I’m grateful to be apart of such an awesome community, and I am SO happy to be able to put up some running content again! I’m ready for a summer of warm temps, early morning runs, awesome tan lines, and hard workouts.

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4 thoughts on “I CAN RUN AGAIN!…Now what?

  1. I do hope we get more Other Distances folks! You aren’t running a marathon but you are still rocking it this fall with all those races!

    I can’t imagine how frustrating it is trying to come back from injury and labor through things that used to be easy. I’m not going to pretend I know the magic words that will make it better, but just keep fighting. You’ll get there. I remember once Meb saying “running is not a sport for those who grave instant gratification.” It always reminds me when I get impatient that progress takes time. As I’m sure you know already from your hard-won BQ: all the struggles, all the failed races, all the waiting just made it that much sweeter when you finally accomplished it. You just have to believe that there is a reason you’re going through all this, even if you can’t see it yet. You’re getting stronger!! Keep going!!

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  2. Found your blog through Hanna’s Blog Roll for fall marathons! Great that you are clear to run! Don’t worry, that endurance will come back way faster than you think. I’ve been sidelined (a lot, ugh!) and each time, the first week or two really sucks, but then your body starts to remember. First it remembers how to run some distance, even if it’s not fast. Then all of a sudden you see your pace start to improve. I’ve found that if I commit to cross training (if allowed) while sidelined, it helps speed this process up. I did have a friend recently in a boot and not allowed to do ANYTHING for like 8 weeks – she did a lot of strength training and she is faster than ever now. Hang in there and keep going – it WILL get easier and feel good again SOON!

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  3. I believe you will make it! Six weeks is a lot of time, but not that long… I hope that your body will soon remember its abilities and your endurance will get restored promptly. Best of luck!

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  4. yay.!! so glad that you are able to run again 🙂 I know you’ve really been looking forward to this. and finalllyy. I definitely know this feeling.
    Hang in there girl, soon enough you will be right back to where you were

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