So in the attempt to get my ‘fitness’ back, I really had to start basically at square one again. Starting from scratch is difficult because when you try to go out and run you feel like a slug, but you KNOW, not that long ago, you were running long training runs. Where does it all go?
It’s when you go out and run and it feels like you got punched in the stomach, are sucking for air and working SO hard, and your barely at a walk. Awesome feeling. It’s nothing but discouraging for me. One of the things that I REALLY have to work on is that understanding that walking IS NOT GIVING UP. Walking is a way of listening to my body, and working back into where I was fitness wise.
All during my running competitively “career” in high school, it was drilled into my head that walking is BAD. You cannot WALK. I mean, when you are racing and running, you are not WALKING. It took me a long time to get to where I am today to even not look at the watch and be concerned about my time and pace, and to ENJOY running. To enjoy the fact that I can run, and if that includes walking, so be it.
I had to learn how to enjoy running, and teach myself the difference between how I used to run and how I run today, how to find my own pace and realize that I’m NOT the runner I once was. I was working out WAY more than I have time for now, and I have a life, a job, I’m a, term used loosely here, grown-up. I still love running, but I love running for running, and I sure don’t like racing, in the term that I know it as from growing up.
When I first started running after high school I always wanted to be fast. Run as fast as you can. ALWAYS. It was always a race. Now I seem to saunter along, and I truly try to take everything in. The leaves crunching beneath me, the sun rising in front of me, the old man always out for a walk with his German Shepard, which scares me. The two golden retrievers that bark at me over the fence on my way back home. The music in my ears that keep the cadence of my feet so consistent, except when some ridiculously fast song comes on, and then I don’t even know I’m speeding up, and before I know it I’m huffing and puffing again and my lungs feel like exploding and I realize, oh that’s because I just ran way to fast for three minutes, thanks to Justin Bieber. And sometimes, when I am out running, I get tired. I get slower. I feel my shins hurt, or my knee tighten and you know what I’m okay with now? Taking a walk break. Taking a moment to make sure that my body is okay. Slowing down my pace to catch my breath. Walking isn’t the end of the world like I used to think.
Because you know what I realize? Okay, I just needed to catch my breath. I just needed a second to make sure my leg wasn’t going to fall off, and I start putting one foot in front of the other, faster and faster, and before you know it, I’m back running again. Right where I started. Running.