Let’s set the scene….rewind back to 2010. Wow, 7 years passed already! That’s quite insane. In April of 2010 I ran a race that was going to determine my fate on a collegiate career of running. 2009 I was diagnosed and received surgery for bi-lateral compartment syndrome. I went from collapsing after 1 mile to training for my first ever half marathon. WHAT?! Yes, I knew after my recovery from learning how to walk again, re-wiring my brain to even know how to wiggle my toes, that I would start on my ultimate running dream. I have always loved the idea of half marathons and wanted to celebrate my running recovery with one. The coach at my college at the time trained me for it and stated that because of the time I ran, I could walk on the team to help continue my pursuing my personal goals.
Here are my splits:
Average pace: 8:00/mi
I went back to my recap post to read how I felt during this, what my thoughts were and I wrote that I casually ran this and didn’t race. But can you just look at how happy I was (mind you this was at the start, but the picture below was toward the end.) I LOVE running and we have been through so much together.
It’s time to stop getting down on myself. Some days I think back to my collegiate running career and think about how I could run in the 6 min mile paces and I’m even shocked because that seems so far out of reach now. I look at those splits from that half marathon, or even the fact that I was able to run that much without stopping.
Currently, I’m having a hard time getting over those 1-2 milers when I run by myself. I’m running slower than 8:30 min/miles. These are the thoughts that I used to have during runs, and yes I used to post about everything I would think about during my runs and thoroughly enjoyed reading them again.
Those are pretty decent. Nothing crazy. Just mindful of every moment of my run and truly embracing my thoughts and feelings. Now enter my thoughts when I run now:
These thoughts are my battle between trying to be optimistic and cheerleading myself, but at the same time trying to listen to my body which ends with self defeat. I finish and think, man that wasn’t even a real run. Then my thoughts pour in on how easy it used to be to run and how much I want to do my beloved 5 mile runs (my perfect distance I truly believe.)
We get this “runner brain,” as I like to call it and it’s this self absorption where only you and running matter and anything outside of that just won’t get it or understand. It took me getting injured in college to escape and step back from this runner brain. My version of runner brain was obsessing over splits, needing to make my run exactly even to the .0 on my Garmin, to knowing my competition and obsessing over their race results from the previous weeks, to scheduling life around my running schedule, and to even telling my mom that I had to get my run in even when it was >100* regardless of her concern of my safety outside in that heat and her then offering to pay for my access to the local gym to run instead.
The fact is. None of that matters and should not consume your life like it did to me, but also to so many that I have come in contact with. I even heard people missing rehearsal dinners because they had to get in their second run of the day, or not going to big events because they had a long run the next morning. There’s preparation and planning and then there’s missing out on life. Running should be a part of life, but not life itself. I learned that myself and now I’m working on getting it back in my life with a good relationship.
So now, I’m working on accepting that even if I only make it 1 mile, which is exactly what I have done the past two times I have ran, that it’s better than nothing. I also won’t look at my pace, nor care anymore. It’s like I was taught in high school, you focus on the distance first and then the speed. I’m just trying to accept myself as the runner I am right now and not compare to the runner I used to be.
I always say this and then get discouraged and then I stop running for a few days after a nice training block of solid small runs where I start feeling good and then I end up back at square one and just get in my head that I will never get back my fitness. I’m by no means trying to be what I was in college, I’m just wanting to be able to run a solid chunk of miles comfortably, no matter the pace.
I think this article written by Alexis Lynne as part of the Lane 9 Project, helps reassure that I’m not the only one and I know this. But you just have to listen to your body and sometimes that means slowing down.
I know I’m not the only one out in the world that has gone through this and maybe this post helps someone know they aren’t the only one feeling this way or that it’s okay to lace up your shoes and just make it out of the door. I’ll tell you right now that even on my shortest of one mile runs, I still feel better for doing it and know it helped me re-focus and clear my thoughts that are all jammed in my head currently. So, yes please, give me a run, no matter the distance, no matter the pace, because I just need my safe space and love of the road meeting my shoes and my brain running free.
Q: Have you found yourself comparing to an older version of you?
Q: Do you find yourself in running slumps?
Q: Can you relate at all to this?
Last week I wasn’t feeling too great, so I only ran on Monday. But this is from the week before. I’m starting out slow since it’s been a long time since I’ve been consistent with running. Something is better than nothing and you have to start somewhere.
I’ve been obsessed with Halsey and her new album is incredible. I’m going to put my top 3 songs up for you!
Q: How have your workouts been going?