On December 7th, 2013, I ran the fastest 5k of my life.
And that was pretty much the last time I felt like running.
I threw in a few miles here and there and did a sprint or two for good measure, but it was nothing compared to the mileage or speed I was clocking in the previous couple of years.
I just didn’t feel like running anymore.
It didn’t appeal to me.
So I let myself take a nice, long hiatus and enjoyed some other activities.
Once spring had sprung, I thought the running bug would bite, but it didn’t.
I was having too much fun boating and biking.
And since my dog could no longer tackle long walks with me, my sneaks had pretty much been sidelined.
I tried to run a couple of times during the hiatus, but it was painfully boring and then the three months I spent trying to replace my beloved (and no longer produced) Reebok Real Flex’s resulted in serious “dislike” relationship with a pair of New Balances.
Mentally, I was just kind of over it.
But I didn’t want to be.
I wanted to want to run again.
So I went back to a pair of tried and true Brooks running shoes and hit the ground, well, running.
But then I got rumbled.
THE ACT OF BEING HUMBLED BY RUNNING.
It was freakin’ hard.
Like, really hard.
Like, I thought my lungs and my legs were going to explode.
There was no way I was going to make it the planned three miles.
Because three miles was nothing six months ago.
It was a jaunt that barely had me breaking a sweat.
Except now three miles was the death of me.
I felt completely inadequate.
I was never the greatest runner, but this was just sad.
I was mentally beating myself up way harder than any run had ever hurt me physically.
But then I did some reading and reflecting.
I kindly laughed at myself for thinking that just because I was active for the past six months, that I would somehow magically retain my running speed and endurance.
I realized that I had to start over.
As in, start from the very beginning.
I had to walk.
I wanted to get used to being on my feet again so I started walking for 40-60 minutes at a (quite leisurely) pace.
When I started running again, I went for short distances.
The goal was just to start running again-no time or distance goals.
I started slow.
It still hurt.
My lungs hurt.
My legs hurt.
My brain hurt.
But I was kind to myself.
I reminded myself that I have to take it slow so that I can build myself back up again.
The goal became to learn to listen to my breathing and run at a comfortable pace.
It’s currently about 3 1/2 minutes slower than my previous race pace.
But it’s ok.
I know that if I want to love running again, I have to learn to love the process that it takes to get there.
And I have to tell myself that it’s ok to go slow.
It’s ok to run slow.
As long as I’m able to do the things I want to do, it doesn’t really matter how fast I do them.
It’s a blessing to be able to do them at all.
I’m a work in progress.
In running and in life.
And for that I am rumbled.