I was exhausted! I had arch supports in some pretty heavy-duty high-cushion shoes. I’ve never worn arch supports and everybody knows I’m a lightweight junkie! My ipod (not usually necessary for motivation) was the only thing dragging my 200lb frame along. The rhythmic electronic beat was juxtaposed against my hurried heart rate. In spite of all this, a chill made it’s way up my spine. I could feel the past 6 months drifting away from me. All the pain, anxiety, doubt, regret, and anger over my situation all of a sudden didn’t exist.
The issues my endorphins were lifting from my mind arose from an accident I had last January. In a previous blog I detailed a rather brutal femoral fracture I sustained while snowboarding. Avoiding redundancy, I’d like to say that running over the past few years had become such a large part of my life, of who I was. I had planned to Boston qualify. I had planned so much of my time being tied into this passion of mine.
I definitely had break downs. The weekend of the race I wanted to Boston qualify I wanted nothing to do with anybody talking about the race. I lashed out at friends in fits of distress, missing my daily running meditation. I contemplated what the past 8 years of running had even amounted to.
Now back to that feeling I was describing. It occurred the third week I began running again. Two weeks of aggravation had past. Running one mile at a time three times per week? Busch League stuff! What was the point? Putting down a 9 minute mile when the last half marathon I ran before the accident I averaged 6:30 pace. That was torture! Something was different about this run, though. The day prior I had felt fit and recovered enough to run a 4 mile loop in the avenues. Furthermore, that day I felt good enough to do it again! I didn’t have my speed and distance monitor on so I had no idea how fast I was going. Furthermore, I had ran above the whole valley during sunset. I was zoned out to some music and I couldn’t cognitively explain why I was having so much fun! The best explanation I’ve come up with since is that after 5 months of waiting I was finally enjoying a workout. I wasn’t worried about splits. I wasn’t worried about building up to the elusive 26.2 again. I wasn’t worried about passing somebody else out having a great run. My competitive side gave into something I had forgotten about long ago: I run because I like it! I was daydreaming! I was a hunter-gatherer on a persistence hunt. I was Pheidippides running to Marathon. It didn’t matter what the image was, I existed in that moment as who I had lost: I was a runner again!
Sure, I had bad moments over the last 180 days. What I hadn’t focused on was the good times. A good coach slowing down to teach my uncoordinated self to flip turn in the pool. Laughing when I swallowed a mouth full of chlorine. Watching my friends reactions to how excited I was when I could kick my own butt with my heel again. People playing limbo with my crutches. What I found is who else I was outside of the sport. In the meantime, I had become a college graduate. I had free time to explore other passions. I didn’t consider my training and didn’t bore people by constantly chattering about it.
I’d say I grew from the trials. I mean how can you complain when your skeleton is essentially 1/8 like Wolverine from the X-men? My titanium leg is worth more than my car and that can’t be repossessed! Now my plans involve building up to a 10k. Of course I’d love to be training for a marathon and running the torturous 8x mile repeat workout, but that can wait! Plus, I hear they run the Boston Marathon every year.
My point is: don’t take anything for granted. Paraphrasing Haile Gebrselassie: You have good days and bad days. They can’t all be good.
Stop reading! Go run!