some rambling about running

So the facts of life are that I just like to run.  No, I love to run.  Almost more than anything else.  (Ice cream is pretty high on the list…)  I love putting one foot in front of the other, the ground moving beneath my feet.  (I suppose it’s actually more like I’m moving above the ground, but work with me here, okay?)

Being out of running and any form of exercise for about six months due to my back problems made me realize how much I appreciate and missed running…and how much it means to me.  Running has come quite easily to me in the past few years, and often times I just go without thinking about it at all.  Foot fall rhythms even, breathing easy.  Solving the problems of the world in my head, or just thinking about this.

I’d be 100% lying if I said that running felt easy right now.  My “normal” pace used to be around 7:45…and now 8:15 feels a bit like I’m working.  8:45-9 minute miles are easy going, and it definitely feels like more of a shuffle to me.  Before my back injury, I felt so free when I ran, and now I just feel like some sort of stomping awkward gorilla on my runs…not exactly the best way to feel.

I can’t really pinpoint why I feel this way when I run…is it because I’m out of shape?  I’ve certainly lost cardiovascular fitness over the course of time because you use your back for just about everything, so I was nervous to do any sort of exercise.  My weight maybe has gone up a little bit, but it might only be noticeable to me…although my legs definitely look skinnier than they did when I was in eternal marathon training.  So long, muscle mass.

I know there is joy in the journey, and I am definitely trying to embrace it.  I love running and I love runners, and being out last weekend for the donation run reminded me of this.  I remember turning to Betsy and saying, “We should do this more often!”  Enter a puzzled look from her and me saying, “Run together more often!”

So I sent her an email earlier this week and asked if she wanted to run this weekend…which wasn’t really a question, but more of a…so when are we going to run this weekend?  I asked how far…so many questions.  Her response?  As follows:

I kinda want to do 9-10. Just running around. Whenever I’m over it, i guess. Just want to spend some nice time running. :)

My response:

Sounds perfect :)

After a bit of a late night hanging out with some Maryland friends, I rolled out of bed for an 8am run with Betsy.  We met in Central Park, halfway between our apartments.  We ran…on the bridle path, which always manages to tell my brain, “take it easy…” Must be something about the dirt path, who knows.  We ran where we wanted to, chatted it up about current life issues, and took it easy.  I forgot to restart my watch after we met up, and it was actually nice to not have my watch running.  I always say I won’t look at my watch, I’ll just keep the data for later…but we all know that’s not true.  I had no idea how long we ran for or how far we were going, but it was awesome to just be running.

I keep telling myself I’ll get back there…that running will feel easy again and I’ll have a solid marathon in me come spring time.  I remember this picture at the Boston Marathon this past year:

This whole running thing isn’t just about running a race, it’s about getting out there (almost) every day and doing what I love…hopefully for years upon years to come.  I’ve been lucky in that running has felt so easy for me for so many years, and I’m looking forward to getting back to that feeling soon…that feeling like I’m flying, like I can take on the world in my running shoes.

In the meantime, if anyone wants a running buddy without a watch, just give me a call.  (Slash email/comment/text/tweet…just keeping my options open.)

Let me live through you…who ran some marathons this weekend?  Who is in for Philly?

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  1. says

    I totally understand ALL of this.

    If you are ever out my way and want to run with an old lady, you know how to get in touch 😉

    It will come back. You will feel free again. I promise.

  2. says

    Run with me! I need a buddy to run with at night! It will come back. I felt like shit until the beginning of October after SF. I don’t know if it was the race or I was sick. When I did speedwork my mile repeat pace was slower than the pace I had ran in SF. Then one day it was better and better than before. Of course now I just killed myself on that dumb downhill race and haven;t run in a week so who knows where I am 😛 Anyways the point of the rambling is you will feel it again :)

  3. says

    I feel your pain–I was injured for 6 weeks during Chicago Marathon training and I managed to get to the race pain-free, but my pre-injury fitness has still not returned. I’m trying to be patient, and I’ve signed up for a couple of short races to see if I’ve made any progress toward getting it back, but it has definitely been slow going.

    If you’re around on Thanksgiving, come run the Prospect Park Turkey Trot with me! Or just come run in Brooklyn anytime. :)

  4. says

    I totally know how you feel! I’m returning from injury and finally decided to lose the watch and run by feel to avoid re-injury before Boston. The hardest parts are watching everyone fly by me on along the CP reservoir when I’m used to passing almost everyone out there and not being able to run with my former running buddies. I know slow and steady will get me to the start line this time, but it’s so hard to hold back!

  5. says

    I ran Fort Worth Marathon this morning, but honestly, it wasn’t the greatest race. Kind of a boring course, EXTREMELY windy, and then pouring rain for the final hour or so. You didn’t miss much with that one!

    Expect an email from me in the next day or so – I would LOVE your help next Saturday as I run the NYRR 60K and look for friends to run with me and help pace me! (And eat/drink all of Manhattan after.)

  6. says

    Yep, I get it too. I’ve had lots of injuries and a major surgery that took a ton out of me. You’ll get back to your old self but it just takes time getting back into the groove. You’ve run for so many years and it’s a part of who you are, just keep the faith! It’ll come back!

  7. says

    wish I was in NYC and could run with you! It will come back, that’s what i keep telling myself. Fake it till you make it. I’m constantly thinking about my ankle and still struggle with REALLY getting into a nice, easy, mindless run. Only happened once or twice in the past month.

  8. says

    Completely hear you. On ALL of this. I know it’s probably not super helpful but all I can say is: hang in there. It will come back. I promise. You will get those feelings of effortlessness again when you least expect it. The first run when I truly felt like myself I nearly cried (as cheesy as that sounds). And during the Manchester Marathon a couple of weeks ago, I spent the first hour cycling between giddiness and tears – that’s how happy I was to finally be back out there racing again. The time off is frustrating, but in the end, it makes everything better. Not being able to do the thing we love so much only gives you a greater appreciation for each mile you get to run. So just keep being patient with yourself. I’m a huge fan of running without your watch when you’re getting back into things – that was really the only thing that kept me going when I felt so slow and out of shape. I wish I lived in NYC so we could run together!

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