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.
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?