Taking a break from something you love (especially when it is not by choice) is rough.
I had to take a break from running to physically heal my ankle after I sprained it 3 weeks before the Marine Corps Marathon last year. (It still makes me sad to type that sentence.)
What I didn’t expect was that I was going to need to extend this break, because I wasn’t ready to go through the mental workout required when one starts running again after not running for a period of months. That is hard, if not harder, than dealing with the sprained ankle.
I got perspective though, and it gave me a ton of appreciation for the process that our bodies go through to get back into the shape they were once in. I’m not there yet, but I am getting closer.
I’ve been running 5 days a week for almost 3 weeks now. I am starting to feel like myself again out on the trails. I am working with a coach, which has helped me TREMENDOUSLY. She’s come up with workouts tailored to me and where I am now. I work on speed twice a week, and have three days of easy running. Yesterday after a 2 mile warm up, she had me run 3 miles at half marathon pace. J said “That’s crazy. See how you feel after 1 mile.” I was worried during our 2 mile warm up run to the high school track. When I got on the track, I still wasn’t sure I’d be able to do it. Then the miles started ticking by – 1 mile down, then 2 and then a third mile. I ran them all under what I was working towards. It was tough, and I wouldn’t have wanted to run another mile at that pace, but I did it. I felt like I had conquered a mountain of doubt and fear. I felt like old running me wasn’t so far away. I could see her, and I was catching up to her.
Tomorrow I’ll go on my long run. These long runs (though we’ve kept it under the 10 mile mark so far) have taken on new meaning for me. They are my time to be out on the trails – they’ve been these blissful hours where I just clear my head.
So once again, I’m looking forward to what this year will bring. Once again, I got into the Marine Corps Marathon lottery. Once again, I will train for it. Unlike last year, this year I know I will run it.