I’ll start with a little background, or a mini-history lesson because that sounds more interesting doesn’t it?
I never, ever considered myself someone who would be able to run, to me runners were these superhuman mythical creatures and although I had aspirations, the reality was that to me, running wasn’t going to come with ease. I started slowly, I guess most good things in life start slowly, think about the hare and tortoise. Gradually, over the years I built up to running half marathons, obstacle races and even claiming to enjoy running – Go me.
As my life evolved, so did my emotions towards running, I was going through the motions and running only to keep a base level of fitness, whilst secretly wishing that it was time to go home. In life, there are moments when we have to accept that if it’s forced, maybe it’s not the right fit. I won’t force friendships, myself into a size 8 dress or square peg into a round hole, so why was I so keen to force running? Because frankly, I’m not good at letting go at something I’ve worked hard for.
After my surgery in November last year, I knew that it was going to be at the very least 3 months before I could re-start running and I was excited about the break. Plus, I had a viable excuse to put my overworked mind at ease (about the only part of me that is overworked is my mind). Gradually, the feeling of wanting to run started to creep back in, I was curious if this was a result of “Fear Of Missing Out“ or if I genuinely wanted to go for a run. So, brace yourself, I went for a run on the treadmill. I managed a mile, stopping and starting, almost like a toddler learning to walk to for the first time. The following day I ran again, over a couple of weeks I was back to running 5km and actually, shock horror, my time wasn’t as bad as I expected and the overall experience wasn’t absolutely hideous.
I listened to my body…
I made the choice that I was only going to run if it felt right mentally and physically if my body ached, I wouldn’t force myself to go out for a run I had previously. This time around, I am going to treat myself with love and respect, because you get out what you put in.
I don’t apologize for my pace (mostly…)
Why should I have to justify myself? The old me was constantly aware of pace, there were times when I’d avoid uploading my time and distance on Instagram because I’d give the opinion of other runners such high value. Those feelings are unwelcome and intrusive and I’m working hard to make sure that other runners don’t impact how I feel about running.
Running is “Me” time…
And, as a matter of fact, it’s social time too!
Historically, running was the ideal way for me to clear my head and refocus on what was important to me on that day, no matter how small that might have been. It was also a way to catch up with people, enjoying just covering the miles and talking about life, it was one of my little pleasures. I won’t deny the fact that I’m currently finding running and talking tough. Of course, these things take time and I can’t hide that my first few social runs filled me with dread, but quickly I remembered, it was social and not competitive.
My sports bra is so darn important…
In 2012-14 I used to go running in an actual bra, or a crappy little crop top. Yes, you read that correctly. This time around, I’m paying more attention to my sports bra than the time on my watch, I want my feet to bounce along the pavement, not my boobs.
Running is a blessing…
When I was recovering from my surgery, my world quickly became very small, I was given the chance to consider how I think about things I take for granted. For example, I have the freedom of unrestricted movement, I have legs that move, lungs that fill with air, trainers on my feet and a watch on my wrist. Simple things, yet every so often we need to put things into perspective and focus on our good friend gratitude.
Have you ever taken a running break? How did you feel about your return?