(I took this photo with my phone on a wet and rainy run yesterday morning)
This past Sunday, after an hour of yoga, in the midst of a run on the treadmill, I remembered once again why I like running. It was almost like I was reuniting with an old friend as I was on that treadmill, but it's a friend that hasn't always been a reliable companion in the past, so I don't have a lot of trust left in the relationship and am a little hesitant to jump back into it with full force.
Running is a fickle companion. Some of my highest highs and lowest lows have resulted from running, and some of my greatest life lessons. Crossing that marathon finish line with tears streaming down my face was one of the most empowering moments of my life. If I just accomplished this through the pain and tears, I can accomplish anything.
Tears of inspiration.
But those highs can be elusive at times, as injury strikes, and goals and hopes are diminished. The number of running injuries I've experienced exceeds what can be counted on one hand. The number of races I've signed up for and have had to cancel is a number higher than I would like to take the time to figure out. Training for my second marathon led to a stress fracture after I had made it up to eighteen miles in a training run. Recovering from that was a depressing season of life.
Tears of desperation.
And yet still, there are life lessons to be learned in the absence of running.
Despite the ups and downs, I always come back to running. Nothing compares to those highs, the sweat, the pride, and the sense of accomplishment that accompany it. I've tried other things, especially in those moments of injury when I feel like I am never going to run again or even when I am recently healed and I just don't want to get back into it because I feel like running has betrayed me.
Back to my moment on the treadmill this past Sunday. I started reconnecting with running in a way I haven't in awhile. The thing about running is that it takes time to love it. The more you run, the more likely you are to fall in love with it. It has to be routine, so I decided in that moment on the treadmill to start a new routine. I created a little health challenge for myself: running three miles each school day before work, for one month. Setting my alarm clock for 5:15 am and waking up to it is an accomplishment in itself for me. My old marathoning self might have scoffed at this challenge. Three miles, that's easy. And let's just say that my pace for three miles these days is slower than my pace was for 26.2.
But it's all about starting somewhere and doing something, one stride at a time. So far, I've run the past six days straight, waking up before school five days in a row to go on a run.
My legs are tired, but my soul is feeling refreshed.