2 years ago: a running history
Day 22 of the 30 day challenge is to discuss how you have changed in the past 2 years. Two years ago I was 28 (sigh…), I had a fully functioning left finger, and I was training for my first marathon. My how times have changed. Mentally I have changed a lot in the last 2 years and most people who know me would say for the better. (Right Keith?) Perspective is a bitch sometimes and boy did perspective kick my ass. I have grown up a lot. A lot. Two years ago I was running my life into the ground. Quite literally.
2 years ago the single most important thing in my life was running. Everything (and I mean everything) else took a backseat. My friendships suffered because I didn’t want to go out on Friday nights because I had a long run on Saturday mornings and Saturday night I was often too tired to want to go out. My relationship suffered with Keith for the same reason. Keith has often said that me training for a marathon was just as demanding (time-wise) on him. All plans revolved around my training schedule. I was too rigid and flexibility was not a word in my vocabulary. Beer and Pizza on a Friday night? NO WAY! I had a long run in the morning. Dinner out with friends on Saturday night? NO WAY! I would fall asleep in my soup bowl. I was running a lot and not eating nearly enough. This lead to major energy lapses. As in…I had no energy. All energy was reserved for my run and then I was quite literally tanked. Social activities suffered too. Want to go water skiing, hiking, mountain biking? Nope…too dangerous. I might sprain an ankle or hurt myself and then I won’t be able to run. I was boring with a capital B! Most of my friends just gave up and stopped calling me. I was a woman on a mission and I no time for anything or anyone else. As sad as this sounds had Keith put his foot down and said it was running or him…I am not sure which way that would have gone. 😦
I ran my marathon but the obsession didn’t stop. It only grew. I started running upwards of 60-65 miles a week. I think everyone thought that after the marathon I would settle down but I didn’t. I trained harder, got faster. In fact in one year I went from running a 1:52.08 half marathon to a 1:31.56. In. one. year. I was determined. I qualified for the NYC Marathon (based on that half marathon time) and I didn’t stop. No breaks. No days off. Nothing. Then (surprise surprise) I developed a bursa sac in my left knee. An injury that required rehab and still plagues me to this day. An injury that made running the NYC Marathon impossible. An injury that sidelined me to the pool and the elliptical. An injury that broke my spirit. Then just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse I cut my finger and that sealed the deal. My running days came to a screaming halt. I was devastated.
But today almost 2 years since that first marathon I can honestly say I am better. Keith and I have more fun. We go out, we try new things, we live life. I am flexible. I take breaks. I run when I want to and do something else when I don’t feel like it. See, what I slowly learned was that at first those feelings of devastation and heartbreak eventually gave way to relief. Relief that I didn’t have to get up and push my body to extreme limits. Relief that I didn’t have to PR at my next race. Relief that I could go out on a Friday night until whatever time I wanted and not have to freak out about a run in the morning. And then that relief turned to hatred. I HATED to run. It wasn’t enjoyable anymore. It wasn’t fun. It felt like punishment. I wasn’t going back there…ever.
And now I run when I feel like it. I might run everyday 1 week and then not again for another 3 weeks. Don’t get me wrong I still exercise. I lift weights, I go to bootcamp, I do kettlebells and TRX. I do whatever exercise I want when I want to. Do I miss running now? Yeah…it creeps up now and then and I remember the kind of shape I was in and marvel at what I had accomplished. But at what price. I wouldn’t give up the life I have now to be that runner again. One day I hope to find balance (currently the knee isn’t able to handle more than 5 miles at a time) and one of these days I might run the NYC Marathon but if I don’t then that is okay too.