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2 years ago: a running history

May 10, 2011

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.

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34 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2011 7:56 am

    I am so happy you found balance and relief. I know and understand the kind of pressure we put on our body. I’m glad you found a way to release yourself Of that pressure even if it was In an unfortunate way. The world works in mysterious ways sometimes!

  2. May 10, 2011 8:14 am

    Kelly what an amazing post! I really can relate to a lot of what you are saying even after I stopped training for races for a while but I was so addicted to my workout routine that I had to get it in at all costs. My husband felt similarly to Keith.

    Nowadays I am only choosing races that allow me to maintain a balance. Although I would love to compete in another triathlon I know that I can’t maintain a balance with a tri schedule at present. Just the way it is and I am okay with that.

    It sounds like your injuries were blessings in disguise in a way, as you have clearly found a much healthier balance. Thanks so much for sharing. I think you have offered a wake up call to anyone who is struggling to find balance with athletic goals and the rest of their life.

    • May 10, 2011 9:04 am

      It was a hard lesson to learn but I doubt I would have learned it any other way!

  3. May 10, 2011 8:58 am

    Im glad you found a balance Kelly. I think realizing that it doesnt have to be all or nothing can be the hardest part.

  4. May 10, 2011 9:19 am

    I love this post! I think it’s so important to remember to have balance, one of the things I hate most about training for races is having to sacrifice time and nights out with my friends. You’re only young once, and i hate having to miss out on that.

  5. May 10, 2011 9:32 am

    Wow I didn’t know you don’t run everyday like you used to. You really changed a lot in a short period! Glad you found balance and happiness for you. I can relate to the discipline in your social calendar, but mine is a fear of doing something unhealthy, like drinking or not getting enough sleep or missing a meal. I feel like something bad will happen if I don’t follow the lifestyle rules.

    • May 10, 2011 10:29 am

      But that is the beauty, Marci, NOTHING and I emphasize NOTHING is going to happen to you if you don’t follow those lifestyle rules. Because those lifestyle rules are self imposed. There are NO such thing as lifestyle rules. They are made up by you. Doing something unhealthy every so often is actually MORE healthy then always being “perfect”. So doing something unhealthy every once in a while is actually healthy.

  6. May 10, 2011 9:39 am

    Kelly sounds like you have much better balance when it comes to exercise and life in general!

  7. Jen permalink
    May 10, 2011 10:29 am

    I’m so glad you’ve found a sense of peace. I know you don’t feel that peace everyday but I bet it envelopes you from time to time. My story is so similar to yours and I too am learning to find peace. It’s hard when you defined yourself as “a runner” for so long, right? I know I’ve had to redefine myself over the past year. I hope you continue the healing process and I think a lot of women could learn from your experiences. You are very wise for your years…

    • May 10, 2011 10:31 am

      Thanks Jen. Are you’re right I don’t feel at peace with it every single day. Sometimes I truly stuggle with it but other days I am completely happy. As a whole I think I am happier overall now but it is a process and learning to love and accept yourself is something that I think I will work on every day for the rest of my life. It is my personality to always want to get better, be better, try harder…but I am learning that just being where I am in the moment is okay too.

  8. May 10, 2011 10:51 am

    I went through a similar situation when I became a Jazzercise instructor. I would go to 2-3 classes a day and then teach my own and when I got home, I would spend the night learning new routines. That went on for a few months and my bf would always say that I spent too much time on it. I didn’t listen, of course, and told him that I had to do it. After being an instructor for awhile, I realized I didn’t have to do it. The students don’t care if you repeat a song two days in a row or if you do the same weight routine you did last week. I put so much pressure on myself, but now I realize that I am a good instructor and don’t need to worry so much about impressing my students. 🙂

  9. May 10, 2011 10:52 am

    WOW!! What a beautifully written and amazing post. Thank you for sharing Kelly. I really relate to your story – and the beauty behind injury. Its amazing how much experiences like that can teach us about our own lives and how to find balance. This was a wonderful read – cant even thank you enough for putting it out there for all of us!

    Beautiful blog – looking forward to reading more!

    Thanks again!

    Caroline

    My injury discovery…. http://thecarolineinthecity.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/weekly-update-51-the-secret-to-sprinting/

  10. Paula permalink
    May 10, 2011 11:18 am

    Wow Kelly…You are a brave girl! Something quite similar happened to me in the past; trained too much, had no other life and then my body said no thanks. It’s hard! I am not as fit as then and it feels bad sometimes. Still life is better now. Happy that you are happier too.

  11. May 10, 2011 11:45 am

    Beautifully written! So proud of you and where you’ve come in the last 2 years.

  12. May 10, 2011 1:09 pm

    Wow Kelly~I am so amazed at how much you’ve progressed in your walk of life! Amazing how sometimes, things happen so painfully and suddenly only so that “hopefully” more beauty comes out of those experiences. Some people just aren’t willing to learn, but you are–and that’s so good to see. 😀 have a beautiful day girl

  13. May 10, 2011 3:18 pm

    I sure as hell know I can relate to you. (and damn… you’re half marathon time decreased big time! Woah.)

    I used to run every day, for at least an hour. And then I started getting into Crossfit and realizing that if I wanted to lose fat- and reshape my body, it wasn’t going to be through heavy cardio- only heavy lifting.

    I’m now a convert for KB’s, weight lifting, boot camps and HAVING FUN. We don’t have to be a slave to exercise… 🙂

  14. May 10, 2011 3:39 pm

    Wow, I had to grab a tissue. I have only known you for 5 years, but what a ride it’s been. This post, this blog…well…just YOU, are beautiful. Everyone meets for a reason, everything happens for a reason. We just have to learn to reach out and then give in…and keep living. Love you girl!!

    • May 10, 2011 3:50 pm

      Ah Bex…we have been through it all! 🙂 You’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Thanks for always sticking around and seeing beyond the surface!

  15. May 10, 2011 4:46 pm

    Everytime I read a post like this by you, you inspire me more. Everytime I don’t think its possible to b more inspired.

  16. Hilary permalink
    May 10, 2011 6:03 pm

    Amazing how life can change in just two years..how priorities can change. Sometimes life itself has to give you a little push (or force you off the trail altogether : ) ) to help you see what’s really important. Proud of you Kel!

    • May 10, 2011 6:11 pm

      Thanks Hilary…and here’s to having babies that are best friends!!!

  17. May 10, 2011 7:36 pm

    I remember being in awe with your daily workouts! But I can see how they can take a toll… finding a good balance is so important!

  18. May 10, 2011 8:42 pm

    So Keira and Orlando won’t be in this one b/c their story got resolved in the 3rd one. Did you see the clip that was after the trailer? His curse ended b/c she was his true love so after 10 years on that ship he was able to come back and she had been waiting w/ their son. So it’s just Johnny Depp – another reason I’m not as excited b/c I loved Orlando and Keira. But Allison and I are committed to seeing this to the end – ha.

  19. Amanda permalink
    May 10, 2011 9:53 pm

    So proud of you!!!

  20. May 11, 2011 12:28 am

    Amazing post, girl! I feel like I can feel the happiness and…strength…radiating from you in a way that maybe wasn’t there before.

    • May 11, 2011 7:32 am

      Thanks Anna! I feel like there was a certain level of fakeness to my last blog. (Is that a word??) I tried to make it seem like I loved every single step every single time and that just wasn’t so.

  21. May 11, 2011 6:11 am

    I’m still waiting for you to write a book. You amaze me with your strength Kelly. And to see how God has used to encourage others is even more amazing!

  22. May 11, 2011 3:40 pm

    Wow Kelly! What a touching post. I can relate though..on some level- with the overexercising.
    It’s just all of this mental stuff- it’s crazy how one thing can totally control your life..and I think what’s worse is that WE know what it’s doing..but choose to do it anyway.
    I’m so glad that you have come so far in two years. Honestly I can totally tell thru your blog..as cheesy as that may sound..you really DO seem to be enjoying life more. Seriously! 🙂 I’m so happy for you!!! xoxo
    PS: I’ve heard of a bursa sac injury..and I’ve always heard that they are awful 😦 Yikes! I hope the knee doesn’t give you TOO much pain.

  23. May 11, 2011 8:30 pm

    Great post, Kelly.

  24. May 12, 2011 8:19 am

    This is exactly how I feel about running. I put so much emphasis into it and tore my body apart. I’m much happier now living life and doing what I want in regards to fitness. Running isn’t the only way to stay fit. Great post!

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