When I was writing my recap for the 10K race, I started to go down a pretty negative path, and rather than sully the race experience - which was mostly fun - I decided to save the negative talk for today - aren't you lucky?!? LOL. Really, it's not all bad. But it's real, and as this blog is all about my journey (to fit!), I thought I'd share what has been a rocky road (and not the delicious kind) with my getting back to running.
I started this training program with the goal of just getting to the point of running again, which I accomplished, so that was huge for me. But the hard thing was that while I had mostly good runs, I always felt a little behind, because not only had I already done this once before (back in 2010), I had done it better (And my gosh, I've lived in Texas too long because that sentence structure just flowed out of my mind, bad grammar and all. Next thing you know, I'll be fixin' to run. I need a California visit, stat!). Logically, I know it was dumb to feel that way - after all, I'm a couple years older, less fit, AND coming back from an injury. But logic and my brain don't always coexist peacefully. So I battled many long runs in my mind, with being the slowest person out there. It's not like my running club is competitive - that is the antithesis of what we are - but in my head, I was competing against the RunnerShelley Version 1.0. This new me, RunnerShelley Version 2.0, is not the same, and it was hard to accept that, week after week. Every time that I ran a bit longer, or ran a new distance, while I was still happy about that (and being able to run, period), deep down, I was full of doubts because I just wasn't where I used to be. DUMB, I know. Try knowing that and still feeling it. Oh, it's fun to be me.
I had good runs and not-so-good runs. The longest I've run without stopping is 4 miles. Which is really, really good! I think part of why this ended up being so hard for me was that every week we increased our long run distance - there was never a chance to "just" run the same distance again...we were always doing more. I am discovering that for me and my comfort level/mental health, I need to be able to say "oh, we're just running four miles? I can do that" - it's like I need instant replay (well, a week later instant replay). Instead, I found myself thinking "oh crap, now we've got to run XX miles..." - it was ALWAYS more, and always a challenge. We all know that running is hard enough to do on the physical level, but for me, it was turning into a huge thing, mentally.
I am relieved that the 10K is over and done with. I am relieved that for the next three weekends, we "only" have 5K races on the schedule. I am really looking forward to them - they are all in town, on relatively flat courses, and I know that I can run 3.1 miles. I like doing 5K races - this is what got me hooked on running two years ago. And after the last few weeks, running a 5K sounds so easy! Don't get me wrong - I know it will still be a challenge to me, but a much more doable challenge. Most of all, though, I'm relieved that I CAN run again. I honestly wondered if it was ever going to happen...a year is a long time to not run. But I am a runner, and I will continue to run, and most of all, enjoy it.