I keep an ongoing note in my cellphone which tracks my runs. It traces more than the dates, times, and miles. Reading between the lines shows achievement, pride, and strength. It also bears witness to difficult days, or illness. And while I cannot pinpoint where or when it happened, I slowly lost my dedication to this journey.
My friends, the days of the three miler warmups are long gone. And is it just me, or is it hard to swallow pride and realize you aren’t where you once were? Can’t I go Dorothy on this running thing, click my heels, and voila- run a 10k for fun? Not because I must be a masochist? This ongoing list which once fulfilled a void began to claw its way into my ego, making me feel as though I failed myself. I scrolled back further, wallowing in my losses and I became transported to my past.
And then it happened. I was delivered to a place where the sun rose up and kissed the boardwalk as I ran my first mile. A place where I sat crying by myself not in sadness, but in awe. I cradled my knees against my chest as they moved rapidly up and down against the pressure of my breath. I listened to the deafening white noise of the ocean as it mixed with my inhalations and exhalations. Having grappled with chronic illness and its effects, I felt more alive in that moment than I had in years. I needed this.
Running was never easy for me. It was always a frustrating, exhilarating, endorphin releasing blessing. Being back to square one can only temporarily derail me. Plus, now I have a new note in my phone that says “5k Training: Times for One Mile.” I have given myself a goal, and it’s small, but it’s better than no goal at all. And yes, at my core I won’t lie and pretend I was not dispirited, but I’m less disappointed in myself now than when I felt like quitting altogether. Here I am, clocking in another one miler at 10:49.
Tomorrow I’m cracking 10:30.