Happy November, friends. I’ve been working my butt off these last few weeks of October, as I’ve not only continued with the Run, Selfie, Repeat 5k training plan, but also participated in the Potterhead Running Club’s all-out mileage extravangza, Quidditch. And now that November has come around, I’ve decided to set myself yet another challenge–I’m using the NaNoWriMo motivation to write 50,000 words of CNF this month.
But this blog post isn’t about the crazy writing and walking challenges I’ve set myself recently. It’s about running.
Or, as Kelly Roberts would say, maybe it’s about “life with a side of running.”
The past couple weeks of training have honestly felt amazing. That’s not to say there weren’t runs where I struggled or days I had to really talk myself into going out the door. Of course there were. But the thing about not being able to run for so long is that I really appreciate the opportunity to get out there now. Even though it’s getting colder in the mornings and even though I walked 15 miles on Sunday but had a Monday morning run scheduled, I’m still just grateful to be in a place where I’m able to run again.
Last week, I packed up my running clothes, shoes, and miscellaneous gear and took them with to spend the night at Andy’s house. Where in the past I might have taken a night away as an excuse not to run in the morning, I didn’t want to miss a single run that week. And when I told Andy my plans to run in the morning? He offered to come with me. We ended up having a great time exploring his new neighborhood and enjoying the Halloween decorations his neighbors put out.
The next run was a Saturday long run, which saw me crunching through the leaves of nearby Frick Park in my brand new mint running shoes. I felt like I was flying, having finally earned enough miles in the old shoes to justify buying new ones.
I used to always run with music on, since it seemed like I would only survive running if I had the most upbeat music possible going in my ears. But since I started following the guided runs on Run, Selfie, Repeat, I’ve spent a lot more time being forced to reflect on how I’m feeling and staying in the moment on the run.
It’s been an incredibly powerful experience, to sit with myself and feel how much joy fills my entire being at just having the chance to hit the pavement again. Even if I’m doing it in quite a few more layers than I’d like.
When the weather first got cool enough for a long sleeved shirt, I pulled out the Flying Pig 2019 Training shirt my mom got me for Christmas last year. I shrugged it on and felt both disappointed and determined. I wasn’t training for the 2019 Flying Pig Half anymore. That wasn’t my year. But if I take good care of myself, if I run strong but recover stronger, 2020 can be that year.
Kelly has spent years telling the story of how she hopes to make her impossible possible. And for me, now, that impossible goal is running the half marathon I thought I’d be running this year. So much has happened since I first signed up for the Flying Pig Half, more than I ever could have imagined. I never dreamed I’d spend 2019 doing physical therapy, or getting blood work and MRI scans, or learning to adapt to chronic pain that I’m still working with doctors to fully understand.
And yes, for a while those things made me feel like I was sitting deep down at the bottom of a dark hole. But I kept going. While the pain hasn’t fully gone away (and might never fully go away) I’ve learned how to manage, how to fight for the things I want to do in this life whether I’m having a good day or not.
My run this morning was difficult. Even though I stretched and took a bath after my 15 mile “capping” effort for the last full day of Quidditch, my legs felt like lead as I locked my front door and started down the sidewalk for my run.
And yet. I kept going. One foot in front of the other, tired as I was, as much as I wanted to just sit down already.
It’s the first day of Week 4 of the 8 Week “Run a 5K” training plan I’m following. Once it’s over, I’ll be only a few short weeks away from starting my second half-marathon training attempt in earnest.
Of course, if the coaching I’ve had in my ears these past few weeks has taught me anything, I shouldn’t be focusing on what’s coming in four weeks. I can only control this moment, right now. I can only put one foot in front of the other, can only train strong and carefully and listen to my body.
So Week 4, here we go. One run at a time.