Have you ever stopped doing something and then tried to pick it back up again? Only to realize it's much harder than you anticipated to just jump in. Welcome to my life the past few weeks...or months.

Back in May, I wrote about how I had decided to take a break from running. 5 months went by a lot faster than I had anticipated and I find myself still wavering. Argh, running, you play games with my heart.

I waver because I hate feeling defeated, not because I don't enjoy a good run.

I started running again back in June, maybe once a week when the weather wasn't too hot. (So saying we completely separated would be a lie, I still tinkered around on the trails a bit.) It wasn't a regular schedule, pretty hit and miss actually. Completely depended on the day, and let's be honest, my mood. Feeling lazy? No run that day.
I had decided that I wanted to keep my mileage around 6 on any given day, so I would run 6 miles and feel good for a while. Never overdoing it, never pushing the limits. Sometimes it would be slow, sometimes fast, but just getting it in made me feel like I didn't have to start from scratch when I returned to running regularly. I remember those days all too well, and this girl is way too prideful to go through that again (or so I thought.)

It feels like I'm turning by back on my first love by saying this, but my body responded the way I had anticipated - it felt better. Way better.
I suppose that it is easy to overlook the effects that constant pounding can have on your knees, hips, shins, feet, and all of those other body parts and muscles that we like to ignore when the runner's high is triggered. The difference was noticeable (and not just in my butt!). My knees felt incredible, no more having to stretch them daily or constant tightness from sitting too long. No more aching at random times. Although it took me a while to come to grips with the fact that just maybe my body was telling me it needed a break, I can't say it was a bad decision that I finally surrendered to the obvious.

It's now 5 months later, and although I just finished telling you that my body has felt better, I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel the urge to hit the pavement again. For a while, I didn't miss it at all. It was almost freeing to not run. I enjoyed discovering new workouts!
Alas, the itch returned.
That itch has led to more consistency in running over the past few weeks. However, I quickly found that even though I had attempted to 'maintain,' it hasn't guaranteed an easy return. Having not run on a regular basis in months, I've had many runs that have left me feeling defeated and frustrated. Then, others that I never wanted to end because it felt so refreshing and energizing (more the former than the later). Thus, my love/hate relationship with running. If you've ever ran, this strange dichotomy may be all too familiar to you.

But I continue.

When you mix race season with beautiful and perfect Fall weather, it's a recipe for temptation.
However, for the first time in a long time, I'm attempting to put all pride aside and just play it by ear. Listen to my body, if you will. No set training schedule, no plans to run a certain amount per week. If I've learned anything from this little separation, it's that I need to care for my body, if that means running or if it doesn't.
Of course, I'm *hoping* that I can find a happy medium since I so, so miss those runs on a perfectly chilly Fall morning. (and I need a fast way to burn some calories from all of the cider and donuts in my future!!)


Have you given up running for a short time? How was it for you to 'get back in the saddle'?





10 Comments

  1. I've never been a runner and don't think it will ever be in my future thanks to our shower door which feel and crunched my foot a few years back. I'm always amazed at those who do run. I suppose I have a bit of ADD. I need a work out that is a mix of stuff. :)

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    1. I just cringed reading that your foot got crushed! Argh!
      Just do hills and trails, and trust me (from one ADD person to another) - there is a good mix of things to keep you occupied ;)

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  2. I've had to give up running with pregnancy (only because of pelvic ligament pain - darn pregnancy hormones that stretch everything out... otherwise I would still be trying to do a little at least!) and it's been hard most of the time, but I've had some of the back and forth emotions about it that you describe. I will say I'm nervous about how it will be getting back into things after - I really want to get back to where I was and am afraid I'm going to get frustrated! But I've been learning about listening to my body and relaxing my expectations/finding happy mediums too in the meantime - good lessons for us ;)

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    1. I think frustration is a given at some point, since running is such a mental game. Did you get a running stroller? I've heard that starting with the stroller doing walking and running mixes is a really good way to ease back into it without feeling totally defeated off the bat. Just a matter of time, you'll be right back where you were!

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  3. I can totally relate - I love the endorphins, the exploration and peace you get from running, but it can also be hella hard on your body. It's such a temptation where you live too :) I have fond memories of running through the Arb.

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    1. Oh, I love the Arb!! After work, it's the perfect place to get a run in and relax :)

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  4. I'm on the opposite side. I'm someone that never enjoyed running (how can you just keeping going and going and going?!), and I'm trying to get into it. This weekend I'm running my first race ever with my hubby - a 10K! I'm terrified, excited and anxious to see how I preform. I hope that I find a new love for it, because once I do get passed the first mile, things do get better and I'm not hating it AS much. ;)

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    1. How exciting that you are doing your first 10K! Races are so much fun because everyone encourages one another, I hope you have a great time!! Don't pay attention to your time, just enjoy the race, fans and being part of something fun.
      (By the way, first mile is always the worst, you aren't alone in that one!)

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  5. I ran a marathon back in May. With a broken toe. Not my most brilliant idea. I haven't jumped in that saddle again since, with the exception of a few short runs. I totally understand the love/hate relationship. Some runs would just be GREAT and others, perhaps not even as long, were horrible! I never really could figure out the key, even after five months of training. A marathon had always been on my bucket list and as horrible as the experience was, I can't deny that I MIGHT consider, kind of, perhaps running another on someday;)

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    1. Yikes!! I thought I had a broke toe after my marathon!
      I'm in the same boat, as hard as it was, I would LOVE to do a marathon again. Perhaps we should start training ;)

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