I’ve had an epiphany of sorts.
About 4 months ago, I joined a FB running group. A lot of the runners in this group train regularly for a variety of races. Yesterday, there was a big race in another city. A lot of the women I follow were running their first, or third, marathons. It was incredible watching them train and then follow their progress on sportstats.
All day long though, I wanted to go for a run. The weather was perfect. We spent a great morning at the park with the kids, flying a kite. There’s a skateboard park as well and daughter insisted on riding her bike up and down the ramps. Later in the afternoon, everyone was tired and hot, so we hunkered down in the basement and watched Monsters University.
I couldn’t get the thought of going for a run out of my head. Seriously. It was like a compulsion. I knew I shouldn’t go, the left posterior shin was aching a bit after the walk to and from the park and it’s not like it hurt, I could just feel it, you know? Anyway, I put on my running gear while the kids were brushing their teeth. I told them a make-up story (Indiana Jones finds a fancy necklace and magical ring). Once they were tucked in by mommy, their dad went in for a final good night kiss (and probably a better make-up story).
I set up my phone and MapMyRun – I decided it was time to get back to basics. I set the coaching to 3:1 (run/walk) intervals and I turned off the notifications of how far I’ve gone and how fast. As I started running, I kept the pace slow and comfortable. The intervals came fast and during the walk breaks I took time to stretch out my calves and shins. I decided to take the off-road route and headed to the local trail. While on the trail, I took in the scenery and realized something.
I’d lost focus along the way these past 4 months. For some reason, I had become obsessed with increasing my distance and getting faster. I was sabotaging myself and didn’t even realize it. Before I got pregnant at the beginning of 2013, I hadn’t had any injuries and was running close to 10km. For the past 4 months, I’ve been plagued by one injury after another. Somewhere along the way, I forgot why I started running.
I love the journey that running takes me on. I love the impact on my fitness, on my endurance, on my physical and mental health. It’s the easiest form of exercise for me, takes minimal time out of my busy life and doesn’t cost very much. It got me into the best shape of my life and the pounds melted away until I got pregnant. My goal isn’t to train for a race, it’s not to win a race or to compete against anyone. My goal is to have fun, stay fit, feel good and look good. Yes, there’s a bit of vanity here. Running helps me lose the pregnancy weight, I won’t lie. I can still eat what I want and don’t have to go on crazy diets to get back in shape. Running is important to me and I have been causing my injuries by going too fast, too soon, trying to keep up with .. with who?
So, from now on, I am running because I want to. I won’t care how far I go or how fast I am. All of that will come with time. If one run is only 3km, that’s okay. If the next is 6km, that’s okay too. So long as I am having fun and enjoying it, I will keep going.
I am just going to run because I love it.