I have a confession: since my injury, I avoided reading all of my Runner’s World magazines. I didn’t feel like a runner, and I sure as hell didn’t want to read about happy running, faster running, running shoes, and really, anything running related. I was bitter.
Since I have started to feel better and I am slowly adding cardio back into my life, I decided to pick up February’s magazine. I found a short article about surviving a break from the sport you love and coming back happier. I could resonate with every word she said (tried to find it online but can’t). She talked about being able to work through previous injuries and still do something while injured and how this one was really hard and different. She couldn’t run or do anything for months. Her clothes were too big because she’d lost weight and muscle. And then, when she could finally run, she came back happier. Her last paragraph really hit home.
So when I finally was cleared by my doctors to run again, it felt different. I found myself leaving my watch at home, slowing down whenever I wanted to, and sprinting just because. Running felt less like something to check off my tod-do list, and more like a privilege.
I was 100% the runner that sometimes forced a run because I had to hit X amount of miles for the week, or HAD to get that speed workout in even if I felt like crap that day, and NEEDED to see X:XX pace on my Garmin, etc. etc.
This past week at PT made me appreciate the article even more. I saw a girl come in with an Atlanta Track Club Competitive Team shirt on (aka I’m a fast bad ass). We started talking and I quickly realized recognized her name. We are in the same age group and she is always at the top. She wins races, not just placing in my AG. She’s fast.
However, within a few minutes, I realized her attitude SUCKED. I have never heard more “I can’t” and “No” in my life. I was disgusted. As an elite athlete, you should know the power of the mind and working hard and pushing through. I’m no elite, but my attitude far outshines this girls. I don’t know if I have ever said those words in PT. Her injury (in my opinion) wasn’t nearly as bad as others in the room, yet she had the worst attitude and perspective. I’m now assuming that her talent is God-given and has nothing to do with hard work.
Both the article and the elite runner made me appreciate so many things. The PT episode made me realize I will not be defeated. I will not let a bad attitude get in my way and I will work hard to get what I want. I will also do my best to not be negative-she was a name I looked up to, and now when I see it, it will have a negative connotation.
The article made me reflect on how I want to be in the future and where I am right now. Honestly, when I could get on the elliptical for those short 10 minutes, I was THANKFUL. I have my legs, I have my health (for the most part), I can walk. Life could always be worse (see many things in the news today and have a reality check).
Running shouldn’t always be about how many PRs we can set and how many miles we ran that week. It shouldn’t feel like something we have to check off the to-do list. It’s most definitely not always going to go the way we want it to and it’s not always going to be perfect. It should, however, be recognized as a privilege. Will I never push for another PR or a hard workout? Of course I will! I already have goals running through my mind for when I can run again, but that doesn’t mean I won’t stop to smell the roses. If it’s pretty out, I may stop mid run and just take it all in. I will definitely take more days without my Garmin. I will run for fun and not for time. I will run with friends, fast and slow. I will appreciate the gift I have been given, to run.
How often do you stop and really take in your run?