on not stealing from myself
Trade your expectation for appreciation, and the world changes instantly. ~Tony Robbins
Yesterday, I ran 10 miles. Ten. Whole. Miles! That’s the farthest I’ve run since my stress fracture diagnosis back in September.
It was warmish out at 6:50 in the morning as several hundred of us gathered at Remington Park. I fumbled my way out of my car, shoes and empty hydration bottle in hand, and trotted over to the parking lot to finish dressing for the training run. As I was sitting in the middle of all of these people, I was, once again, amazed at how few of them I knew these days. The sound of sleepy chatter, hugs, and garmin beeps provided the music for my feet as I took those first few steps. I felt good. Tired, but good. Within the first couple of minutes, another friend on the injury recovery train fell in line with me and we ran a few steps together before I broke off to do my thing. I love the social aspect of running, but I’m better on my own. I was happily in and out of my own head in that first mile as I’d catch and high-five friends or exchange the “nice work” cheers with friends not yet made. My legs were propelling me forward with ease and my heart and lungs were following suit. And then I turned left.
The hills…. I used to be so strong on the hills. They were my thing. Hills felt no harder to me than, say, running across my living room floor, so that left turn didn’t phase me until I was about halfway six steps into the first incline. Fuck. This. Hill. Just big, fat NO to it. Except that I’m too hardheaded for that and had to make that hill - and the twenty-seven that followed - a yes. Okay, so twenty-seven may be a slight exaggeration in actuality, but there were at least twenty-six. Or just six. Who knows, really? Anyway, I ran them. It was slow, my legs burned, and I was pretty sure that I was going to turn around and see my heart or a lung rolling down the hill behind me, but I kept going until the end because, well, I had wanted to.
After the run, I bumped into a friend of mine on the way to the water cooler and he asked how I was feeling. “You looked really, really strong out there,” he says. “Dude… that was a total shit show. What you saw was nothing but stubbornness, but thank you,” I replied. He quickly reminded me not to rob myself of the fact that I was out there running after such a long hiatus. That I was coming back and that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. That I shouldn’t steal the joy of putting one foot in front of the other from myself just because it’s not as effortless as it used to be. Now, the reality is that I truly was okay with it. I’ve been through an injury before, and I knew that the return to running was going to be a lot of work, but I also knew what he was getting at. He was getting at asteya.