I couldn’t fall asleep last night. First, I couldn’t fall asleep because I was so excited to be meeting my friends at the track at 5:45 in the morning. It was like Christmas Eve! Next, I couldn’t fall asleep because Emily woke me up. Sigh. After that, I couldn’t fall asleep because I was afraid I wouldn’t wake up in the morning for lack of sleep.
But I did get up, and right on time! I was pumped to go for a run, see how my foot felt, and meet up with my awesome friends, Amy & Chrissy.
When we arrived, the sun was already just starting to peek over the horizon, which was awesome yet a little weird because I haven’t been out on a morning run since the days when it was still dark at that hour. Watching the sun come up on my first day back was icing on the cake, big time. According to the weather forecast, there had been a chance we’d have to bail due to rain, yet temperature was perfect and the sky was gorgeous – and I felt like God was smiling down on us.
I wish I wouldn’t have been too dumb to take a picture of the day’s
first sun rays through the clouds so I could add it HERE!
My friends were doing speedwork, so we did a mile warm up together. I felt like I started sweating by the time I was on about my third step, and I was sucking wind big time. However, it was NOT as difficult as I expected. I am proud to report that my first, post-Alice mile was completed in under 10 minutes. And I’m thrilled to say that my foot doesn’t hurt at all! I had been terrified that I’d wear Alice for three weeks and something would still be wrong with my foot. But it feels GREAT.
In all, I ran somewhere between three and four miles, but not consecutively. I was hot, tired, and absolutely drenched in sweat – an oh-so happy.
The joy I experienced during my run – and after when I realized that I was pain-free – is making it easier to deal with the fact that the Pittsburgh Marathon is this Sunday, and I officially won’t be there.
I sold my bib to a guy from WV who just set a goal to run two half marathons in one month. From our brief Facebook exchanges, it sounds like he has a story similar to mine: Just started running within the last couple of years, lost a bunch of weight, setting stretch goals, etc. I’m happy about that – that my bib won’t go to waste (and I’m at least getting some of my money back!) and it’s going to someone with a good story. And even though I’m “over it” on one level, I’m bummed that I have to wait at least a year to be a “Runner of Steel.”
But bummed is fleeting. Bummed I can get over because I learned something during this three-week, forced hiatus, and it really hit me this morning. I am more grateful for running today than I was a month or two ago. I had gotten to the point where I was taking it for granted. Although I was running fairly consistently, I just wasn’t truly committed to it. And I wasn’t really enjoying it, either. On one hand, I was setting semi-ambitious goals for myself. On the other hand, I was just going through the motions, just doing enough to get by in my training. As a result, if I hadn’t gotten hurt when I did, I bet I would have ended up with a more severe injury in the long run by trying to cram in too much, too quickly.
So I’m moving on. I’m making plans for the races I have coming up over the next few months. And I am going to stick to my training plans – unless for some reason I can’t. If something hurts, I’m going to rest. If I get sick, I’ll cut myself some slack. If I’m genuinely sleep deprived, I’ll take a day off. Then I’ll re-chart my plans accordingly, without trying to catch up, by objectively accepting wherever I am.
And more than anything, I am going to experience and fully appreciate the many joys of running – from seeing my friends, to the beat of my feet across the ground, to the feelings of accomplishment for the hard work and the improvements that come with it – to the lack of bicycle grease. (Although I do think I’ll take that bike out for a spin from time to time, too.) I was afraid I’d feel frustrated by the setback in my fitness after three weeks off, but I’m actually really looking forward to rebuilding my strength and endurance again – because I get to run.
P.S. Weird Alice side-effect: Even beyond being unable to run, my biggest complaint about Alice was that I was supposed to wear her all the time. So many days, I just wanted to kick my shoes off at the end of the day. However, when I tried to walk around barefoot this morning, it felt weird. So I’ve been wearing my old pair of running shoes all day!
*According to Merriam-Webster online, a memento is “something that serves to warn or remind” [emphasis mine].