I haven’t posted in this space very often this year. I haven’t known what to say about running because I’m not really sure how I feel about running. Some days it is OK. Some days it is awful. It is never awesome, and that sucks, but I’m still trying.
It has been a difficult two years as far as running is concerned. The pandemic messed up all my routines and I haven’t been able to get back to my old ways (turns out, when you have social anxiety and there is a global pandemic and you never leave the house because of that global pandemic, your social anxiety gets way, way worse — or at least that is my experience). I still haven’t found the sweet spot ergonomically for my work-from-home setup which has caused some issues with my hips and my IT band which makes running a pain in the ass (sometimes literally, everything on my left side hurts sometimes). Since running hurts sometimes, motivation to do anything to fix it is hard to come by (it seems the pain I feel running would be enough to motivate me to do the other stuff, but my brain doesn’t work that way, unfortunately).
There have been a few moments recently where I felt like I was turning a corner. The back-to-back Wednesday night Back Cove 5Ks that reminded me of why I like to race, where I pushed myself to the point where I thought I needed to quit, but was able to overpower that voice in my head and keep going.
There have also been more frequents moments where I felt like running will never feel good again. When a 25 minute jog through the cemetery left me sucking wind and trying not to limp. When I had to work five or six times during my first attempt at the 5K Back Cove race (I’ve done four, so far, the first one was on the hottest day of the year and I was feeling terrible — I should have skipped it).
I am not giving up. That is the most important thing to note here. I’ve had too many good times, made too many impactful changes to my life because I am a runner. Despite how the last two years have gone, running has been the one physical activity I’ve been able to stick with as an adult. I went back to playing baseball in my early 30s, but people took it way too seriously and/or couldn’t be bother to show up on game day. I played a lot of pick up basketball in my late 20s and early 30s, but it isn’t easy to find a game on my schedule (working evening/nights makes everything harder) and, when all you do is play basketball, your ankles and knees pay a price (sounds a little like running, maybe I should have been strength training when I played basketball, too). I played some golf, but I do not have the temperament for that game (my temper is also the reason I no longer have a 7 iron — well, I do, but it is in two pieces at the bottom of my golf bag).
I don’t know that I will ever feel good enough about running to run another marathon. I don’t know if I will ever feel good enough about running to do speed sessions on a regular basis and train hard enough to chase any of my PRs, either.
I want to feel good enough about running to chase goals again. That is when I had the most fun as a runner. In 2013, when I was training with a friend to race fast 5Ks all summer, I had fun. In 2019, when I was training with the FleetFeet class to run the Chicago Marathon (and nearly set a 5K PR in the process), I had fun. I don’t know if I will ever be motivated enough do that again, or feel good enough to do that again, to have that kind of fun again, but that is the goal.
Maybe, as we head back to the office (we were told starting in the fall we would be required to be in the office at least one day a week), I will get back into some better habits, and just feel better about leaving the house. Maybe, working less in my bedroom-office will help clear up some of the issues in my hip/IT band. Maybe, if I keep showing up for those Wednesday 5Ks (well, there is only one left), I will be reminded of why I enjoy working so hard toward a goal (the mental benefits might be bigger than the physical benefits).
Maybe, I’ll fall in love with running again, and it won’t cause me so much frustration.
That is what I keep telling myself.