For the last few months, in the back of my head I've been reminding myself on a daily basis that I ran a marathon in 2005. That not only did I run 26.2 miles, but I did everything that goes along with the actual race, ie the training. FIVE MONTHS OF TRAINING.
This fall was going along nicely. I was training for the Raleigh half, I was working through the umpteenth injury of year, but I was still putting them down. Then the stupid toe thing happened and it blew my long run mileage off the map, and I was out for the race. The "toe blow" wasn't just physical in fact, it's what it did to me mentally that had had me chanting the marathon mantra. It was really getting me down. I missed running. The first frost came and my brain immediately went to how much I love frosty early morning runs ...and I was quietly snarky about the runners I'd pass to and from work each day.
Last week, I went for a run. Three miles after work one day. It was rocky. I felt rhythm-less in breath and pace, and awkward (feelings I usually reserve for dancing). Friday night I ran again. It was awful. Painful. Breathless. Slow. N.e.v.e.r.e.n.d.i.n.g... and it was only 3 miles.
Tonight I laced my shoes and set IPOD playlist and hit the road. Just three miles was the goal. Running normally clears my head. Not tonight. The thoughts came as fast as Rage Against the Machine's Township Rebellion and with it the 2 mile mark. Two more RATM songs and I'm at 3 miles. I'll just run til I hear Lenny Kravitz tell me he can't breathe without me., that's worth running a few more minutes, so is hearing my favorite song lyric ever - 'first one to complain leaves with a blood stain' .. yeah, I'll just run to the end of this song, I love running when Christmas lights are up, man my hair is getting long, I wonder what 2008 will bring, I really wish I had some pie at home, okay, just one Manson song, how do you *not* run during 'The Beautiful People'.. and then there it was the 5 mile mark. Enough.
My pace is slower than it was three months ago.
It was only 5 miles.
But I found it again, the reason I love running.
Running doesn't let me take it for granted. It gives me what I give it. No more, no less. It kicks my ass but leaves me feeling stronger. There's a new challenge on the other side of street even when it's the same street day after day. It never changes, but it's always different.
It's good to be back.