Monday, September 11, 2006

True Confessions

I've been running off and on for the past 8 or 9 years.

Until recently, I wasn't a very consistent runner. I'd run a few days a week for a couple of months. Then I'd get bored with it and quit. I'd start back up and be going strong. Then I'd be swamped with life, and I'd end up quitting again. I'd put on a few pounds, and start running. Then I'd get back into my clothes and quit.

But something has always pulled me back.

Part of it has always been the challenge of running; it is something that I feel a need to conquer.

But the other part was that it was something in my life that I felt had been left undone. I have always wanted to run a marathon. And that little voice in my head would start calling out to me, reminding me of my unobtained goal, and I'd start back running again.

In January, I finally decided this was the year to get serious. So, I joined TNT, trained my heart out and ran the Indianapolis half marathon in May. It was awesome; I was thrilled.

But I wasn't satisfied.

Because, as we all know, a half isn't a full.

And it's just not the same.

So along came that nagging voice again, and I was off and training for Chicago.

Insert 1 knee problem related to over use, and lots of PT.

Insert 1 ankle injury, with a 3 - 6 month recovery time.

And I'm back on the bench.

By the time the ankle injury came about, I was at an all time high in my frustration level. Nothing was going as I wanted. My knee was giving me constant problems. I wasn't seeing any improvement in my running abilities. I was having a hard time with the summer heat. I wasn't doing very well completing the scheduled miles on the long runs.

In a matter of 2 days time, I went from running to not being able to walk because of my ankle.

My instant reaction was devastation. I sat down and sobbed and sobbed, as I watched my dream slipping away. I cursed the thought of having to start over again as I watched all my hard work disappear.

But then..

something else entered my mind. Another emotion all together.

One that quite surprised me.


Because, all of a sudden I had a legitimate excuse to quit my training. My life would be mine again. No more getting up at 4:45 AM to try to beat the heat. No more free days given over to running all morning and recovering all afternoon. No more trying to fit the training into a crowded schedule.

In the immediate days, as that relief and freedom continued to wash over me, I began to doubt my status as a runner. I began to wonder if a "real runner" would be having those thoughts.

Then as more time went on, and I was reveling in all the extra time I had, I started thinking that I was never going back. I started to extract myself from the running world. I stopped blogging, stopped reading other's blogs.

But, then I started missing all of the blogs that I was following. I started wondering how everyone's training was going. And I began missing reading all the posts of everyone's defeats and triumphs. So, I started checking back in on everyone.

And one of my absolute favorite bloggers, Running Jayhawk, posted two back to back entries that just hit a chord for me. The first was about her Runniversary and it really got me thinking about what running means to me, and how far I had come with my own running. Then she posted this and it made me want to cry for her. Because I know exactly where she is and how she feels.

The combination of the two posts is the epitome of what running is to me. The triumphs and the defeat. The celebrations and the frustrations.

And I know that I don't want to live my life without feeling those things again.

I want to feel the pride and accomplishment of a new first - a new distance completed for the first time, or a PR at a race, or a new fastest split.

I want to feel the devastation. I want to sit down on the road side and cry because I don't think I can make it one more step. Then I want to get up, dust myself off, and run the 5 more miles anyway.

I know that I will never truly feel whole if I never again experience these things. And knowing that deep down, those feeling were there all along, brings me the biggest sigh of relief of all.

I guess I really am a runner after all.


  1. What timing!

    I have to make the decision to have a minor procedure done before or after my marathon. Am I crazy to put something off like that just to run 26.2 miles? As the doctor is talking, all I can think is, "how is this going to affect my training?" Is it dedication or have I gone off the deep end?

    Thanks for sharing your story - it hit a chord with me and I'm glad to know that I'm not alone.

  2. thanks for sharing! and by the way, thanks for the cd! jayhawk just sent it to me this weekend! it's great.

  3. You ARE a runner. It's in your blood. Take care of the ankle and you will out in no time.

  4. good to read you're getting out of a little funk.

    you may be surprised that i have latched onto your little blog for a bunch of inspiration.

    You are a runner to me, as someone who started in January, i don't have a lot of experience, but you definitely fit into my definition..

    too redundant there?

  5. I think we all feel those conflicting emotions regarding running (and probably a lot of other things in our lives as well). One important thing to remember is that running doesn't define who you are. It may be a big part of you, but it's not the definition of you. Realizing that usually helps me, because when I suck at running, I can still rest assured that I don't suck as a person.

  6. What an awesome post. You are defintely runner.

  7. Yep, you're definitely a runner. Know that you are not alone in those feelings. I've been there many times, but somehow always want to run again.

  8. I have been running for about 5 + years and I don't think I considered myself a runner until a couple of years ago, when I continued running the entire year without taking time off...but I don't think I realized what it is about running that really got me going -- yes, the accomplishments, of course, but they aren't always there the enjoy.

    Your blog entry struck a chord - it was the combination of ups and downs - persevering that has kept me going. If it was easy, I'd probably not do it...


  9. You run, are.


    How's that for a lil mid-day philosophical moment.

    Let's defunk ourselves. When you're ready, you pick a thon...and if I can swing it, I'm coming to cheer you on.

    Who would've thought that running could be such an emotional endeavor?

    Not me.

  10. nice post. Hit home for me as well. I hope all goes well with your running! I will be thinking of you!

  11. Thanks for the inspiring words.

  12. That was a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing!