Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Struggles of Returning to Running

Think about something that you love to do. Think about a problem that can get in the way of you being able to do the thing that you love. Think about being told that you can no longer do the thing that you love to do. Think about getting the problem fixed. Think about being told that you can now do the thing that you love again. Think about being told that even though you can do this thing again that it probably won't ever be the same. Think about doing the thing that you love again and it being completely different than it was before. Think about the thing that you love to do being more difficult and having more restrictions. This is exactly what has gone on with my running journey over the last year.

I stopped running back in March and did not start running again until sometime in August. During the month of August, I would run a couple of times a week and I would only run about a mile or two. When September hit and we went back to school, I was running, hiking, walking or biking pretty much every day. I began running like I had in the past. I was running 3 times a week and some weeks I even got 4 runs in. I began to increase both my distance and my speed while I was running, but things were different this time.

Before I knew it, I could run 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and even 8 miles again! For someone who had surgery just a few months ago, I could not believe what my body was able to do again. It was almost like I had never stopped running. But I had stopped running for quite awhile and now my body is no longer the same. Ever since I did return to running, my running has been very inconsistent. Some days I can run at a really great pace or a really far distance and it feels great. Other days, running can be a struggle. I am not as fast as I once was and I cannot run as far or as much as I used to be able to.

Since I began running so much again, I decided to sign up for a few races that Jay and Amy had signed up for. The first race is a Halloween 13K this Saturday. If Jay and Amy had not signed up, I most certainly would not have signed up myself. However, Jay and I do have a great couple's costume picked out for this race and the 3 of us were excited to be able to run this race together. Truthfully, I am not sure that I am ready for this race. I was not sure that I would be ready for this race when I signed up, but I felt like if I kept increasing my distance it would be no problem.

Did I get back into running too quickly? Did I do too much too fast? Am I pushing my body too far too quickly so soon after surgery? Have I been overdoing it? The answer to all of these questions is probably yes. I hate accepting the fact that there are some things that I cannot do like I did before and one of those things is running. I know that I am probably running too much and I fully intend to cut back on the running now. I spent too many years being sick so often to let running ruin what the surgery has fixed.

The surgeon told me that I would be able to return to running again, but to listen to my body and know that running probably won't be the same for me anymore. I know that I won't be able to run 20-30 miles a week again. I know that sometimes running 3 times a week will be too much. I know that sometimes I won't be able to go as far or as fast as I would like. I know that I do not need to sign up for races just because Jay and Amy are. I know that I need to find other things to do besides running. The only hard part is that I cannot lift weights or do core exercises so I am pretty much limited to cardio anyways. I do plan to continue running, but I am going to cut back and be more conservative in how far or how fast I run.