This is a piece written back in May. I had been in an intense period of training during the fall of 2013, culminating in four ultra marathons in four months including the Lookout Mountain 50 Miler and Mount Mitchell Challenge. After the last event in late February, I took an intentional, and much needed break from running that lasted until the day I wrote this.
Yesterday I Became a Runner Again.
It was a short, three mile jaunt around the neighborhood. The small hills felt hard, yet somehow exhilarating. The pain in my left Achilles tendon was still there, though I had hoped that the two month layoff would cause it to disappear. I felt slow, even awkward at times, a baby taking tentative first steps. All this, but most important, I felt like me. I am a runner.
Moving over land by my own power, shifting my body position as the terrain rises, falls, and undulates before and underneath me just feels so right. After the tumult of a stressful week, to run again brought tears to my eyes. Running is my release; release from whatever weight is bearing down on me. It is a lifting, at least temporarily, of burdens. It is how I return to myself.
“I used to be a runner”.
This had been my ongoing joke with Mary every time we had seen someone running during the last few months. The break did make it seem as if that had been another person, another life. Yesterday, running again, I was again amazed to think that I had done this activity, that at this moment felt so difficult on a flat paved trail, for fifty miles up and over mountains and through the slop of rain drenched earth. Who was that fool? That fool was me. The best parts of me. The part that does not mind putting in long hours and working hard to achieve what I set out to do. The part of me that will keep pushing through, even though the task is difficult and the end result may not seem worth it in the moment. The part of me that can find joy and happiness in the midst of suffering. The part of me that knows that whatever difficulties I may be facing will pass if I just keep moving forward.
I am a runner again.