My Rollercoaster Relationship With Running

I started running again. It’s nice because it feels the same way as hanging out with an old best friend that you haven’t seen for years. You’re just able to pick back up where you left off, in a way. Many things have changed, but the reason that you created that connection is still very much there. There’s a lot of catching up to do to get back to that place but you’re enjoying the process.

That’s what it’s like for me.

I started running way back in the day. I was probably around 14 the first time I laced up a pair of sneakers and went out the door. At that time I didn’t have running shoes, I just wore the random sneakers that I got for gym class at the beginning of the most recent school year. But I did it. I went out the door and ran. Usually I’d do only a mile or two. At the time that seemed like so much. And so I ran. Day after day, week after week. 

I continued relatively consistently until I was 16. At that point my parents got me a gym membership. It was the coolest thing EVER. I was fascinated by the elliptical and the weights, so running got put pushed to the side for the time being. But, I always went back to it.

Year after year I’d lace up my running shoes, once again, and head out the door. 

A little over the year ago I was training for a half marathon while I was hurt. The chiropractor told me that I could continue to run and my leg would heal, but it didn’t. So, I didn’t end up running the half and I only prolonged my injury. After the date of the half came and went I decided to actually take a break. Training with an injury was not fun at all. I was frustrated with the pain I was having and the slow times on my Garmin each time I headed out the door. I knew it made sense, but it was still disappointing to me.

And so, I stopped. I didn’t run for months. Or if I did I would do 3 miles like once every few weeks, if that. I was very much on a break from running and at the time I didn’t miss it.

I replaced my runs with biking, lifting, yoga, and whatever the heck else I felt like doing. I was moving my body, and I was happy.

And then one day I wasn’t.

I missed running. I missed the feeling of my blood pumping through my veins, the sound of my feet hitting the pavement, the clear mind that it brings me, the post run high, waking up early and running down the street before the rest of the world was awake. I missed it all.

So, I’m back at it.

It hasn’t been easy. Running isn’t easy though. And maybe that’s why I like it so much. It challenges me. It changes me, for the better; of course.

And I really, really like it.

I don’t have any particular goals at this point in time. I’m doing it just to do it. Which is totally okay.

You don’t have to always be training for something. You can be a runner just to be a runner. You don’t have to be training for marathons or anything at all. You can just run. Never let anyone or anything make you feel like that’s not true. 

When you recognize that failing doesn’t make you a failure, you give yourself permission to try all sorts of things.

— Lauren Fleshman

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