I was going a little stir crazy not having a training schedule or really being able to run, so I decided to get back out there today. Don’t panic! I did a lot of research on the subject before putting my shoes on (seriously – the rest of me was ready to go) and found a few different sources that said that easy running is okay 10 to 14 days after the event if you feel up to it and if the distance is kept to a minimum.
So I only did two easy miles.
But that got me thinking (as distance always does) – only two miles? If you’d told me a year and a half ago that running two miles was an extremely easy day, I would have looked at you like you had just sprouted another head. I mean, first of all: me, running? After my previous unfortunate encounter with the ground, I’m surprised I ever tried again at all. (I especially like, in the aforementioned post, the part where I said, “Who knew that running could be so bad for me?” Ha! I laugh at thee, former self! Pavement can’t keep me down!) But to tell me that I’d run a marathon?! Absolutely no way did I think that would ever happen.
And that just keeps blowing my mind. I completed a marathon. I endured five months of training and 26.2 crazy miles of pain, doubt, and tears. I woke up earlier on Saturdays than I did during the week sometimes just so I could meet up with my team and finish our long runs before noon. I became accustomed (and even looked forward) to eating packages of flavored sugar-junk to keep me going. I was diligent, I persevered when it got hard, I developed – nay, unleashed – a strength I didn’t know I had in me. And now I’m thinking I want to do it again.
(No, I know I want to do it again – ooh, just typing that made me excited. I need to keep calm for now though and let myself recover.)
I do struggle with the perception of distance now though. I feel like most logical people think of three miles being far away. Instead, I think, “Huh, I could run there in 35 min or walk there in 50 or so…” Seven miles feels like nothing. Fifteen is more like our average pre-race training run. But when I put it in perspective it starts messing with my mind. Last month I told my dad I’d completed my longest run before the race: a whopping 20 miles. “Whoa,” he said. “That’s like running to my work from home… and then some. That’s like running to Pismo Beach and back from San Luis Obispo. That’s crazy far!” (Okay, I’m pretty sure he didn’t say “crazy far” – but you get the gist!) I know it’s kind of illogical, but I hope this never changes.
I guess now I want to challenge all of you: maybe a marathon is too long, that 26.2 miles is entirely too far. But what about 13.1? Or 6.2? Or even 3.1? It doesn’t matter how fast you go – my marathon time was horrendous by any competitive runner’s standards. But I still loved it! It was still my race! And I still want to do it again! There is so much to be gained by taking up running. I could list out the benefits – I wrote them all down and hung them in my closet so I could refer to them when I don’t feel like running. Better skin, happier outlook on life, cute clothes, stronger bones – heck, it even makes you poop better! And don’t think I decided to run one day and got up and ran four miles. If I had, I would have hated it. No, I learned to run using the Couch to 5K program, which starts you off slow and has you alternate walking and running for a while. I’m sure it can work for you too.
And I have made so many friends through running. I’ve learned so much about myself. I’ve loved setting aside a little bit (or sometimes a lot) of time almost every day to just be with myself. I’ve smashed through limits I didn’t even know existed. And I raised over $3,000 for cancer research. It has changed my life in such a profound way, and I’m excited to see what else it has in store for me. I promise you that while it might be hard, good things come through it.
So think about it, will you? It may just change your life too.