Running... Again?

 If you know me you know there was a time about 10 years ago or so where I was running. A lot. At least 5 days a week and at least 5 miles a run. I wasn’t training, I wasn’t preparing for a race or a marathon. I just found myself enjoying the time spent running. I wasn’t obsessed with numbers, but I kept track of them all and liked seeing improvements in time and distances. It was good physical health and mental health. Then I tweaked my knee. Not bad enough that I couldn’t walk on it, just a tweak that told me I needed to back off of running for a little bit. So I decided on 2 weeks. At the end of 2 weeks I aborted a run very early as the pain was still there. 2 weeks became 3, became a month, became 5 years. 

That’s not exactly true, I tried a number of times to get back into it. I remember the first attempt the most. I was excited to get the shoes on (new ones, of course) and run one of my old routes. I was winded by the .25 mile mark, and stopped by the .5 mile mark. The same route that I first started on 10 years ago, that I was also winded by .25 and done by .5. But I didn’t remember any of that. I just remember that first mile I was doing in 6 minutes, with 4 more miles to go. It was disheartening. I think I tried a couple more times, but all I could think about was what I used to run this course at in my prime, and I was disgusted with what I was doing. 

Most of my other attempts at getting back into running went along that route, but I’d try different things to fool myself. I deleted the running app I used for 5 years or so that tracked that first run to my last run. A digital way of starting fresh. Too bad the brain doesn’t work like that. Different routes? Then I’d just compare mileage, again in my brain. I was not very kind to myself. I wasn’t fair to myself. 

Earlier this year I tried again. I was going at it for a while actually. I wanted my goal not to be the distance or the time but the commitment. I knew that in time those other things would work themselves out, but I needed to commit to running for a set amount of time, I found 20 minutes to be a good amount of time, and just run. Maybe I’d get 2 miles in, maybe I’d get 1 in, didn’t matter, all I wanted to do was set the habit. But it didn’t last, because suddenly the numbers mattered again. I was doing better, numbers wise, but I was still comparing myself to much better in shape Iain and younger Iain. I threw other excuses in there also; work, weather, etc. but the main one was older and slower Iain wasn’t what I wanted to be, and I didn’t have the patience to improve.

I’m in week 3 of running again now, and I’m trying not to screw it up. I actually want to run (I think), so I’m looking back at all the things I did in the past to screw the comeback up. Which explains why I dusted off this blog for a post. So will I be successful? No clue. It’s the end of the summer with what looks to be a wet winter coming up. I didn’t used to mind running in the rain, if it started in the middle of my run, but will that be how I react when it does? I’m hoping sharing screenshots of my runs with a couple friends to kind of help to keep me accountable will peer pressure me into keeping it up. But I did that, too, previously. I think what might keep this going is the effect it’s had on me over the past 3 weeks. 

Quantitatively my sleep has gotten longer, according to FitBit. From 4-5 hours to a stead 6-7+ hours. That’s huge. I also feel like I have more energy throughout the day, and in a better mood. I found that the other positive to running, the mental health aspect, was coming through again. On days I run I feel the stress from work drop off with each stride, and it actually stays off. If it doesn’t, the piano helps with that. So, as I continue this latest foray into running I want to focus less on the miles and the timings and more on the byproducts. 


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