I haven’t done a ‘run-imnations’ (ruminations – get it, I’m so punny…) post in awhile and on the last handful of runs I’ve had, I’ve really thought about my ‘run-volution’ of sorts over the past few months in particular.
Coming back from a bit of an ITBS injury that kept me not running for almost two months and slowly coming back into my regular runs (3-4 days a week), I am amazed at how differently I run now. Not only physically run, but mentally, too.
It’s no secret that I am a mental runner. I am almost always fighting being too in-my-head, fearing a bad run, stressing over steady breathing, a side cramp, anything that would inhibit a good run.
If I start to head down that path, I ask myself “are my legs ok?” The answer is almost ALWAYS ‘yes.’ And it’s mental. My legs feel happy, strong, NOT tired, so why am I worrying?
I used to mentally add up how many miles I was running per week and aim for XX miles, adding too much emphasis and importance on a number than just having a good run.
I don’t run in miles. I run in minutes. (a la Lindsay, who does this oh so well and inspiring!) And I run happily whether it’s 30 minutes, 45, an hour, or more.
I used to panic when I start breathing weird, or just struggle with breathing, depending on the air conditions (too cold, or too humid are typically my vices!) and get mad if I needed to walk it out.
I will stop and walk a few minutes to even out my breathing and – this is the key – not label the run bad because I had to stop. M is constantly reminding me of this when I try to call a run bad if I stop and walk it off, and tell me that we are ‘just running’ – it’s okay if we stop, we are just enjoying the run and the time together. Yes, yes, he is so right. Every time I try to venture down that path. (side note: M truly IS my run-sherpa and lately, I have realized that more and more, I am so grateful that we do almost all of our runs together each week, it truly is a special time and I adore every minute of it!)
I used to want to ‘run happy’ and actually BE happy when I was running. And more often than not, I’d find myself in my head, struggling, breathing wrong and well…unhappy.
I run happy almost always because I am SO happy to be running, to not be sidelined with an injury, and now, to be running outside, fresh air, working hard with that ‘legs feeling worked’ oh so good feeling, and sweat dripping down my face. THAT is happy running.
And it is something that I don’t think I ever truly achieved before I couldn’t run.
It’s amazing what an injury can do, no matter how big or small that injury or recovery is.
And today, as M and I finished our run and I almost run into someone running in our direction – because I was SO letting go and just running, I didn’t even notice – that never would have happened before!! – I thought ‘that was a tough run’ but instead of a frown, I was smiling. A tough, but GOOD run. A happy run.