Don’t give up
I wrote this last November for the MRTC runners, so some of you may have already seen it. If you’re out there, on the DL, feeling out of the running loop for whatever reason: Don’t give up! Hang in there!
You don’t hit the sweet spot on runs most of the time, or at least I don’t. Usually something hurts or is at least uncomfortable or it’s hot or cold or dry or wet weather or your shirt is bugging you — you know how it goes. For a long time while I had four kids at home and worked my running was pretty hit-and-miss. I’d get started and then the hubs would be out of town for two weeks and all four would get the flu and then give it to me, and next I knew it was three months since I had run. But I always kept my subscription to Runner’s World. I knew if I didn’t keep some piece of running it might someday just completely slip away. Finally in 2002 I got back into running consistently. I did my first half that year and my first full the next year. In 2008 with some nagging injuries I backed off running. I’d hit it for a while and then something would get in the way, life, another injury, whatever. Finally in December last year I resolved that I wanted 2011 to be the year I ran. No goals, just run. It was iffy at the start, I was still hit-or-miss but I didn’t quit. In June I decided to train for a marathon just to prove I could still do it. I didn’t tell anyone for a while, I was afraid to jinx it. But here I am, the last week of training before the taper. I had to make myself run today, I had the donwannas but I set out anyway — and immediately I was in the sweet spot. I was at a mile before I felt I’d even touched pavement. My feet seemed to have feathers, floating just off the ground. It was beautiful out – grey and breezy but not too cold and not too hot. Not too windy and not too sunny. It was the run we all pursue but only occasionally catch.
Now – I’m still slightly crazy about the taper, still superstitious about the marathon, still wish I were faster and my form was better: In other words, I’m a normal runner. And the reason I’m telling you this rambling story is to say to all of you out there right now getting this email and trying to squeeze 25 hours of life and work and kids into each day, on the DL, just plain burned out, whatever – DON’T GIVE UP. Give yourself the time or space you need for now, but don’t quit. Take some piece of running – Runner’s World, MRTC membership, tape an old race bib to the refrigerator – anything – and every time you see that piece say to it: “I’ll be back. I’m going to be back. It might not be today or this week or this month, but I’m coming back.”