I woke up yesterday fully convinced I was done with running

done with running cover

I woke up yesterday fully convinced I was done with running. Not just, “I’ll take today off and back at it tomorrow” done, but really done. Never to run again done. “I’ll take up biking,” I thought and maybe that will be fun. Or maybe it won’t be fun, who knows.

The truth is, running has been nothing but difficult for me since I got sick. Not that it was ever easy – I’m not a natural-born athlete by any means – but I got to the point where I could knock out four or five miles without much of a second thought and feel really good about myself afterwards.

That hasn’t happened in I don’t know how long. Before the Goofy, for sure, which happened over a year ago. I’m convinced my health problems were beginning even back then and in part, impacted the way I was running in that race and the pain I was feeling then.

Nothing is easy any more. Not even getting out of bed on some days. I take that back. It’s easy to become bitter, angry, sad and jaded by all that has happened to be in the last two years. It’s easy to say, “Forget it. I hate running.”

And that’s exactly what I said yesterday morning. Still, I met my friends for a four mile run, convinced I would run a mile or so and give up and walk back to the car and finally have proof that I was done running – the proof being that I couldn’t do it.

That’s not what happened, though. And I was more surprised than anyone.

We set out on the run, 2:1 run-walk intervals and by a mile and a half in while I was still going; I was greatly concerned that I wouldn’t be able to make it to two miles, let alone four miles. The sun had risen and the humidity felt like it was increasing with each step, making it harder for me to breathe. Yet, I somehow made it to two miles and then we turned around and headed back. Back is always easier, in my opinion, there is an end in sight.

It was a little into mile three when I really started to feel the run. Until then, I realized, I was actually enjoying the run. Whoa. I thought I hated running. We slowed down for the last half a mile or so – due to the increasing sun and humidity – and walked it in. I felt like I could run, though, which if I remember correctly from my glory days was a sign that I had trained well. Fatigued, but not to the point where I could run another mile or so if I had to. I felt that place again, for the first time in a long time.

And suddenly I realized running has never let me down. People in running have let me down, my own performance has let me down, injuries, bad weather, poor training and failure to plan have all let me down, but running in and of itself has never let me down. If I go out and give it my all, running gives back. Even on days when I try and perceive a failure, running doesn’t let me down because small improvements to my body and ability to run are being made that even I can’t see until a day like yesterday.

And, after a day like yesterday, a single clear and persuasive thought is ever present in my mind. This isn’t easy, it’s not supposed to be easy, it wasn’t easy before and it won’t be easy again. I am reminded of, “If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.”

So, if you’re out there struggling to run, work out, eat right, lose weight or hey, even get out of bed in the morning; no, it’s not easy by a long shot, but it can be done. Don’t ever give up.

What about you? Share your thoughts in the comments below! How are you overcoming obstacles in running or in life? What keeps you going when you want to give up? At the lowest point you can remember, what reminded you that all hope was not lost?

Until the next mile marker,

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  1. I love this post. LOVE it. These are the kind of lightbulb moments I love to have when I’m running, that bring such clarity to my over-worked mind. I, too, am NOT a natural runner. It’s hard. Some days it’s sucks and it’s a struggle and I want to stop. But I don’t. I keep going. Then the next day I can have the best run ever when everything feels right, my breathing is good, and I feel like I could run forever. I am right here with you on this post. I firmly believe that running makes us not only stronger when running but also in dealing with other struggles. It gives us an outlet that we need. So don’t ever stop running, girl. Keep going!!!

    • Sara- Words to Run By Blog says

      Thank you so much, Nanci – for your kind words and all of your support. I totally agree with you when you say, ” I firmly believe that running makes us not only stronger when running but also in dealing with other struggles. It gives us an outlet that we need.” That’s so perfect and in fact, I don’t think I would have made it through my health issues (even physically) if I had not been a runner. It have me strength I NOW know I had. Thanks for everything!!!!

  2. kim Ebbeskotte says

    What keeps me going is my willingness to want to succeed. I ran my first half in May and signed up for my second in October. I have a goal to PR and knock off 13 minutes–which to me seems impossible with this heat and humidity. I thrive now on competitiveness which seems shallow but isn’t more of a “i did i better than he/she” but a ” I just did the same thing”. I love hearing myself say to my kids or husband “I ONLY did 8 miles today” knowing full well I could have done more.

    I’m so happy that your joy of the sport has returned. As a fellow MITer I know what that group can do for you if you let them. I actually go and feel honored that they “let me in”…its my favorite part of the week and they are so much like your family. I’ve met so many amazing people in that first season of my new life. I’ve been amazingly blessed–as I know you have. Keep going and if you ever need a running partner for a few “slow as turtle” miles…contact me!

    Congratulations!! What a beautiful accomplishment.

    • Sara- Words to Run By Blog says

      Thank you so much for stopping by, Kim – it is great to hear from you and I hope all is going well for you! I like what you said about competing against ourselves, I hope to get back to that one day and maybe run faster or stronger, but I’m not there yet – with a run like Sunday, though, I know I will be!

      Good luck on your PR this October and maybe I will see you on the course (cheering or otherwise)! Keep training and the speed will come, as you know.

      I would never have achieved the fitness goals I did with MIT and I am thankful for all running with a group has done for me. I am a stronger, more confident, healthier person because of it and I know so many people can relate to that, like you.

      Wish you the best and hope to catch you on a run soon.

  3. So glad that you found your running groove by the end of the run!!! Hopefully, you start having more runs that are like that all the way through and less of the awful dreaded ones!!

    • Sara- Words to Run By Blog says

      Thanks, Kim! I hope so too. It makes me feel so much better to know good runs still exist! 😉 I’m going to check out your latest post – that’s a question I still ask myself “How long can this take?!” and then it takes SO much time. 😉

  4. Hey, Sara gets her groove back! Love that and so happy for you!

  5. I don’t have your issues but I have had a lot of struggles & let downs in life.. I am not sure what keeps me going – I just keep trying for some reason even when my mind is not really into it.. I guess it is hope – I am really not sure.

    So happy for you!

  6. You CAN’T QUIT! I want to be there when you run another half marathon- which you can and will do! But remember, it’s not about the distance covered, it’s about the act of putting one foot in front of the other. Some days that only takes me a half mile and other days it takes me 10….the running motion can bring inner peace 🙂

    • Sara- Words to Run By Blog says

      Aw, thanks, Shannon! You really know how to brighten my day! 😉 I need to remember that too- a half a mile is a half a mile and just doing it is what matters. Every step counts. Thanks for reminding me and thanks for stopping by.

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