Angie’s Running Journey

I have run 9 marathons and 9 half marathons.

Yesterday, I ran 4 miles.

This is the furthest I have run since September 2012.

It is an understatement to say I have been struggling with my running lately.

Running is a huge part of who I am. I started running in August of 2008. 1 week after I finished my last college course, I was overwhelmed with my newly found free time after being in classes for 7 years through my undergrad and graduate coursework.

I have always been goal-oriented and driven to achieve, achieve, achieve. Once I had reached my educational goals, I then turned to physical ones. I joined a running group 1 week after I finished my last college class. I ran 7 miles the first week and ran my first marathon 6 months later.

Running was absolutely exhilarating to me. Each week, as I built up miles, I felt like I was constantly achieving new goals.

Crossing the finish line at my first marathon was one of the proudest moments of my life. I would have never thought I could achieve something of that magnitude and all a sudden, my hard work paid off.

scm

I was addicted.

I signed up for another marathon and ran my 2nd just 4 months later, I ran my 3rd 4 months after that. I continued on this pace for a total of 3 years, running 3 marathons per year, plus a few 5Ks, 10ks and half-marathons sprinkled in here and there.

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My body definitely felt the effects of this. I had knee problems to deal with all through my trainings and ankle flair ups here and there. I took some preventative and healing measures, but definitely not as much as I should.

It caught up to me.

Not only physically, but also mentally.

I ran my 9th marathon in November of 2011. It was my worst time ever. I cried for about 1 mile straight through it. I did something funky to my ankle and walked the last 6 miles. I remember at one point, walking by a shooting range and hoping someone would miss and hit me. Of course, this was pure histrionics, but I was at quite the low point.

total fake smile

total fake smile

I needed a break. I decided I would not run ANY marathons in 2012. I would run some halves (I ended up doing 2), but I would absolutely not go over the 13.1 mile mark. I needed to give my joints a rest and I wanted to focus more on yoga.

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More than any 22 mile training run, more than running against the wind, more than running in the middle of a Southern California summer, more than going on a run after drinking too much coffee (can I got a hollerrr from my fellow runners who feel me on this one), TAKING A BREAK FROM RUNNING HAS BEEN THE HARDEST PART ABOUT RUNNING!

Does that even make sense? Rest, no matter how important, is still the hardest part for many of us runners. I know my fellow over achievers know what I am talking about. Those of us who spent our school years like this:

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There are those of us who obsessively strive to meet goals, we fixate on something and nothing will get in our way till we accomplish it.

We are little nuts. I know this. I am working on it. It has been a struggle.

2012 was a year of rest on the running front. At first, it was a great relief. I remember going as a spectator to the LA Marathon (a race I had done the past 2 years in a row, the 2011 race being the worst.day.of.my.life., but that’s a different story), I had a glad-that-isn’t-me attitude the whole time. I was elated and proud as I watched my sister cross the finish line, but I was in no way wishing to be in her place.

Towards the later part of the year, I started missing the longer miles. I signed up to fundraise (Go Team TSA!) for the Disneyland half marathon in early September.

I made the oh-so-smart choice of traipsing through Europe through most of June and a little of July, in poorly designed sandals. I picked shoes that I thought were cute, not ones that would wisely provide me safe passages on miles of day walks, along cobbled stoned streets.

Palacio de Pena, Sintra, Portugal

I came back from Europe limping. I pressed on with my training. My runs went OK, but I limped around all day and the next after a training run. I knew I had done something to my foot. After a few trips to Dr. Google, I surmised that I had plantar fasciitis. Fun! I still did the Disney Half, but have been on a break since then.

I am oh, so slowly building miles back up. I am trying to be more diligent to ice my foot after runs. I searched all over the information superhighway for treatments and found great stretches that have really helped.

I have my sights set right now on running a Run Through Redlands half marathon in April. I have done this race the past 4 years in a row. It is my favorite local race and I would be upset if I could not do it.

But, I will still keep intune and listen to my body, as painful as it may be for my mind.

I would love to say that I will run a marathon this year, but I am not sure that I will. I am going to try, but I am not going to set a demanding expectation on myself to only be disappointed and ashamed.

I am going to work to be proud of myself where I am at. I am not going to limit myself or use this excuse. I am going to shift my focus to work on not only my body, but also my mind and spirit. I constantly tell the students I work with that they only get 1 body, 1 brain, 1 set of lungs, etc. therefore, they should be kind to it and mindful of what they put in it.

I need to do the same. I am going to work to not feel like a failure because I can only run 4 miles right now. I am going to be present with where I am currently at and not compare my existing self with my past self. I currently have different issues I am facing and I am going to be mindful, accepting and present with them.

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4 thoughts on “Angie’s Running Journey

  1. I love this post because I was there, and am still there to a certain extent. I took all of 2012 off from “goal races” if that makes sense. I didn’t have a plan, I just ran… long sometimes, not so long others…. no plan, no consistently and it was good for me. Trying to get back on a plan however has proved painful (both physically and mentally) but I know I need one if I’m going to meet some goals this year LOL. I think we all need a break sometimes and the only thing that will help is taking one. So go you 🙂

  2. I’ve never been a runner (and really, I probably wouldn’t make it around the block) but I have such respect for those o you who do run. It’s such an intense physical activity and it’s just SO demanding, but if it’s something you love then it’s easy to see. Best of luck for that race in April, knowing you, you’ll get there and kick butt!

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