Lessons Learned From a Recovering Distance Runner
From half marathons to metabolic conditioning, my body (and mindset) have come a long way…
Running was my first love. As a chubby middle schooler, when I discovered there was a sport allowing me to run for extended periods of time without having to throw/kick/catch anything, I was hooked. I vividly remember going to run club at 6am…as a thirteen year old! High school cross country & track filled my days. Even when traveling, going on service trips, or during the off season, I would throw on my shoes and just go for miles. It provided me a calm I had yet to experience in any other part of my life.
It was a love affair that continued through high school & college. I ran somewhat competitively but more than that, it was part of who I was and what I did. I ran. Because this was core to my identity, I placed so much of my self worth in how many miles or how fast I could run. If was unable to run, I lost a part of myself.
When I had some serious health scares in 2013, everything had to change. I was put on bedrest and not able to run for months. Even when cleared to “exercise” I was lost, honestly not knowing how to be active or healthy without excessive mileage.
Having no idea what to do with my time, energy, and desire to be active. I began terming myself a “recovering distance runner.” That’s when I discovered lifting, and my mindset journey began.
Instead of focusing on distance, I now consider intensity.
No longer do I measure my self worth in PRs.
Instead of endless hours of cardio, I prioritize quick bouts of intense activity.
A ninety minute workout is not necessarily better than a twenty minute one.
Clearly, over the last almost three years, my mindset around fitness has shifted completely and this is part of why I’m signed up for a trail 10k in three weeks.
Yes. I’m running my first purely running race since 2013 later this month. Hear me out.
To be completely honest, this wouldn’t be possible without taking almost three years off of racing. I’m now able to look at running objectively, as one element of my fitness. In the past, it was all I had, so a bad run or injury would derail me. This is also definitely part of why I hadn’t run another half marathon since 2013: what if I don’t beat that time?!
Although these thoughts still flood my brain, I have so many other goals that I’m confident I can go run this trail run (also a completely different beast than a road race! Stoked for the challenge) without regrets or self hate. I’ve got my chin up, pistol squat, and TGU (Turkish Get Up) goals that I am progressing towards, too. I am more than a number, whether that’s my weight, body fat %, goal time, or TGU weight. The race is simply an hour or so of activity that will challenge me and give me a new goal.
So, in a few weeks, I’ll stand on the start line for the first time in almost three years, nervous as hell but also incredibly excited to have running in my life again.
Are you signed up for any races this month?