I’ve been on the longest rest from running since picking up foot injuries in April 2016. That’s absolutely no running for over 2 YEARS. If you’re a runner, this is an incredibly long time to be out of running completely and I’d be the first to admit that I have had a few crazy, send-for-the-men-in-white-coats moments during the last two and a bit years. But luckily, I’ve somehow managed to cling to my sanity and come through to the other side.
The Bad News
Always better to start with the bad news right? I am not fully recovered – my feet still give out to me occasionally and the injuries are still not gone away completely. Although the pain in both feet has definitely abated, my left foot still has days where there can be a lot of discomfort and sometimes quite sore. The right foot (touching wood…) is no longer giving me pain for the most part. Because of the ongoing discomfort and pain in my feet since April 2016, I have taken a complete break from running but in the last few weeks, I decided to test my feet and take them out for a few very short runs to see how they would fair out…
Which brings me to…
The Good News
I’ve gone for a few runs lately!! Woohoo!! And boy have I missed it. Since being injured, I took up cycling like a demon. I cycle to work everyday, I cycle on weekends and I even joined a cycling club like to feed my newfound obsession. All the lycra, saddle sores and cake a girl could handle! As much as I enjoy cycling, I have not found that it brings as much as satisfaction and joy that a good run does. Cycling is more relaxed, even when you’re belting along on a long 100 km group cycle, you can still hold a conversation with your buddies, take a drink, eat something and BREATHE quite easily. Whereas with running, your whole body is working hard the entire time, such that any of the aforementioned drinking, eating etc., are no easy task. You come back from a long run feeling like you could collapse on the ground and happily lie there for a while. Every muscle reminds you of the hard work and achievement of your run, which in turn gives you a glow, or a high, for the remainder of the day. To contrast with cycling, I have to go very, very far for very, very long and even then when I get off the bike after 130 km, my legs and my back may feel tired, but the rest of me is pretty fine. I’m not bragging here – it’s just easier for the body to do this.
I’ve been doing two-three 5km a week for the last few weeks and each time, though awkward and uncoordinated… has been wonderful. As my very good friend Forrest Gump once said…
“I was running!”
It felt so good to have that hard breathing in my chest. The constant struggle with my legs and the never-ending battle between my legs and my brain, one telling the other to stop, stop, stop. And to push past all that and feel the wind in your hair, the quick tap-tap-tap of your feet on the pavement and oh, the sheer joy when you finish.
I. Love. Running.
Having gone without running for over 2 years, I’d forgotten how much I love it. At times, I thought maybe I’d exaggerated how much I love it or maybe that I’d just imagined it or created this idea in my head that it was something so much more than it actually was in reality – because I couldn’t have it.
Have you ever had relationships like that? An ex who you move on from, only to later get the idea that actually they were really wonderful and you wish you could have that person back again. All fluffy white clouds, sunshine and wonderfulness – floaty ideas. Not so realistic.
No. What I’ve realised from these short few runs I’ve dared in the last few weeks, is that in my heart, I am a runner. When I run, I feel alive like nothing else. I feel more like me in my mind, in my body and in my heart. I am in control. I can think. I can breathe. I can be me, away from all the nonsense, stress and crap of daily life. It allows me to gain perspective and it makes me feel strong.
Running makes me a superhero.
So, I may not be back to running marathons or training for the next Ironman event, but I am making baby steps and if I can have running back in my life, even in the teeniest way… then I will take that and run away way, away with that. Way, away. Away.
Also, I got new running shoes. My last pair were fairly beat up and it was time for some newbies.