Long Run Reflections

Today was epic. Today’s scheduled “long run” was 7 miles, furthest distance I’ve covered since August 2013. Here’s why it’s so monumental:

2013 – Started running after a brutal breakup (if you could call it a breakup). Running was my outlet for two reasons: former boyfriend doubted my ability to stick with it, and you can’t cry when you run. Successfully completed the Couch to 5K program and decided to train for a half-marathon in October that my former colleague so generously agreed to run with me. Worked my way through the first four weeks of the training program – the 7 mile run was as far as I got…my left leg felt as if it was cracking with every step. I finished the run, and immediately knew something was very wrong. A week later, an MRI confirmed stress fractures in my leg and both of my ankles. Cue lots of sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself and binge eating all the cereal.

2014 – After no running, crutches, and a magic bone stimulator, I avoided surgery and my stress fractures FINALLY healed. I worked with a physical therapist to work my way back to running. I vowed to never, ever, ever forget what it felt like to be sidelined for so long, and to be thankful for every moment I had to run in the future.

2015 – Thought about tackling a half marathon. Decided to hold off, run just to run, and not train for anything. The lack of a training goal resulted in inconsistent running, but running injury-free nonetheless.

2016 – Sitting in New Orleans on January 1st, decided to finally bite the bullet and tackle my half marathon goal once again. The only goal is to get to the finish line injury free. I don’t care how slow I go, as long as I don’t stop. I’ll worry about time eventually!

Today – I tackled the same run from the same half marathon training program, 7 miles. Same training plan. Same progression. I even ran the same route as the 2013 run. But this time, no impending sense of doom. My run was successful: I ran faster than my previous long run and I enjoyed every second. I am so very thankful. Thankful for how profoundly running has changed me, and how much I’ve grown as a person since the crying mess of a beginning runner I was three years ago. Can’t wait to run 8 miles next week!

How was your Sunday? Any reflections to share?

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