Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away (meaning: spring of 2010 in Charlottesville, VA) I ran a marathon.
I was a graduate student living in a fitness-obsessed college town. I was on my own and had few responsibilities besides finishing school.
You could say a hot minute has passed since then. I moved to New York, traveled prolifically, got married, left New York, bought and renovated a house with my husband, and in the meantime took Tilly for approximately one bajillion very slow basset walks. And I’ve not run a whole lot.
I can, in fact, count on one hand how many times I’ve laced up my sneaks and gone for a run since moving to Savannah last August.
(My grad school homies were in town this weekend! Here’s a little shot of us in my backyard. In order from left to right you’ve got Alyssum, me, Jen, Lindsay, and Heather. Our friend Sam was with us too — she’s super cute and also currently super pregnant — but she was taking the pic…)
But maybe this is about to change. Over the weekend, a bunch of my grad school friends came to town for our annual catching-up session. It was so good to see these ladies, and they are collectively some of the smartest and funniest people I know.
Anyway, in the midst of our reminiscing, my friend Lindsay (in green above) said the following: “Remember when you ran the Charlottesville marathon?”
Somehow, six years had passed. SIX YEARS. It seems unbelievable. But them’s the truth.
In a happy coincidence, Alyssum (in hot pink above) also happened to mention this weekend that Runner’s World posted a streak-challenge: run one mile a day, everyday, from Memorial Day to the Fourth of July.
(As an aside: I should mention that Alyssum has also run a marathon, and a lot more recently than me. She and my bro, her bf, are both super fit and way, way, way more talented runners than me.)
This challenge intrigued me. “One mile?” I thought. “I can do one mile a day for a few weeks, no prob.”
I used to spit at a single, stinkin’ mile. So I was feeling cocky and a little self-important when I laced up yesterday after everyone had left.
That cockiness quickly dissipated. It was hot. I was still digesting all of the carbohydrates I had consumed over the weekend-o’-fun. But the truth is, I felt that mile in a way I didn’t expect. How did I go from running many miles a day to feeling it on a one mile fox trot?
(Yours truly after the 2010 Charlottesville Marathon. #throwback)
I could not have gotten through graduate school sans running. I cannot imagine what dissertation-writing might have looked like without it. Running should have remained my coping mechanism since finishing school and navigating a series of major life changes, and yet I abandoned it. In part, I was discouraged. I had run almost every day for years… but I remained slow and I rarely felt like I made ‘progress.’ (That marathon I did? After years of avid running? It took me 5:02. Not exactly record-breaking.) I also got to a point where I had a lot of pain — partly from an ACL repair that continued to haunt me and partly because I was *the worst* at listening to my body’s warnings and I often tried to push too hard. Following the marathon, the “scaling-back” I’d decided to allow myself became a full-blown back slide. I’ve done two more half-marathons in the years since, and I ran a ten-miler. But mostly I skipped around what to me were various fitness fill-ins: I tried pilates, Pure Barre, spinning, and pretty much every other over-priced fitness class living in Brooklyn afforded me access to.
So now I am going to try to get back on that (running) horse — not to run another marathon, or even to get back to a six or eight mile a day training schedule. I’m going to try running again because it helped me be calmer and happier and saner at an important (and hard and often lonely) point in my life. I want to be smarter about it now too — I want to run without injuring myself or bemoaning how “bad” at it I am.
I did another mile this morning before Manny got up for work. That’s two days of the streak down. Certainly, the timing is right, as things are a little calmer here at the SB post kitchen-reno. Summer break is coming up too and I should have more time on my hands. But mostly, I just miss running.
In other running news, Hungry Runner Girl got engaged! If you read her blog, you’re probably celebrating for her too 🙂