Friday, April 28, 2017

Jess Goes Running: Feeling Like a Runner

(More photos from my adventures can be found here.)

The last time I really wrote about running, besides 8 Minute Memoirs, was February.  After a late fall and winter of healing, I was slowly getting back into running again, slowly trying to reestablish routines and find my footing.  It wasn't an easy few months, really.  Over the course of winter and the transition into spring, I realized that I not only had work to do from a physical fitness perspective, but also in terms of my mental and emotional health.  For a while, I struggled with feeling like a runner.  I felt so disassociated from the identity I had created and built for myself.  It had been a long several months since my injury and diagnosis, since my deferment of the marathon.  Nothing had gone like I planned.

Somewhere over the course of the last month or so... I started feeling like a runner again.  I was out there getting miles, without pain.  (I also was not experiencing any pain at work, another milestone...  I still experience some tightness when I'm getting out of the car after driving home from work at the end of the day, but stretching it out generally does the trick.)  I had a few really good, really powerful, really empowering runs... watershed moments.  I was, and am, slowly starting to get faster, starting to feel stronger.  I participated in my first race of the year, the Shamrock Shuffle 8K (my 4th time running!) and also went to my first interval training session with the Evanston Running Club, something I am planning on making a regular part of marathon training.  I subscribed to Stridebox, a monthly running subscription box and ran my first 5K of the year last weekend weekend--posts about both are forthcoming!--and have recently realized over the last few days that I am more or less back to my baseline from this time last year.

Not a runner.  Not a runner?  That's the same voice that told me I couldn't do it in the first place, the whole reason I started running  5 years ago... because I was tired of telling myself I couldn't do it.  I can, and I will, because I'm a runner.  And I've never loved it more.

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