Thursday, October 21, 2010

Running for the fun of it

Today's workout looked like this...

60 min kickboxing class (this class always kicks my booty!!)
20 min core work/stretching
(I'm really trying to work on stretching properly in order to improve and eliminate injury risk)

I read this article the other day that really resonated with me. It was from a blog called “Marathon Mommies" and was about a woman who finally understood the joys of just being able to run without worrying about setting PRs and setting a new pace standard. After lots of hard work, she had finally qualified to run the Boston Marathon. During her training however, she started to develop some severe abdominal pain and eventually had to have emergency surgery to remove a large mass from her abdomen just weeks before the race. In her own words she says this…

“After surgery and staying in-and-out of the hospital with complications, I was left unable to run for about four months, let alone even walk comfortably. It turns out I have something called Crohn's Disease, not a glamorous thing to have, but at least it was not what they thought it was, cancer.

There is one thing I can say (many people may think I am nuts.) I feel truly blessed to have gone through that. It is in those frightening, dark moments, that I learned the most about myself, what I am made of, and the way I think about moments in my life is completely different than in the spring.

My running used to be all about how fast I could run and that is really all I cared about. Forget about the fun along the way, going for a run just for the fun of it without worrying about my pace - the pureness of running had been wiped away and I was obsessed with splits, the newest gadget and not being satisfied with a race unless I placed in the top three.

Now things are different. The first week I started back it took me 20 minutes to walk a half mile. I am not kidding, I was that sore and stiff…But, even in that moment, 20 minutes felt like winning a marathon. I could move and that was all I needed.

I am now back to running. I have run a 15k and a half marathon this past month. I am not setting records or caring about my speed. I am just out there enjoying the moment and my ability to be doing something I love so dearly. Someday, maybe, I will again try a shot at Boston. But, for now, I am just enjoying the roads and taking it all in.

Now, I would never wish what I went through on any of you. However, the one thing I can say is sometimes we all can use a little reminder to sit back and enjoy the moment. Enjoy the movement. Enjoy the scenery. Enjoy your health and the ability to go out and run.

Every now and then, take off the watches, forget about your splits, feel the sun on your face, take a look around you and just enjoy the road you are traveling.”

This was exactly what I needed to hear this week. Sometimes I get so focused on time/pace/distance covered etc. that I miss out on the true joys of getting out and moving my body. I don’t give my body credit for all of the many wonderful things that it allows me to do. Sometimes I focus too much on how LARGE my thighs are rather than revel in how far those LARGE thighs have taken me, how many lunges, squats and miles they have endured and conquered!

I can’t even tell you when I last went out on a run without my Garmin, but I want that to change. I really do like knowing what my pace, time and mileage is at any given moment, but sometimes it does tend to take the joy out of running. I need to enjoy the experience of running a bit more and revel in the fact that my body can do a lot of wonderful things, even if it isn’t perfect. I love you Mr. Garmin, but I think a little break from you now and then may help me to focus more on what I CAN do rather than on what I CAN”T!


  1. I love the ladies on Marathon Mommies...I read that story too. I enjoy taking little break's from running. I did two races this past summer, and it felt good to accomplish them...but it is so nice now to go for a little two or three mile run and not feel guilty because I was supposed to do more. Or to go out with my kids in the jogging stroller and say you know what...I'm not going to run today, we're going to walk and just enjoy nature and enjoy the walk...and when I get home I can still feel like I got my exercise in, but also enjoy the time with my kids. So good luck with your Garmin can be really nice. :)

  2. I wish I liked to run... but I don't. I do enjoy doing sports so I can enjoy just going to play rather then having to win every game. When you can't do something and then you get the opportunity to do it again you appreciate it so much more.

  3. Thanks Dadra. This was something I needed to hear. I have run some races where I hardly remember a THING about the race. I was so focused on the time and getting to the next mile marker that I missed all the things to see along the way. Sometimes I have to remind myself to smile--to look at the scenery around me and to enjoy being at whatever mile I'm at instead of wishing I were further ahead. I have to remember that I might never be at that particular spot again, so I should take it all in while I can. The finish line will come into view eventually.