Starting to run from scratch was difficult. There were times when I did not think I could do it. And there were many more times when I realized, in awe, that, despite the odds, I had.
I remember dreaming of effortlessly running for hours and then the devastation when my lungs and muscles were screaming after minutes. But I remember the progress, too. I remember the first time I ran for 3 miles straight through - I was on a treadmill and I thought for sure that it was going to explode as I wondered if anyone had ever run that far before! Ha! I remember the first time I ran 7 miles. I was at my favorite park, which I had been trying to conquer for years; I couldn’t stop smiling when I realized I had made it the whole way around, and then more when I realized I wasn’t even as tired as I thought 7 miles should have made me. I remember when I finished my marathon, I cried as I crossed the finish line. My dad had been very sick through most of my training, so sick that I almost stopped training all together; but, I am happy to say that he was there on the other end of the phone, waiting to celebrate my finish with me.
Now, I am starting from broken. And I think this time around it is harder. It is humbling to set out for a 3 mile run, a quick, down and dirty workout before, and realize that I can’t do it yet. I feel like I’m the chunky little kid of my childhood who wants so much to be athletic, but whose dreams are bigger than her ability. My runs are leaving me frustrated and previous landmark triumphs taunt me. I’m trying to be forgiving and understanding, reminding myself that I am starting from scratch again and that there will be good and bad days. But I’m not starting from scratch and the bad days seem to be taking over and the mental scripts that I thought I had conquered are fighting to comeback.
This time, progress is going to be a mental battle. I tried to remind myself today that even if I had to walk, I was still moving forward. I have to remember that I am capable of the physical aspect, that is what drove me before; now it is time for a mental triumph. It is a call to take accountability and control in a way that I have lost track of as so many things in my life are willy-nilly. I learned once upon a time, in my non-runner life, that the cure to almost all ills is to keep my attention focused on the present. I still have my sights set on that hometown half in June; but right now, I’m focused on three quality miles.