Keep Coming Back

Running is hard. I know that people do it every day. I see postings on social media about people training for marathons, ultramarathons or even cross-continental runs. Watching these posts it is easy to forget that running is hard. Even for someone like me who has completed marathons and ultramarathons and even an Ironman, running can be hard. It is part of the fun really. But, it can be discouraging. Especially when you have taken time off and have to comeback. So, what’s the trick? How do you get back to the joy of running? How do you make it easier? The answer is simple – keep coming back.

For the past year I have been knocked off the running wagon over and over again. One crisis after the other has kept me from running for months at a time. After each down period I have attempted a comeback, only to be knocked down again and again and again. But I keep going out there. I keep trying to put one foot in front of the other. Unfortunately, what I call running these days is not very pretty and it is certainly not easy and truth be told I have become so frustrated in the past few months I have considered giving up altogether.

Luckily, I have my husband to remind me that it gets easier.

“Success breeds success,” he reminds me, “Go out there and run today and the next run will be easier.”

I love my husband but for a while this advice was just pissing me off because quite honestly, it was not getting easier. It seemed to be getting harder and with each run that kicked my ass, I found myself getting more and more discouraged, having a harder time forcing myself out the door. But I kept coming back. I kept lacing up my shoes and forcing the issue, hoping that my husband was right. Hoping that one day it would get easier. Hoping that one day I would come back from a run and be able to say, “That was awesome.” But not quite believing it would happen.

Then yesterday, on a cloudy, cold Tuesday morning, I forced myself out the door and noticed something new. My legs felt light. My feet moved faster. My breathing came easier. I was enjoying the run again. Even when the thunder rolled in and it rained up instead of down, I enjoyed the run. I enjoyed the feel of the rain against my face, the wind as it blew my hat off my head and the quiet that was settling within me. The quiet that comes from knowing you are accomplishing something, you are finding your way back to the joy of running.

Running is hard. There is no doubt about it. But it can be joyful again. I know I am not guaranteed a good run tomorrow. I understand that the next run could be just as hard or harder than the ones leading up to yesterday’s run, but I have had a glimpse at what can be and I will keep coming back.