Clicking Into Place
If you follow me on Facebook you will have noticed an unseemly pattern of whining. “Why I am training for another marathon? I will never run another marathon again in my life. Running is hard. My feet hurt…” If you are one of my regular readers you may have responded by posting a link back to The Last Marathon in which I complain over and over again about the marathon only to be reminded on race morning why it is I keep going back. And I thank you for reminding me. But the truth is that this time has been different. This time I was truly struggling, completely doubting myself and ready to give up. But then two weeks ago everything clicked into place.
We were in Alaska, running on the Coastal Path, when my Garmin died. I couldn’t see the time. I had no idea how far I had run and suddenly, while wasn’t looking, I let my guard down. I stopped thinking about my feet. I stopped thinking about being bored. I stopped worrying about how much slower I am right now and for just a few minutes I enjoyed my run. Suddenly, everything clicked into place. I remembered that feeling of being able to let go. I remembered what it felt like to believe that I could do something. I looked around me, watched the birds swooping down, skimming the water. Listened to the call of the loons. And for the first time in months I truly enjoyed the moment.
And then my feet hurt. My left leg started nagging me. I saw the train tunnel that I knew came just before the big hill and ugh, I was right back into the doubt. I remembered that I wasn’t as strong as I used to be. I remembered that I hadn’t been running as fast. And I let go of the joy.
But running is funny that way, because those few minutes were enough to make me want to go back out again in search of the moment. Unfortunately the next run wasn’t as great. I struggled with jet lag. I began to chalk the run in Alaska up to the novelty of a new state, a new path. I wasn’t really going to love running again. I had lost whatever it was that made me a runner. But guess what? Even as I struggled, even as I doubted, I found myself falling in and out of love with the run. I had moments of love even in the midst of the pain. Since that run I find myself falling in love more than out. I find myself enjoying the moments more. And this weekend, on the first 18-miler I have done in more than a year, I was happy. I was happy to be a runner again. I was happy to find that everything is finally clicking into place.