road races

Inspiration to Run

Happy Veteran’s Day! I have no students today, so I can stick to my goal of a new post a day. And today, I’ll get my running blog out of the way at the very beginning of this writing streak. Just for reference, I started running a little over 20 years ago. I never really stopped (minus a stress fracture and having a baby, which forced me out for a bit), but as with any long term fitness routine–there are ups and downs, shifts, new discoveries, injuries, boredom, frustration, PRs, good days, bad days, good years, bad years, etc. And for me, ever since I started doing triathlons (10 years ago?), my running has mostly taken a back seat.

But in the past month or so, my passion for running returned. It was all because I listened to a podcast on my run, which I never do. I randomly chose the first running podcast I could find, and I was hooked. It’s called Rambling Runner, and it’s elite runners talking about running. It’s about as thrilling as it sounds. But something about it spoke to me. I liked hearing super fast runners talk about the journey to balance running high mileage with the rest of their lives. I liked hearing the ups and downs, the comeback stories, the waking up at 4am to do a long run before work stories.

So I started running everyday. I only listened to the podcast in the car or on a solo run. My daughter doesn’t appreciate it playing while she’s in the jogging stroller, so then we just listen to birdies and comment about Halloween decor. But it continues to motivate me to get outside and to run, even though I still struggle with finding time. I decided instead of aiming for 4 runs a week with some bike and weights mixed in, my new goal is to get out every day. At least 3 of my workouts are no longer than 25 minutes–which sounds so short and insignificant. Two days involve 2-a-day runs because it works for my kid and my dog (they aren’t into long runs). And I try to carve out time at least once a week for a solo run or a run just with the dog because that jogging stroller is NO JOKE.

I feel like a runner again, even though I am slow & still haven’t done a run longer than an hour in forever. I have learned to adapt to the fact that with a kid (and a dog), I am always adapting. There is not the same routine (go out 30 minutes, turn around, come back) that worked for a decade+. Now it is “my daughter refuses to wear her seatbelt today, so we have to run a flat course. It’s hot out, so my dog can only do 20 min.” If they are enjoying themselves, we go farther. If Kenzy is over it, we go home.

I have yet to follow a training plan. Being flexible suits us all at this point. And there is nothing that brings me more joy than my two running buddies. One day Kenzy will be too big for it and I will say “THANK YOU!” for not having to push that stroller around anymore. At the same time, I’ll insist she hop on a bike or something because otherwise I will miss the company dearly. One day Huxley will be too old to handle the mileage, so I remain grateful for the years when he’s in his prime & starts jumping up as soon as my running shoes go on.

I’m confident my mileage will grow as I find small spaces of time. I’m racing again in January & hopeful I can do many road races this year. I am so happy to be feeling passionate about working out again because if I’m honest, it’s been hard to find that in the past 5 years or so. I knew it would come back, but I had no idea that listening to other people talk about running would be the inspiration I needed. I ran an hour today without stopping or hurting or finding it all that difficult. I was still slow, but it brought me back to 2 years ago when all I could handle was running a couple of minutes at a time. Having patience for the progress is always a struggle, but I know that what I get out of every run–with Kenzy singing in the stroller or Huxley looking up at me when I say, “Good Boy”–is worth more than the speed or consistency.

 

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