After a major grouchfest on Sunday, I have been really analyzing my relationship with fitness and running in particular. I’ve been out for about two and a half months now because of my injury and I’ve just started getting back into it. I’d done some intervals at physical therapy, but it wasn’t until Dylan sat me down while I was wallowing in self pity that I began to see my running in a different light.
I would say I started running to get the job I have here in Pennsylvania, but I continued in order to honor a friend of mine, who was killed in Iraq. My battle buddy from Army basic invited me into a running group on Facebook, and I liked how they honored their friends and family who had been killed while serving in the Armed Forces. (Insert shameless plug for these wonderful people here) The group is called Wear Blue: Run to Remember, a nonprofit organization that does some wonderful things for the running and military communities. (You should check them out!) If it’s possible to have a “running bucket list” running The Blue Mile with them is at the top of mine.
In my wear blue shirt, last night I “ran” my first 5K since I was injured. In fact, it was my first time running at all on pavement since I tore my muscle. I was slow—42:20 is what I completed it in. I walked a third to half the time. I felt old and fat and out of shape. But I finished, and just as Dylan had said, I felt good…even though my knee was sore and swollen and my legs were tired.
I don’t listen to music when running anymore, so that gives me the chance to do a couple things. For one I can just be in the moment, concentrate on my breathing and the act of running itself. Secondly, without the music, my thoughts are free to roam. That’s what led me to this conclusion. If you ask me, I’ll still say I hate exercise, and I have a special hatred for running. Perhaps that’s why I need it so much. And perhaps that’s why I get such a huge sense of accomplishment from completing a 5K.
So I’ll keep running in my slow, fat, gimpy way. Reminding myself why I do this, and why the difficulty and pain that comes with it actually is worth it, and why I love to do the thing I hate so very much.