Monday, January 12, 2015

It's about the journey

You know the category of four letter words, right? They hold bad connotations all around. Well, there is a four letter word in every runner's vocabulary that is enough to make one cry:
 A four letter word to a runner.
 One I have had to experience this past week. After getting into my training and being so excited about pursuing the new goal, I was forced to rest due to the IT Band Syndrome.
 For those of you unfamiliar, I will not drone on about it, but to give you some insight, it feels like knee pain, but isn't the knee, it's the IT Band. It's kind of awful, but caught early enough, not something totally devastating.
Well, the IT Band got me this last week. On my 6 mile run a week ago, I felt it a bit by the end of the run, but I was in denial because the training had just begun gaining its momentum. However, I have learned you don't ignore the body, so the next morning I set out to test it and a mile into the run, the pain was pretty rough, causing me to walk the rest of the way. Frustrated by the pain, I knew it meant I would have to rest.
  Rest really is a good thing for everyone to experience, runners included. However, when just gaining momentum and excitement, rest is extremely frustrating. For me, I am not a naturally fast runner- I have to really work at increasing my pace to decrease my time. And doing that requires practice and routine and days and weeks of training. Rest puts a dent in the plan.
  But, just as in life, where you have to learn to go with the good and the bad, so you do with running. I'd rather rest a bit now, only 2 weeks in, than 10 weeks in and closer to the race. I still have time.
 And, I must remind myself, while I desperately want to achieve my ambitious time goal, the training and the pursuit of the goal are about the journey and not whether I actually achieve the goal itself. I learn much about myself in the process. And having to take a week of rest is no different. I have learned about myself even this week.
  I couldn't run, but the IT Band injury does not prevent exercise all together. And I didn't want to lose total momentum, so I hit the gym and did the row machine and weight training. After all, those are important as well.
 But what I really learned (or perhaps remembered is the better word) this week in resting, is that while I want this new time goal and to improve my speed, running is so much more than that to me. It always has been. Running helps me decompress, think out life scenarios, push out the frustrations and anxieties and ultimately, running helps me love myself.
 When I was told (admittedly maybe more than once even) this past week that I was acting grumpy, I initially wanted to deny it and defend it. However, upon honest reflection, I will admit to that. And realized how much running does for my better spirits because of all it helps me work out- not just physically but emotionally.
 So, even if this kink prevents my time goal, I will keep pressing on, even if it means only a couple of miles at a time for now.
 Oh, I am still going for my time goal. I'm not giving up. But it's about the journey and the learning as much as achieving....
  So, I will set out today and see how the body feels- one day, one mile, one step at a time.

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