It’s hard to believe that I ran my very first mile outside in 2011. In terms of my entire life, that is a very short time ago. But for a period of time running became such an integral part of who I am, it felt like I had always been a runner. For many months, I relished running. The feeling of accomplishment after a good run - of challenging myself.
Then I fell out of love with running. I had some injuries and running became almost an enemy. I lost the motivation to run at all, but I felt like I had to, no matter what. And so I did.
In the last year or so I’ve gone back and forth. I don’t know that I’ve ever LOVED running - not like some people do. I have a Facebook friend who is a streak runner - she’s got like 1300 + days now! She just completed her first ultra - a 50 mile race. And she posts things about running and it is clear how much she just LOVES it. I envy her. I have had periods where I really enjoy getting out there and times when it feels like work.
The last couple months my running has taken a very weird turn. I don’t know how to explain this, but I am almost... afraid... to run outside. I’m not scared of getting hurt or attacked. Even though I have had injuries and my foot is still not healed I’m not really worried about hurting myself, either. It’s just this weird anxiety provoking fear when I think of running outside - like I won’t be able to do it or something. It’s not fear of being out in the world - not like I’m becoming agoraphobic - because I have no issue with biking long miles away from home.
So running and I have developed this tentative truce of sorts. I run on the treadmill at a slow pace. I burn calories and I’m technically “running”, but I don’t think that it’s the same as being outside and being a “runner”. My distances have been short - typically 6-7 miles. Long gone are the days of the “long run”.
This turn has filled me with incredible guilt and anxiety. Why? It’s not like I am required to run outside OR inside. It’s not my job. But I still feel that way - that somehow I am failing. That I am letting other people and myself down.
This weekend the forecast was for a beautiful Saturday followed by downpours and thunderstorms all day Sunday. So before we took the dogs to the beach on Saturday, I went out for a 40 mile bike ride knowing that this would be the only chance I would get to ride for the weekend. I would run, I promised me, on Sunday.
Sunday dawned and, as predicted, it was pouring. So I knew I needed to head to the basement to run. I tried to make excuses not to - to swear to myself I would run later in the day, knowing damn well that I wouldn’t. I managed to force myself into the basement wondering why I am in this rut and if there is any way out.
I told myself I could stop at 4 in order to get myself going. I was watching a movie and 4 became 6, 6 became 8 and then finally, 10. I won’t pretend that 10 miles is a big deal. Running 10 on a treadmill at a slow pace isn’t nearly the same as the days I would run 13-16 outside on a Sunday. But it is a longer jaunt than I have been running. I was happy that I got in the miles, but it didn’t renew any love of running and didn’t make me want to run outside.
Between the stress of Chakotay’s illness, my pathetic weight gain and my falling out of “like” with running, I’m feeling pretty lost right now.
Oh, course, ultimately, this is just more of my drama-queeness. Either do it or don’t, right? It’s just running for fuck’s sake. The weight of the free world is NOT on my shoulders. The worls, as a matter of fact, doesn’t give a shit about my running – or my weight for that matter!