Around the time I was training for the Boston Marathon, my cousin casually remarked that he never imagined that, of all people, I would be the one to eventually run a marathon, much less the Boston Marathon. No offense meant and none taken. Growing up, I never in my wildest dreams foresaw a future in which so much of my time and energy was consumed by running. No, not consumed. Enthusiastically given.
I’ve been running for almost 10 years, and what started as a habit eventually grew into a passion. Running provided recreation, rejuvenation, purpose, focus, and everything else that helped me get through the day. It took me a while to set my sights on anything grander than a 5k, but as my confidence and goal distances gradually increased, so did my commitment to routines and regimens that would help me cross the finish line (in varying states of functionality). In the past four years, I’ve crossed finish lines (and picked up awesome medals!) in four different marathons.
Which begs the question – what’s in store for 2017? I should have another marathon on the calendar. Currently, I don’t. There are a few reasons behind that. First, I need to figure out the chronic plantar fasciitis I’ve had for over two years now. I’ve taken off a month at a time to focus on strengthening the muscle groups around it and try out various treatments, but it always comes back as soon as I start running again. Big problem. Second, my relationship with running seems to have stalled to the point where almost no amount of intrinsic or extrinsic motivation can influence me out the door. Also a problem.
Although I may have little to no motivation to run, and injuries that probably (certainly) need more patience and attention than I’m giving them, those factors have had absolutely no impact on my desire to race. Every time I overhear conversations about races, training plans, nutrition strategies, and the latest gear, I feel like a kid in a candy shop. Spectating at races also feeds into this obsession because watching everyone else enjoy (or suffer through) the race gives me major “Fear Of Missing Out” (though I’m certainly helping by providing support and enthusiasm!). I’ve been part of that so many times before, and I want to continue to be part of that.
The desire to reach the finish line is there. I could easily go and sign up for all the races I have my eye on (once my next paycheck comes through). The more important question is whether I can and will train for those races. Hard to say right now. For the time being, I’m happy to stay in hibernation a bit longer, but I’m going to be intentional about this hibernation instead of nonchalant about the time off (like I have been the past few months). I’m hoping the time to reflect will also give me time to reconnect with my running roots, discover the different motivation I am so desperately in need of, and recommit myself to feeling awesome about and inspired by what my body is capable of doing. Those are the feelings that have carried me through the past 10 years, and those are the feelings I hope will carry me through a lifetime of running.