The Little Running Story: Part II

Part I can be found here.
This post took a lot longer than expected to write. It’s actually about a really difficult time in my life, and until I began writing it, I didn’t realize what I’d be reflecting on. My apologies for the delay in posting.

So last time I wrote I finished the high school part of my running school, and it only makes sense that I would continue on into the university years of my running.

My first year I signed up for a half marathon before I even got to school. This was probably not smart thinking, but at the time I was convinced I would be able to keep up training for the entire year. I figured that if I gave myself until May of that first year of university I’d be fine.

Plenty of time to get into tip top shape for a race.

Probably too much time. For anyone who has moved away from home, especially for the first time, you know how huge a transition it can be. New friends, new life, a life you now control. It is overwhelming (sometimes underwhelming) but mostly it’s just a huge transition.

But I couldn’t let go. Instead of allowing myself to get out and try new things, change up my routine, I clung to running. During much of this year my running was slow. Painful. Not the same sort of running I was used to do. At some points it was none existent.

So when that half marathon rolled around to say it was not a good run was an understatement. It was rainy and cold that year for the Vancouver BMO, and due to my poor training I was completely unprepared. It was such a slow run I was devastated. Slow runs happen, but combined with all the other changes going on in my life, it was just another mental kick when I was already down.

After that my running disappeared for awhile. Most of my activity did. I remember a summer of feeling completely and utterly lethargic. There was very little internal motivation to get up off the couch and do anything.

There were a lot of reasons, many of them having little to do with running or exercise, and most having to do with my mental state. Being a perfectionist meant I didn’t like the idea of just going for a run to go for a run. When I couldn’t commit myself to my crazy week-long-workout-plan, I would give up completely. Mentally I became convinced of my own limits, and one of those was that I wasn’t a runner. I wasn’t athletic. I didn’t look the part, so obviously I couldn’t play the part.

Oddly enough it was a January resolution that snapped me back into getting fit, and running again. I remember one day I just realized I had to stop letting those voices get in my way. It didn’t matter if I couldn’t run fast enough. It didn’t matter if I didn’t look like a runner (tall, slim, strong, toned….etc. etc.). Some of this mental block had revolved around weight, but really that was mostly a reflection of other self esteem issues I had going on.

So I began running again. I joined a soccer team. I took an interesting exercise class or two. I got back on my bike. Everything I did was unstructured. I think this is the important part, that I allowed myself leniency. If I didn’t make a planned workout or run, I said ok, and got passed it. The next day I’d get up, and move on to whatever I’d been thinking of doing that day.

And this was my exercise and running regime for the next year and a bit. I enjoyed it. It didn’t stress me out, or cause me pain, and it let me make changes and mistakes and skip workouts, without feeling guilty. Mostly I was satisfied, I can’t say I was happy with what I was doing, but it was good, felt right and was definitely stress relief from other stressors of life. 

Next up; when I fell in love with running again.

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