This past Thursday, I came back home after housesitting in Sycamore for two and a half weeks. Other than seeing my husband and my cats, I was most excited to run along the lake again. It’s an awesome experience. To one side you have the lake and the beaches, and (if you run as early as I do) the beautiful sunset. On the other side you have lake shore drive and all the early morning commuters zooming by.
It’s the perfect balance of zen and chaos. I love it.
Friday morning rolled around and I popped right out of bed when my alarm went off at 5:30 am. Yes folks, I wake up that early on weekdays. It was the perfect day for a run. Not too hot but not too cold. There was a slight breeze, not the winter gale force wind I had been experiencing for months and there was a gorgeous sunrise. It was one of those runs where you don’t even realize you’re running because everything is just perfect.
As I was blissing out over this run, I started to think back to last year. About this time last year as I was on one of my runs my left knee started to hurt. Then it started to really hurt. Then I had to stop running and walk and then sit down in the middle of a country road and wonder how I was going to get back home. It was the first time that I had a real running injury. I had gotten my share of blisters and chafing and other running maladies but I had never had a full-blown, can’t run it hurts so bad injury.
I was devastated.
Not because I was hurt or because it was really painful but because I could NOT run. I tried to trick myself and took a few days off thinking I would be fine after the weekend. Yeah, no dice. There was no way I was going to be able to keep my regular running schedule with that knee.
It was a really hard month. I was mopey and crabby and pouty. Adam should get a medal for being around me because I was not a pleasant person to be around. Running felt like the only thing that defined me as far as physical activity. I had fallen in love with running and it had helped changed me inside and out and to suddenly have it ripped away really took it’s toll on me.
It sounds dramatic, but I know other runners will feel me on this one.
But here I am a year later, running along Lake Shore Trail despite my dark moments of despair when I would cry and ask Adam if I would ever run again. That month of no running taught me a lot of things and they have stuck.
1. I am not just a runner. I have so many other things going for me
2. I don’t have to run every single day to be physically fit, in fact I shouldn’t run every single day
3. Running isn’t the only form of exercise that I enjoy. I actually like lifting heavy weights and want to lift even heavier
4. I can handle adversity, but I need to learn how to do it with a little more grace.
5. I need to be thankful every run that I can do because sometimes I can’t
Sometimes things happen in life that knock you down so that you can pick yourself up and be stronger.
I think experiencing a month of no running helped me to get to where I am right now. And where I am right now is pretty awesome. I am truly blessed to be living the life I am and I love being able to do things that I believe in and help others. I have an amazing support system and I learn new things each day. I have pushed my limits more than I thought I could and I am ready to go even further past my comfort zone. Running has given me so much but not running gave me more than I thought possible.
I can’t wait to see what happens next.