Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The dish on running

After almost seven weeks post my injury, I finally laced up my running shoes after work yesterday. It felt good. Kinda like I was reconnecting with an old friend. And then I went and literally reconnected with an old friend.

It ended up that Joy and I talked so much we didn't even bother starting our run, but we walked the entire five miles instead...followed by a lengthy dinner too, of course. By the time I got home four hours later, I left my workout clothes on and didn't even want to take my running shoes off. This is not normal for me. Usually I kick those suckers off the second I walk into my bedroom. But clearly I missed these guys. And I realized that just by wearing them, they made me feel productive.

I haven't always been a runner. Something clicked after I graduated high school and one day I just got up early and went for a run around the pond across the street. I've pretty much just kept up it with ever since. I'm not gonna lie, sometimes running and I "break up." Sometimes it's because I just need a break. And other times it's because of some lame injury. But I always come back to it. And until the recent broken arm injury, my relationship with running had been pretty solid!

A lot of people don't understand this relationship. It requires you to be disciplined and leave late night fun times with friends in order to meet your early bedtime so you can get up at the crack of dawn just so you can drip with sweat in the disgustingly hot summer. Or in the winter you have to leave a nice warm bed while it's still dark outside and put on insane amounts of layers just to endure the freezing cold temps.

I'm not good at math, but even I know that when you think about it like that, it doesn't all add up right.

But what does add up are the miles that I have logged with friends. And the conversations and stories we have shared. We are bonded. My running girls know entirely too much about me and vice versa. There's definitely been some group therapy sessions on those short and long runs. Just two weeks into my injury and not spending time running with those girls and I can tell you that I felt different. And in a bad way. My mood was altered. There's certainly something to be said for a runner's high and the ability to simultaneously verbally vomit everything that's been going on in your life lately. It's a pretty killer combo.

There's also something to be said of a friendship that you know you can count on. You say, "I'll meet you at 5:15 at the Trak Shak." And you know they are going to be there. Sure, we all bail from time to time, but when I think of the past five or so years I've had with my running partners, I'd say we've had a pretty positive percentage of no bails!

The more I run with my girls, the harder I find it to make myself go on solo runs, but those are pretty important, too. I remember coming back from Africa a year ago and being like, "ok, I'm doing this." I needed that alone running time to process everything I saw and experienced over there. Plus, it had been more than two weeks since I had ran, so I was jonesin for a run. I have never felt more "free" in my life than I did on that first mile. It was the highest of runners highs. And then the next four miles were brutal, but ya know, I managed to make it through!

I felt almost the same way this morning when I met up with the neighborhood crew for my first run in about two months. Once I hit the pavement, it was on. I broke ahead of the girls a little bit, but stayed close enough to hear their stories. Then I dragged towards the end of the run, but it was a good kind of drag. I mean, I hadn't ran in almost two months and I just finished three miles. Not too shabby. I definitely suprised myself with that.

I have to say, it feels good to be back. It took me a few days after being cleared from the doctor to make myself get out there and get started again. But now that I have, I know that first run just kickstarted the addiction and I'll be setting my alarm clock for ridiculous times again—five days a week.

But sleep is just a tiny sacrifice for everything I get in return from running. I guess the easiest way to say it is what my friend Casey says on her blog: "I like to run. It makes me happy."


Casey said...

Oh I miss those early morning jaunts around The Brook with you!!!! Proud of your recovery efforts and excited you are back hitting the pavement. Now, run to Portland :)

Jenny Maddox said...

So glad you're getting back to your old self :)