I am having a true love affair. A deep, beautiful, once-puppy-love, now-deep-true-love. My heart has slowed down to a regular pulse, my palms are no longer sweating, my lips no longer quivering in anticipation for the next encounter, my blinders cast aside. I’ve regained my composure, if you will.
Because, as with any true love, I’ve got balance. I’ve got support, I’ve got strength, I’ve got a welcoming set of arm– or rather, legs, in a sense.
I am falling back in love with running. FINALLY.
Training for the Boston Marathon was a huge stress for me, to be honest. I put a lot of barriers on myself, making myself almost sick with worry about miles put in, stretching accomplished, meals and nourishment and fuel consumed, feverishly counting the hours of sleep and the hours on my feet. It was a huge relief to cross the finish line a little under a month ago and be done with the whole endeavor.
Don’t get me wrong. I know the intense privilege it is to run in that race, to qualify for it. I felt all the grand emotions of Boylston Street. But, my journey was an exhausting one and that finish line was much needed. I’m sorry to say, that smile is a pretty forced one.
Now, I can take a deep breath before I head out for a run and JUST RUN. Not worrying about the pace, hitting my splits, getting through the intersection before the light changes otherwise my pace is totally thrown off, squeezing in core and lifting and stretching and the likes before I get back to my apartment after work and settle into bed.
I can just run. And I can enjoy the love that I have always had for it.
I can focus on the pat-pat-pat-pat of my running shoes against the ground.
I can stop at the red light and enjoy the spring breeze as I wait for the cars to slow.
I can take a selfie on the trail, post-run, pre-run, in the gym and not worry about showcasing my speed or crazy-hard miles or supplemental training that “should pay off.” I can just enjoy the post-workout buzz. (Because, honestly, I wasn’t enjoying it much while training for Boston! I was obsessed with the “hope” that the workout would pay off, or if it was a worthless workout because I didn’t hit my splits. All that post-workout worrying is–and was– tiring.)
I can take it nice and slow, enjoying every little morsel of each mile.
I can take it fast and hard, my heart beating wildly beneath my sports bra as I chase a runner ahead of me around the Lake.
I can enjoy a beer, or two, on the weekend (Omission is my current fave, gluten-free, yay!) and savor my coconut milk ice cream (yeah, I know, dairy-free. OH AND I just discovered a local spot this weekend in South Minneapolis that has INSANELY good CM ice cream. And I might be moving to a house right down the street from it?! Could life get any more perfect?)
So anyway, I CAN just run. And I CAN appreciate the love that I have for the sport. I’m the girl who started running with her dad at 10 years old, trying to keep up with my older brothers and sisters, and wanting to prove myself with every mile and race and run. I’m the girl who struggled with injuries and focus and attention to the sport through college and after, but always came back to it. Because, after all, it is RUNNING– and I am in love.
I mean, I did get a tattoo in honor of my forever-love:
I’ll always be a runner. I’ll always love to run. But I can imagine, like any relationship, we will always have my ups and downs, trials and tribulations. And you know what? It is with that wild roller coaster that I can happily jump aboard and enjoy the windy, curvy, hilly ride. Because I know it is all worth it.
Thanks for the love.
Run with your heart, xo Babs