One of the hardest parts of running for me is getting out of bed to run. It is an internal argument made more difficult by the fact that for part of the run, I have to run before the sun rises. So, my first run started that way. When I finally made it out of the door, the sun was up slightly and I was actually looking forward to my first run in 5 months, sort of.
I decided I would use the loop in the park to measure my progress. It is a little over 3 miles and I’m hoping I can run the whole thing nonstop in about 4 weeks. But first, I needed to see just how far I could go today. I’d spent the last two weeks walking the loop, which given my pace, took me at most 2 hours to complete. But I wouldn’t call what I did walking, it was more like shuffling and using my arms to power forward.
I definitely had butterflies in my stomach, I was a little apprehensive, remembering the first time I tried to walk two blocks after surgery and almost collapsed. That was just a walk, what will happen when I run? I have no one to catch me if I fall, and how embarrassing would it be if I collapsed. Worse yet, would I regain the courage to try again?
The universe works in funny ways sometimes, as I was going over the worst case scenarios in my mind, I was stopped by a woman on the street. She wanted to know the following “if you just met someone, and he starts pulling on your clothes and calling you boo, something’s not right, right?” Um, right something is not right-with the question and with the situation. That certainly got my mind of my worst case scenario thoughts-so thanks universe for that one!
Arriving in the park, there were a few runners out, mainly the regulars who, as if I’d never left, nodded or waved their hellos. There was the man I call the mayor, he does multiple laps all with the same level of energy as his first lap. Always making sure to say hello each time he passes. There’s the man who runs in women’s thong sandals, although I’ve seen him several times, I can’t help but to stare at his feet has he passes, it never gets old. I didn’t see the speed walker, who although looks to be in his 70s, walks faster than I could run last year. I hope he’s ok. The park was unusually loud, it was a nice cool morning so there were plenty of birds to provide the soundtrack for my run. At times, I thought they were either giving me encouragement or laughing at me, depending on how close they got to me.
My first step was pensive, it felt heavy and labored. It felt like I was running for 15 minutes, but my watch showed that only 2 minutes had passed. I had to stop. I had a hard time catching the rhythm of my breath and apparently my legs had forgotten how to move. I walked, then tried to run again. This time I lasted a minute and felt winded like I had run 13 miles, my watch showed only .3 miles so far.
This was going to be a long run, but I was determined to complete the full loop. I started again, my legs got heavier. I felt like an elephant amongst a bunch of gazelles, as joggers and runners whizzed past me. Despite my ego’s need to pick up the speed, my body told me that it was not possible, so I compromised. I decided to run 2 minutes, walk 2 minutes and repeat. I had to accept the feeling of being heavy on my feet, the heavy breathing and that the loop that I once did in 27 minutes will, for now, take me twice as long to complete.
I was able to run/walk for 2 miles and had to admit defeat and walk to the last mile. But there’s always tomorrow.