This year started off really well for me. I dove head first into some of my
resolutions goals. I was active on more days that I was not. I started making plans for training and before the first of the year even came, I was consistently following through on most of the planned things.
Then I got sick. Official self diagnosis: the flu. The one that people are getting even though they got the flu shot because apparently the flu shot was only 23% effective this year. Dizziness. Lightheaded. Stuffy head. Coughing. Chest congestion. The whole glamorous thing. I did not feel like me at all. I knew this when running repulsed me more than excited me. That was a sad day for me.
I’m on the mend though. I’m feeling more like me every day I wake up. I’m even looking forward to my next run. Ordered a new training journal and have been looking on Instagram for some extra motivation, because there’s nothing like looking at pictures of those who are running when you can’t to make you feel good about yourself. Kidding, mostly.
Although I’m now on the mend, the frustrations begin to kick in. While I’ve never been the fastest kid on the block, I’m pretty proud of the progress I’ve made over the past year and a half. Progress is slow and while I can’t see it from day to day, I can see it when I look back to 6 months ago.
Being sick makes me feel like all progress has been lost. My first run after being sick and not running over 11 days was a very rough and cough filled 3 miles. Three miles. Three horrendous miles. I walked more than I’d like to admit. My lungs burned and not that “I’m killing this workout and I’m going to feel so good after I’m done” way, but more in that “omg, why does my body hate me? I feel like I’m running with a vise around my chest” kind of way. When I got home, I had to lay down to catch my breath and to be able to stop coughing. I swore off running for the rest of my life. Or at least for the rest of the day.
The next run I did was 4.5 miles. Still a rough start. Although I had to walk once/mile for the first 2 miles, I made a conscious effort to slow down and really concentrate on my breathing. I was able to do the last 2.5 miles straight. I felt good. Even overachieving good because I was going to take a detour and tack on an extra 2 miles, but decided that taking it slow and easing back into the miles would be a smarter decision.
Although the first two runs coming back from being sick were rough and I was highly discouraged, I remembered where I started. I remember the days when it took all I had to run a mere quarter mile without stopping. I remember the days when running was new and not-so-technical and I celebrated the days that I ran 2 miles without stopping. The days that even though running was so hard for me, I stuck with it to get better. Those days were a long time ago, but when I’m coming back from being down I think about those days and it puts it all back into perspective. While I may lose a little bit of fitness and endurance when I’m down, I’m not starting from scratch.
Most of us will get sick or injured and will have to take a break from running at some point. And that’s okay. Its when you begin again and have to train hard to get back to where you were that makes us better runners. Just remember where you started and how far you’ve come and that you stuck with it even on the days that you felt like giving up.