In the past year, I've been caught up in what is truly the worst state of my running since this journey began in 2004. After being in a big funk for a long time, I decided last spring that it was time to return to a marathon.
Last summer, just when I started getting my mileage up and was on the verge of a breakthrough, I got injured.
After getting over that, I decided on a different marathon. And just when I got back to 10 miles for a long run and was ready to hit distances I hadn't hit in years, I got sick.
And then in the past month, I got back to a decent long run and was feeling really good ... and I got injured again.
I've been ready to "start over" with running for a long time, but I don't think I knew what that actually meant. A series at a new church my wife and I have been going to for a few months recently focused on "starting over."
And while the series focused more on things like relationships and career changes, I couldn't help but hear that message and think about how things have gone for me with running.
Not once have I made any kind of lists of what my problems with running have been, or what I need to really address to actually start over, but I realize now that I NEED to.
I started typing these things out, it really hit me that I have COMPLETELY FAILED to start over when I've had every intention to do so for probably three years.
I also know that the phrase "starting over" means a lot of different things for people, but for me, it's about breaking this habit that I've been in with running for far too long, both physically and mentally.
It doesn't mean starting completely from scratch or even taking a break from running; to me it means getting myself to a point where the past -- both my successes with running and my struggles in recent years -- no longer defines what I'm doing in the present.
It's time to move on, and today I'm putting my problems out there. In no particular order, these are my thoughts that will help me finally start over ...
- Running is not a solution to keeping weight off. For so long it was for me, but now that I'm older it's not.
- It's not the only solution to staying in shape. After I got injured nearly a year ago, I pretty much just gave up. It's never been more important to me than now to start doing other things to complement my running.
- I have to really work for a PR. For many years, they were automatic, or close to it. PRs, though, lost some of the allure once they started going away. They have to be appealing again.
- Medals became meaningless. While cool to get one, they started carrying memories that I didn't care to keep.
- Running in fear is a horrible way to run. When the fear of getting injured weighs me down, it's not fun.
- I stopped setting goals that were reasonable or made any sense. It's time to get back to basics, focus on things that feel new again, and not worry about what I want to do long-term.
- My brand that I unintentionally created for myself -- "Running Because I Can" -- hasn't been reflective of me for a long time. I need to change that, but nothing has jumped out at me yet.