"Starting over" with running 

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. 

Running? Nope.

After my last post and stating I wasn't going to the doctor, I woke up with issues.

I called my chiropractor who did amazing work on my plantar fasciitis last year, and I was able to get an appointment that afternoon. After a painful ART session and a discussion, we had a pretty simple plan -- give it a couple of days and then try a run. It could be something that goes away quickly, or it may take a couple of weeks. 

Yesterday I did a very light, non-impact workout on the elliptical for 20 minutes and exercise bike for another 10. I had to make sure something simple wouldn't hurt. 

Then with NO pain at all today, I headed out for a run this afternoon. After a half mile, I was writing a blog post in my head about how great I felt and how this may be the shortest injury ever. 

Then a minute later, a STABBING pain in my leg returned. This, however, seemed to feel different than the previous pain and in a slightly different area. Still, though, it's all related. 

Next step ... back to some non-impact workouts for a few days until I can get the area checked out again. It's not going to go away on its own. I have too much experience on my feet -- quite literally -- to know I can't just roll it out all myself and fully self treat it.  

This is going to take a lot more work than I realized. When I wrote about "Mile 0" earlier this week, I just didn't think it would be so bad. EVERYTHING is on hold right now and when it's time, I have to rethink everything I've known about training. 

Last week's pain and what I felt today are definitely near the top of most painful experiences I've had on a run, and I can't think about things more than one day ahead of time right now. 

Power of 3: Reflecting on May

May was a decent month with running. I ran more miles than April, but I'm still stuck in some mediocrity. That said, it was a step forward and that's what's important. 

Here's a look at my goals and how things went:

1. Get my long run back to 6 miles. Done! I did 6 and 6.2 miles on the last two Sundays of the month. 

2. Do a max plank of 2 minutes. Nope. No excuses. I just didn't try hard enough. I'll revisit this, again, some other time.

3. Sign up for a race. Done! While I thought about several different races, I've opted to return to Lynchburg for the Virginia 10 Miler in September. Much more coming on that, as well as my June goals ...

June goals.

A post shared by David H. (@runningbecause) on

Remembering the small things

One thing I have tried to do in the past couple of months is acknowledge my progress.

I was well on my way "back" at the beginning of the year and was failing to write down some really great things that were happening. When it all fell apart in early February when I got sick, I realized what a disservice it was to myself to not mark minor milestones. 

Well, this is my attempt to make sure I write these things down. 

Today marked the first time since late January that I ran at least 4 miles on back-to-back days. It's one of those things I didn't really think about until I finished my run -- it was just like any other week where I run a few times during the week, but not really paying attention to distance. 

I've had so many runs between 3-4 miles that I'm almost tired of it, but hitting 4 yesterday and 4.1 today just felt different. And when I looked backed on my runs in the past few months, I was surprised it had been so long since I hit that mark on consecutive days. 

Now it's on to even bigger and better things ...