The emotions of running

I've been running for more than 10 years and blogging for 7, but one topic I never talk about is how emotional this sport can be. I've had a few sentences here and there about it, but it's often just something that doesn't get captured in words very well.

In the past few weeks -- since signing up for Shamrock -- I've been riding a wave with a wide variety of emotions. That thrill of signing up for a marathon after 2 years away from that distance and pretty much swearing it off reminded me of being a kid running into the living room to see what Santa brought on Christmas morning. 

Then came this nerve-wracking, yet exhilarating experience of looking at a variety of training schedules and actually plotting out my first few weeks of training. While it sounds simple, there's a lot that goes into it when you haven't done it in a while.

In the past couple of days, my Facebook feed has been full of friends getting ready for the Richmond Marathon, a race that has certainly been a demon for me. As the race crept closer, I thought about doing the 8K -- I could get at least get a taste of that marathon energy and run a nice distance at the same time.

But that wasn't part of my plan of getting this spark back that has been missing for a really long time. I had to stay away. I vowed to stay away from the start line a long time ago; it turns out that I couldn't even go out to support anyone either with a schedule conflict at home.

This morning, I wrote this before I headed out for 8 solo miles:  

I’ve had an emotional disconnect from running for about 2 years. While I love the running community, there’s been a spark missing. As I get ready for my long run by myself this morning, I wish I was at the starting line in downtown this morning.

This was my plan all along though. I needed to get to this point so I could get that spark back.

Run strong my friends, and enjoy that moment of crossing the finish line today.

My sister was among many people I knew running. My mom was keeping me updated, and I was keeping up with a few other people via another friend not running today because of an injury. 

Then just as I was expecting to hear that my sister hit 20 miles, I got a message that she was hurt and having to drop out. 

My heart sank. On this day and time where running has a lot of emotion behind it, I get that horrible news. I wanted to be out there with her, pick her up and carry her to that finish line.

My mind was racing with what she was probably thinking ... it sucks, it's embarrassing, it's defeating, it's sad, it's maddening. She was probably screaming that she's never going to do a marathon again. Forget this crap. It's not worth it. 

I haven't talked to my sister other than a few texts because I know what that DNF feeling is like. You just want to go to a quiet place and pretend it didn't happen. I do know, though, that in the days and weeks to come, she'll think a lot differently than she probably is right now. I haven't met a runner yet who hasn't had those thoughts only to let time take care of a few things.

As I think about the next 4 months of marathon training, I'm really looking forward to the challenges of running when it's really cold, hitting mileage I haven't seen in a couple of years and talking more about what's on my mind. 

I've bottled myself up for a long time, but through this process of making many things feel brand new again, I'm ready for whatever the sport of running throws my way. 

Dealing with and acknowledging the emotions that have come and gone is part of that process. I can't wait to see what's ahead ...