Absence makes the <3 grow fonder.
It’s been a few weeks since we last spoke. I followed your very loud and clear request to take some time off. Gave myself and my running shoes some space from each other. Took a break from the track and spent more time on my mat. I gave my mind and my body the rest it so clearly begged for.
You- and everyone around me – told me that I would know when I was ready to run again, that I would see the signs. And as usual, they were right. I knew I was ready to come back when I found myself slowing down as I passed people running along the beach. Wondered how far they were going, if they were training for something, what kind of music they were listening to. I knew I was ready when I watched my friends continue to train and race around me, jealous of their long runs, PRs… even of their achy muscles. I knew I was ready when I found myself constantly dreaming of my next race, longing for those start line butterflies. I couldn’t wait to get back out there.
I anxiously stalked the forecast, waiting for a day to show up with a high about freezing. And when the past weekend alluded to potential spring like temperatures I knew it was a sign. I refreshed the weather daily, I mentally scanned through my wardrobe in my head. The night before I carefully laid out my clothes, left my running shoes by the door and leaped into bed. I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve, a marathoner the night before 26.2, more than a girl who was going to wake up the next morning and run a couple miles.
The next morning arrived – a little chilly, but not nearly as cold as it has been. A part of me panicked as I choked down a granola bar. Besides a mile or two for work (yes, my job involves running, how amazing is that?) I hadn’t hit the pavement at all. What if I couldn’t keep up with my buddy? What if I couldn’t even make it a block? Was it right left right? Or left right left? Oh shit.
But as we headed out early Sunday morning our feet fell into our comforting pattern, my breath found it’s rhythm, and I realized it was all still there inside me. We chatted quietly as we ran, the streets were still relatively empty while most people were still asleep. I purposely left my watch at home so I could just simply focus on how running felt. And while we didn’t run particularly far, and we didn’t run a particularly fast pace, I found the beauty in a familiar route with my favorite person to run with. I realized the meaning behind this break. I appreciated the lessons it taught me. I thought about the first time I had run this route a year and a half ago, following behind a group of girls I was convinced I couldn’t keep up with. I didn’t say a word that first day- I focused every ounce of my body on not stopping. I had no idea back then what that tiny victory would lead to. It’s a reminder that when things start getting out of focus I’ve got to slow down and remember where I came from. Appreciate the small things. Find the joy in the things I sometimes take for granted.
So with that I’m back. I’m excited for long runs. I’m excited for short runs. I’m excited for runs with my friends and runs with just my thoughts. I’m excited for spring and summer races, for the opportunity to line up at a start line with a goal on my mind and in my toes. Excited for the opportunity to prove myself wrong and make myself proud all at the same time. I’m excited that our love for each other hasn’t disappeared- but only grown deeper.
It’s good to be back.