I have been running for over sixteen years now. I say running, I didn't always feel like a runner. I was a jogger, managing small bursts, wearing baggy jogging bottoms and huge sweatshirts. I paired these with highly inappropriate trainers and wore my normal bra with about three crop tops over the top. This was in the early days. I got up early and ran in the dark when no one could see me. I waited till the gym emptied out and popped on the treadmill for short bursts. I was so un-fit. My lack of fitness meant that, without knowing it, I was training in small increments and doing walk run intervals and building up slowly. It was actually the right way to go about it, not that I knew it then. I clearly remember the first time I managed my first whole 10 minutes on the treadmill. Ten minutes! all in one go! I felt such a sense of achievement. Then it was 20 minutes, then 30, then (after a long time, and a battle with my brain) I finally broke the hour mark and the rest is history.
Since then, I have had many goals. Benchmarks and targets that I work towards, and, normally achieve, you know, eventually. Then you set a new goal, a new challenge, you feel invincible, king of the world. Then something happens. Injury, or illness strikes. Sometimes this is a brief hiatus. However, on a couple of occasions (and for me, so far, it has only been twice) something happens which stops you in your tracks, for ages. Days turn in to weeks, weeks turn to months. It becomes a frustrating, emotional roller coaster, you just want to run, you can't, you swim, or do gym work (or in my case, I angry cross trained, God, I hated that cross trainer it became synonymous with injury) and where did all these other runners come from? Suddenly they are everywhere, bouncing along, all smiley and injury free.
We all go through it at some point. Even my normal happy optimism has been tested beyond belief this past couple of years. However, I honestly believe that how you handle yourself through injury helps you in the long run, it can give you a passion and desire and re-ignite the fire in your belly. Sure, your goals change. Mine went from wanting a sub 4 hour marathon to wanting to be able to run a mile again. For me running is something that I want in my life in some capacity for as long as I am physically and mentally able. It needs to have longevity. There will be ebbs and flows. At the moment I am just overjoyed to be running pain free again and able to do some speed work and, joy of joys, (and I do mean that) hill work again. Once I was running again, I didn't moan about the cold of Winter, I just wanted to get out there, I didn't care about the rain, or, more recently, the heat. I just loved the feeling of my body feeling mine again. The time-hunting-speed-goals will surface again. But for now I will appreciate every running step and annoy other injured runners by smiling and bouncing past.