Back to Basics

running or trainingI was afraid I was losing my running mojo.

It’s ok to lose interest in activities. It’s ok to move on to other things. I thought that’s where I was after running the Chicago Marathon. I took a planned two week hiatus from running. I loafed. I napped. I ate. I did not wake up in the dark. I did not wear any running gear. I just rested.

But when it came time to get moving again, my motivation was stuck in the sofa with the rest of my body. I did not want to get up early. I did not want to run alone, again. I didn’t have a plan or a goal and I worried It was gone.

On Monday, I walked into the house after work with a pocket of time to fill before my next agenda item. My husband said, “Go for a run.” I did not want to go for a run. It was cold. I was tired. The sofa looked so inviting. But I laced up and loped out. I didn’t have a plan, still, but for once it did not make me anxious. It felt free.

A winter storm had dropped a nice layer of snow, and the sun melted it in puddles on the road. I came upon a bridge in shadows where the snow had turned to ice and passage required walking. In that moment I remembered my first winter as a runner. An ice storm had blown through Tulsa, and days passed before roads were again navigable. I was climbing the walls to go for a run, but conditions prevented that.

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I laced up and went out in the snow and ice for a “run.” The sidewalks were treacherous. The pathways were coated in ice. Limbs bowed still under the weight of frozen snow. It wasn’t a run, but it was so much fun. Cold air floated through my lungs and body, my cheeks pinked with warmth. I felt free.

When, on Monday, I came upon that icy bridge, I remembered that day when all I wanted was just to run. No plan. No agenda. No time to meet. And as I ran on Monday, the weight of training left me. The joy of running returned.

There is a difference between running and training. I’m taking some time just to run.