Yesterday I ran 3 miles. And it was a struggle. I was dehydrated, tired, and hadn’t eaten for about 6 hours, so I had a few excuses. However, I still felt frustrated with how difficult it was. 3 miles used to be a WARM UP! In my present out-of-shape state it’s a legitimate run – my calves are tired afterwards, I breathe hard, and I have to ice my foot afterwards on bad days. The thought of actually racing 3 miles is depressingly intimidating.
Later in the day I sent a link for a race to a former teammate, since she’s been dreaming of doing an ultra since our senior year, and this race has a few longer distance choices – 30, 50, and 100k on trails. Another former teammate commented on the link, and we all ended up lamenting our dreadful out-of-shape existences. Let’s just say we’d all had very similar 3-mile run struggles in the last few days. In spite of our current struggles, we all thought the race looked fun, and chatted about running it together. In the back of my mind though, I couldn’t help but think about how impossible a 30 or 50 kilometer race sounded. I’m so out of shape – the race isn’t til summer, but it’s just been so tough getting back into shape and over the foot injury. I went to bed with the fear of being the out-of-shape caboose on our little trio of alumni lingering in my thoughts.
This morning I found the perfect antidote to my running anxiety – this post on The Local Elite. Jen is making her comeback from the crazy challenge of bringing a kid into the world, but her return-to-race-shape journey is great inspiration for any sort of running comeback. Today’s post was just what I needed. Her words on patience and progress when getting back into fitness reminded me that I don’t need to compare my current performance to the high level that I was at two years ago.
It’s been a long break, with injuries and illness. I’m starting over basically from scratch, but I still have the experience and base of years of running behind me. If I stay focused on my current fitness, I’ll be able to savor the journey, rather than stressing about the difference between where I am now and where I was in the past. Now, just need to take these ideas to heart and keep my head up and eyes forward 🙂