Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Running lessons: There's no shame in starting over

The good news is that I'm getting back into routines and slowly organizing my life again. There's still lots to do as I recover from the chaos of the past few months but the light is finally visible at the end of the tunnel.

The bad news is that the chaos left my training in tatters. As I mentioned in my last post, I've only run once or twice a week since the end of May - not enough to maintain the level of fitness I worked so hard to achieve last year - so running feels pretty tough at the moment. My long run on Sunday (a mere 10k) was embarrassingly slow and felt quite uncomfortable. Granted, the first 3kms were mostly uphill and I was tired after a busy week at work, but it's been a long time since running 10k felt so challenging - which was discouraging, to say the least.

Can it really be the case that I ran a full marathon and the "toughest race in eastern North America" last autumn, and am so hopelessly out of shape now? Apparently.

Which leaves me with a choice - either I give up on the idea of ever running distance again, or I take a hard look at my current condition, prepare a sensible training plan and get to work.

The choice should be easy. After all, I love running and know it's one of the best things I can do to stay physically and emotionally healthy. And yet...and, yet...there's a quiet voice just behind my left ear whispering that I'm too old to run, that perhaps it's time to accept the inevitable and forget about running long distances, that it's embarrassing to start over.

The last point particularly smarts because, truthfully, it is embarrassing. How did this happen?!? I intended to "run less" this year, but I never intended to let my fitness level drop so far.

My running buddy David emailed a few days ago to ask if I wanted to go running with him next weekend and I almost refused because he's in awesome shape these days and I know it'll be a struggle to keep up with him. But - dammit - running with David is one of my favourite things so I'm determined to try.

Between now and Sunday, I'll just keep reminding myself that there's no shame in starting over, that I should be proud of how far I've come in the 12 years since I started running, and that the last few months have been a chance for my body to recover so that I'm better able to train. At this stage, I just need to be patient and trust that, with a few months of consistent training, running will feel as easy and fluid as it once did.

Here's hoping anyway.

Happy running and writing, friends.

P.S. Husband and I spent much of last weekend attending the Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, where we were introduced to several groups we'd not heard of before, including these guys, The Steel Wheels. If you ever have the chance to see and hear them, do! They put on one heck of a show.


  1. If Sister Madonna Buder can do Ironman in her 80's, you are NOT too old to run. Not. So start again. The first one is always the hardest. And if your buddy enjoyed running with you, the least they can do is work out a way to run with you nice and easy, and do more after or before to get in the workout they want. The fitness comes back. Really.

  2. Thanks, Keith. Of course, you're right. But it's amazing how persuasive that little voice can be sometimes. Thanks for the encouragement.