On my three mile run today, I listened to the Another Mother Runner podcast. It’s new. I mean, I’m new to it.
I’ve been kind of anti-podcast for all of my days. I’m a visual learner, so listening to things feels tedious. Or, it did. Sometime since Christmas, I started listening to NPR. I’m kind of good at it. Listening. To NPR. So I thought, “Hey! I can listen to news on the radio like my dad, so maybe I can listen to podcasts online like the rest of the Internet.”
Turns out I can.
And today I learned that I can listen to a podcast a run. I even smiled. While running. It’s all kinds of crazy.
So, I ran along today in the chilly weather, smiling on occasion, listening to Amby Burfoot talk about his new book. Burfoot won the 1965 Boston Marathon as a 21 year old. That blows my mind, considering I got pregnant at 21, not a marathon title. All the same, his book, First Ladies of Running: 22 Inspiring Profiles of the Rebels, Rule Breakers, and Visionaries Who Changed the Sport Forever, seems like one I need to pick up. It’s not at my library yet, but I’ll keep looking for it.
One line during his interview spoke to me, however, and I wrote it down during the second half of my workout (180 squats, 150 arms, 40 sit-ups, 40 bicycle crunches, stretching).
“Running is a process of constantly beginning over again.” -Amby Burfoot
I laughed, and then kind of cried.
I pulled myself from the Toledo Half Marathon. I’ve felt kind of shitty about it since making the decision two weeks ago. The decision to quit training and scratch the race came about for many reasons but no one single issue. I’ve never dealt with “runner’s knee” or any kind of knee pain. This training cycle, any run over six miles resulted in popping, clicking, and top of the knee pain. Deep Blue Rub only works so much. I did have one great seven mile run, but dealt with the knee pain for the next few days. Due to some cyclical issues as well, my back pain spikes about once per month, making training hard for about a week. I tried hard focusing on foot falls and proper form during back pain runs, and usually with good result, but I tend to err on the side of caution when it comes to my back.
And, you guys, I’m tired.
I’ve been training for something or other non-stop since August 2013. While training works well for me physically and mentally, I need to recognize it’s time to step back just a little bit. I can actually run and workout without training for awhile. Taking it back to 3-5 mile runs for however long it takes feels like the right choice right now. Adding in strength and weight training also feels like a better choice than running myself into the ground. And I’m finally adding yoga back into my weekly workout plan; I haven’t practiced regularly since the end of December. Yoga is just good food for my soul.
I felt kind of down on myself for pulling myself from the race. I’ve been feeling kind of down on myself in general for the past two weeks. To the point where I didn’t do any workouts because it’s all or nothing, right? I started again this weekend with shorter running, decent workouts, and yoga.
Hearing this line from Burfoot today reminded me that running is not all or nothing. Health and fitness are not linear. Sometimes it’s okay to slow down; sometimes it’s necessary to slow down.
So no, I won’t be running a race on my last day in the 30-34 age bracket. I’m kind of bummed. I may run on my last day in the 30-34 age bracket, but no racing. Just for me. Just as far as I want to run. Just the speed I need to go right now.
It’s going to be okay. It’s okay to start again.