One Step, One Mile, One Day

The past seven weeks have humbled me…being injured with two stress fractures and taking the necessary break from running and training for the NYC marathon has been a mental journey as well as a physical one (and by physical I mean healing and trying not to gain twenty pounds while sitting around like a worthless turd.)

I turn the music up

I got my records on

I shut the world outside until the lights come on

Not to get all religious on you (and as a lapsed Catholic, it’s not my thing ever), but I really feel that this reboot in my life came at just the right time…not that God reached out to me or anything (I don’t think that way and don’t believe that a deity would be intervening in my running schedule no matter what!), but rather that I just got lucky.

Did I just type that?  Do I feel lucky that my calcaneus and tibia cracked, knocking me out of my second marathon dream?

I do.

I was burned out and needed the break.  Maybe turning straight to marathon training after wrapping up the Heartland 39.3 Series and missing my time goal in the three races was too much.  Maybe I just got lazy :-).  Maybe I just needed a kick in the ass, because I had lost my focus and drive, and my training miles were empty.

Maybe the streets alight

Maybe the trees are gone

I feel my heart start beating to my favorite song

I did next to nothing these past weeks.  I took advantage of the time to work on other things, which I will share in upcoming posts, but that chance to redirect my energy isn’t the sole reason I sat on my butt (though I can’t deny that it was nice to not be chained to a fitness routine for awhile.)

Nope…I was scared.  I was scared to make things worse, and when I hopped on the Cybex Arc Trainer and felt mild pain after, I panicked and never got back on.

I pedaled on the low bike and couldn’t get my heart rate up (damn you, superior fitness attributable to years of running!) without upping the resistance to the point where I pressed down hard with my heel and felt pain.

I should have kept up, tried other things, attacked the weights.  But I didn’t.  I took the time to enjoy other interests, I tried to watch my calories (no damn easy feat after eating for 30+ mile weeks!), and I waited.

Meanwhile, I saw runners everywhere, and I felt like I’d been kicked out of the cool club.

Would it have been weird to drive by a runner yelling, “I can do that too!”?  Because I wanted to.  So.  Damn.  Much.

I saw the runners, and I missed the experience.  I craved so many of the things that I had so recently been cursing…prepping my playlist, charging my Garmin and Tech Adapt, gearing and fueling and hydrating…running, by myself, feeling the rhythm of my heartbeat and the synchronization of my steps and my breathing.

I found the drive and the love that I had been missing.

I watched the NYC marathon yesterday morning, and then laced up for my first mile since the first week of September (I went on a few long walks last week to test my pain level.)  It was a beautiful fall afternoon.

I ran one easy mile, not looking at my Garmin, just running with good relaxed form, and finished in a comfortable and pain-free 9:44.  I wandered into a Starbucks, treated myself to my usual nonfat-nowhip-justtwopumpsofsyrup-pleasedon’tthinkofmeashighmaintenance latte, and walked the mile home to stay loose and build up a bit more time on my feet.

It’s a slow start back to the me I want to be, and there might be setbacks, but I am ready for the climb and anxious for the ride.


And all the kids they dance

All the kids all night

‘Til Monday morning seems another life

I turn the music up

I’m on a roll this time

And heaven is in sight


22 thoughts on “One Step, One Mile, One Day

  1. I don’t know about you but I don’t think you missed out on much yesterday. Unless you enjoy running in high wind and frigid temps….;)
    Seriously – welcome back. Time served sucks, doesn’t it?


  2. Patience pays dividends in many ways. And God doesn’t always speak in the way we can actually hear it, but can speak in whispers. I hear it and then months later, I’m like, Ohhhhhhh, THAT’S why. Just my thing I guess. Great job, great attitude… one step at a time, one mile at a time!


  3. I’ve been wondering how you were doing. Glad to hear you got out for your first mile. Pain-free! That’s wonderful news — congrats. I ran a relay yesterday (7K each) and it was very cold and very windy — and it was absolutely pouring. Much as I love running, I can also see that there can be some advantages to taking a break for a while, even if the break wasn’t really optional. All the best as you start to run again.


  4. “kicked out of the cool club” – That sums it up about exactly right. I was out most of December and January last year after some surgery, and I felt horrible because I was missing out. Everyone told me it would come back quickly, and I guess it did (I got a PR at a half marathon over the weekend), but getting there from about zero is no fun.

    BTW: I would love “one easy mile” at 9:44. Just sayin’


    • You came back after surgery and then PRed? Congrats! I think I would die of happiness if that happened. And everyone’s pace is relative, isn’t it? I need to remember that I’m faster than some instead of always noticing the people in front of me. 🙂


  5. Welcome back to my favorite blogger of all time!!! Also I’m glad you are running (one mile at a time). It is amazing how the running bug never goes away. You are going to be back better then ever! Now all you need to do is work on that lapsed Catholic thing. 🙂


  6. Welcome back! I understand how you felt and am glad that you’re able to start running again. I’m side lined right now but you definitely give me hope. I’m trying to figure out what to do with some of my spare time now…definitely not fun being temporarily excluded from the cool kid club !


    • I was in need of a break, so I quickly found it to be beneficial…I focused on some other things and also learned how to miss it again, which sounds silly, but it went so much better than I expected. Good luck with your recovery! I hope that you come back stronger than ever!


  7. I know what you mean. When I got injured last year I was pretty obsessed with wanting every run to be better than my last, wanting to be faster than other runners, and honestly not looking at running as fun, more as something I had to do. Now that I’ve recovered from my injury, I am truly grateful for every run I’m able to do, and while I would like to get faster, I don’t define my worth as a runner by the number on my watch. I am running less and enjoying it more. I think my injury break really helped me get past that burn out phase.


  8. Welcome back! Awesome to hear you had a pain-free mile run! And you nailed it on the “cool club” – after my surgery last year, I was almost resentful of people I saw running. Sure – rub your working joints in my face! Such a silly feeling, but seems like kind of a universal one.


    • I think it is…and my senses were so honed in on anyone running. It felt like the number of runners in my neighborhood tripled while I was injured, which certainly wasn’t true, but I was just ultra-sensitive and noticed them all!


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