When I first started running, it was hard. I would suck in air and hope it would get to the parts of my body that most needed O2. It was either get oxygen to all parts of my body or pass out. As time went by I was more comfortable and felt I could run more and more. I started to challenge myself. More 5ks than a 10k than I decided I was going to run my first ever half marathon.
During that time between hoping I did not pass out during the one and only mile I was running a day to training for a half, I realized recently the difference in how I run. I used to just give 'er as my dear husband would say. Every run was like my last run. Every training run was balls to the walls fast. Like every run was race I had to win. I am not sure, as most thing go, when things changed. I know I ran in crappy shoes off and on during that time and my body would ache. I have had my share of physical issues over the years having to do alternately with pushing myself to hard with sports and stress related issues on top of that.
A shoulder/neck thing that lasted for years(five maybe?) that went away after six months with the most amazing acupuncturist (?). Than I had joint pain that seemed to have no end. My wrist, hips, knees and ankles would throb and ache. I went to Sport Medicine type physician and tried Physical Therapy which helped but still... I was not feeling great like I wanted to. I think that is likely when I changed how I ran. I took some time off from running (4-6 months maybe?) and when I started back up I decided no more hard core running. The days of pounding out a run, some odd form of passive aggressive stress release on my part, needed to come to any end.
I started back slowly with super low mileage, carefully gently running, not fast or hard, just slow and steady. I invested in some decent shoes that I felt would help relieve some of the pain I was having from all of my crazy hard running. I decided doing all of the pace and sprint work was not for me. I stopped giving 'er all the time. I wanted to run more races just to have a goal to run toward. I did not want to run to get a certain time but just because I love the feeling of running a race. I love the sense of community and just the happy moment of accomplishment of finishing something I set out to do.
The past eight months of running have been the best I have ever had. It's been down right fun. Smiley happy fun! I do not feel aches and pains like I did in the past. Oh sure there are aches and pains but these are normal ones, not ones that cause me to cringe and moan in my sleep or swallow piles of Tylenol day in and day out. Technically the training for the April marathon started on Christmas Day. I am nervous about both the training for the marathon and the marathon itself. I pinned down my nerves in that they have to do with losing the sense of fun I have had for running this past year because I might feel I have to run to get the training mileage in or I might get swallowed up in the old give 'er sense from the past especially when everything gets stressful in life. I just need to remember to come back here and read this and remind myself that I am having fun, that is why I run, because I like it, it makes me happy and not just to go hard or go home!