Monday, February 01, 2010

Sometimes Definitions Surprise Me

What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the days gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate. - John Bingham, running writer and speaker

I've been running for a number of years now. I'd have to look it up, but I believe I am at 7. It might be 8. The first few years I ran 5k races. Before Xander was conceived, I ran a couple of 10k events. Between the boys, I ran my first half marathon. And this past year I ran two more half marathons.

Even by my own definitions, in my own plodding way, I am a runner. I live to put on my shoes and pace off miles. In the rain or snow or winds. There is almost nothing in the world that is more beautiful that running in the fall, with crunchy leaves underfoot. The smell of it follows me in my dreams. Although, these days, I dream of the smell of grass growing. That earthiness of spring.

So, for almost a decade now, I have marked the seasons by running new and old paths. Smelling and seeing and soaking in the world.

But I have spent a lot of time benched over the last 18 months. Very frustrating that, because I spent almost a year before it benched due to pregnancy. (Let me just say that running can be very safe when pregnant and I ran in the winter and into my 5th month with Xander, but with Liam I bled early on and was benched. He's worth it, despite my sleep complaints.) I've battled plantar fascitis, IT band injury, and now a torn spot in my hip flexor. Frustrating.

But even in my frustration I learn things.

I've been talking to my coach and to a friend's personal trainer. My coach said something beautiful...

Don't throw in the towel, this is the plight of many distance runners. We need to learn patience as we re-hab injuries along the way. Of course we also need to learn the lesson of always listening to our bodies and not training through sour pain.  Sometimes it's hard to figure out sweet and sour pain but ultimately that is our lesson so that we don't continue to run when we are injured or it just turns into chronic injury.
Yes, lessons. For sure. And I am not the most patient person to ever walk the earth, so mine is a lesson in patience too.

And my friend's personal trainer said something about "endurance athletes".

I've been chewing on his "endurance athletes" and my coach's "distance runners". Wondering when and how I got from being the little girl who holed up with books to this athlete. I still love books. I am still not the person who will play tennis or racketball (I just do not have the coordination for ball and stick sports). And no one in my high school class would believe it to know that I am the one out there running 10, 15, 20 kilometers on a Sunday morning. And yet, this is me. It is my heart and my reality.

Even when I am benched and all I can do is long for it and plan for the next time. Because the next time will come. Because I am an endurance athlete...a distance runner. It's not a resolution. I run because I have to, because my heart beats for this very reason. Even when my shoes are on the shelf and my hip aches too much to do it...this week.


Lisa said...

This is fantastic! I love your writing and can see why you are a professional! <3

Laura said...

Thanks so much Lisa. XOXOXOX

Leslee Horner said...

Growing up I hated running. I have this weird thing that happens when I run. Once the blood gets moving, my legs get itchy. But if I keep moving enough I can work past it. So around 2001, I stumbled upon a workout partner that forced me to run (even through the itchy leg syndrome). He said running was the only way to go with my cardio. So I got used to it, got pretty good at it and even started to enjoy it. Then my knees started hurting. I bought braces and kept running. Eventually I threw in the towel when it got to the point that I couldn't even squat down because my knees hurt so much.

I was in the best shape of my life during my brief stint as a runner. I have luckily found something now that is almost as effective. Spinning!

(I'm also noticing as I get ready to publish this comment that it does not allow me to link to my wordpress blog. I set up a blogger account but never used it. Oh well.)

日月神教-向左使 said...