I've been a runner for 9 years now. It's become who I am and part of the air I breathe. It's not about putting in time or racking up miles: it's the eagerness to get out there, the memory of echoing footsteps, and the joy that courses through your veins.
I've had a few times when I couldn't run. I stopped about 6 months into my pregnancy for Xander, because I just didn't feel well doing it anymore. And then for 6 months after his birth, because I wasn't healing from that event. I also stopped while I was pregnant for Liam, because I had an early scare. I know that running won't cause me to lose a child, but it was enough to scare me and I just couldn't. I was back at it 6 weeks after his birth though!
When I wasn't running, I was dreaming about running and watching other people run with sheer envy. The first smells of spring make my feet itch. The crinkled smell of dried leaves makes me long for a good pace workout. And even the other day, it was snowing gorgeous chunky flakes and all I could think about was running in it. There's even beauty in those hellishly hot summer days that reminds me that putting one foot in front of the other makes me feel a little bit closer to being airborne.
Although the couple of years after Liam was full of great running events: including 2 half marathons. It was also full of injury. A year ago the third one hit me, as I pulled something in my hip. Nasty!
The psychological toll of those injuries has been far greater than the physical one (and that was no walk in the park either!). I stopped believing that I could do it. I've done a bit here and a bit there over the past few months, but I'm afraid that I can't do it. I am afraid that the word runner no longer applies to me.
I tried to walk on the treadmill at the gym today. Just walk. You know, for 30 minutes and then go home. I managed 10 minutes before I just couldn't take it anymore...I had to run. It didn't matter how fast or long or hard. I had to. And I did. I ended up running for a set of 8 minutes and two sets of 10 minutes. I just couldn't walk.
As I get older, sometimes I realize that some of these things we do are not things we do, but pieces of who we are.