Once upon a time, I was a runner.
After years of living a sedentary lifestyle, in 2008 I started exercising, and in 2009, I began running, something I never thought I would do. I started with the Couch to 5k program, ran in my first 5k race, and I was hooked. While I didn't always love the act of running itself (let's face it, it's HARD), I loved how I felt after finishing a run, and I loved the calorie burn that running provided. From the beginning of my running journey, however, I struggled to gain momentum and find my groove. I would run very consistently for months then either get burned out or get bored. I got in a rut of only running short distances, which prompted me to train for a half marathon that I then decided not to run. After that experience, I took a couple months off from running, and just as I was getting back into a routine, I got pregnant. I ran sporadically for the first trimester and even a little bit in the second before deciding to stick to walking, as running just felt uncomfortable.
After I had Charlotte, I couldn't WAIT to get back into running but struggled to find time to workout when Charlotte was a newborn (and for months after that). I did finally manage to finish Couch to 5k again and ran a 4-miler on my 30th birthday that October, but then my running fell off until the new year, when I decided to try yet again to complete a half marathon. Training for a half the second time around was really a wonderful experience. I enjoyed my runs a lot more and felt confident and ready to meet my goal. I finally crossed that half marathon finish line in March 2012 and felt on top of the world. Still, after the race I floundered a bit since I had no real goal to reach for, and my running was rather inconsistent through the summer months. I still managed to run a few races, though, and when fall rolled around, I started to find my running groove again. I set a new 5k PR and came within SECONDS of finishing in under 30 minutes, and a few days after that I ran 4 miles for the first time in months. I was looking forward to the cooler months ahead and thinking about running the Andrew Jackson Half again and maybe even running another half in the latter part of 2013.
Then I got diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, and my running came to a complete halt. For weeks I was so sick that running was impossible and yet I couldn't wait to get back to it. Then, slowly, I started to regain my energy. I was discouraged by the thought of having to start all over with my running and discouraged by the fact that my doctor strongly advised against my doing any more half marathons, but I rang in the new year by running a mile without stopping. I thought I was back on track.
The truth is, though, that the run on January 1 is the only mile I have run nonstop since the year began. Last week I could barely run for four minutes straight on the treadmill. I am so frustrated that I have lost all my endurance, and while I know part of it couldn't be helped because I was sick for a solid two months, if I had been more consistent with my running after that first mile, I wouldn't have lost all of my running base. I truly am back at the beginning again. I don't want to go through Couch to 5k for what seems like the 100th time, but I think I need to. I just can't go out and run a 5k tomorrow, and that kills me.
Not only have I lost my endurance, I have also lost my speed. Before I got sick, I was finally getting faster at races and getting so close to meeting my goal of a sub-30:00 5k, and now I am back to running a 12-minute mile. There is nothing wrong with a 12:00 minute mile except for the fact that I have been there and done that and am ready to move on.
I can't move on, though, if I don't get up and MOVE. It's time to stop whining and start running! I may be starting over, but at least I know that I can do this because I've done it before. I will get my mojo back!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I better get to bed so I can get up and hit the treadmill. :)