The Year I Put the JOY Back in Running…

Running is hard.

It’s hard on your body. Your mind.

Some days, it’s the perfect retreat that allows me to refuel my sanity tank. Some days, it’s a lonely, mentally challenging battle.

Some days, the miles fly by. Some days, the miles draaaaaag.

For the first time, ever, I couldn’t finish a run. My run Sunday, ten miles on the books, sucked. I can list a number of reasons why, but in the end, it just wasn’t one of those glorious, Nike-commercial-esque, sweat free, no jiggle endeavors. It was a funky, sweaty, plodding, grimacing affair.

And I began to wonder why…

I’ve done the train to finish thing.

I’ve done the train to PR thing.

Yes, PR’s are indescribable. You train hard, you sacrifice, and you meet your goal, hopefully.

But you are often ALONE.

Crossing the finish to your own applause.

To this day, my PR races are memorable, but the MOST memorable are those run with friends. AND finished with friends.

There was a time not so long ago that training and running was my number one. I ran at all costs. But I didn’t foresee the burnout. The effect on my body. I didn’t understand how people could train for 13.1 and NOT race. Heh.

Much like everything, you don’t understand until you do.

Nearly every hat I wear in my life: mother, sister, daughter, wife, friend…presents a multitude of challenges everyday. Some are won, some are lost. Some set aside for another day…

This year, my runner hat will only present me with JOY. I will not let it get me down. If I miss a run, I will not feel guilty. If I run a personal best, I will feel proud. If I don’t run a personal best, I will feel the joy in the process, in the moment, in the being there. If I enter a race with friends, I will ENJOY the moment, cherish their company, and thrive in their presence.

As hard as it will be for me, I will not let the numbers dictate my love of running. Instead, I will put the time spent with friends and memories made first.

Bring on the happy, BRFs.

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One Comment on “The Year I Put the JOY Back in Running…”

  1. aliciadifabio says:

    I am so happy I read this!! i’ve noticed that the joy has gone out of running for me. I started a year ago full throttle and full of piss and vinegar and personal bests and, like you said, it became hard on my body. I suffered an overtraining knee injury that took me out of commission for a month. Recently I’ve been drained from early morning runs and its a sacrifice on my family which includes a husband who works 70 hour weeks and four young kids. I am training for the Philly broad Street 10-miler currently and was following a training program where I was running 5 days a week. That’s 5 days at 5:30 am (bc i have no other time to do it with young kids underfoot all day). I was burned out physically and emotionally and completely exhausted. When I stopped following that program, lightened up, and cross-trained so I was only running 3x/week things got much better. Part of me wants to run a personal best but the other part of me wants to run with my 10-11 minute/mile friends and talk the whole way… mb I’ll have a better time if I do the later. THANK YOU for this great post!


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