Last Sunday morning I woke up at 7am. I was scheduled to run 40 minutes for the first time in months.
I woke up excited to tackle a new distance but I also felt slightly out of sorts. I don't usually feel that way and I couldn't figure out what the problem was. I just knew that I was not entirely comfortable with something to do with my upcoming run.
As we lay in bed enjoying a few quiet moments before starting the day, Doug asked me where I was going to run. I immediately felt a flash of annoyance.
I responded with "well, three loops of our neighbourhood is 35 minutes so I guess I'll just tack on an extra five minutes".
Doug gently suggested that I should consider driving out to Grapeview School, parking the car and heading out into the country.
I became even more irritated at the world.
I hate not knowing what's causing me to feel something so I tried to figure it out as I got dressed. I had no problem looping my neighbourhood for 35 minutes but the thought of doing it for 40 was enough to drive me batty.
And yet the thought of running 20 minutes in one direction, surprisingly, scared me. I have not been more than 750 metres from home during a run since I was first injured in October.
That, folks, would be what you call the 'aha moment'.
I was scared. I was scared to run down a long stretch of road. I was scared to trust my legs. I was scared to run alone.
Thankfully, when I get scared, my stubborn side takes over. Which meant that, because Doug suggested it and I was too proud to admit my fears, I was going to get in my damn car and drive out to my old running grounds.
For the first time since my marathon dream ended I was going to run up and down Third street. Up and down the two hills, past the familiar farms and fields. Right past the 5k turn around sign that new runners smack in celebration of making it that far and around the corner to the top of the Gregory Road hill. And then I was going to turn around and run all the way back to my car.
So I did.
And it was lovely. The sun was shining, the birds were signing - it really was that nauseatingly lovely.
I listened to my music, I thought about all those long summer runs, and I didn't cry once. I think I'm past the part where I feel sad for what I lost and I'm at the spot where I just feel happy for what I have worked my way back to. That's a good place to be.
On Tuesday morning, I had to run 40 minutes before work. I didn't have time to drive back to Third Street so I left my house and headed out to do a big loop instead of just looping my neighbourhood. I ran down the stretch of road that had been the start of many a 2.5+ hour run. The road and the time of day felt so familiar that my body was surprised (and somewhat disappointed) when I turned towards home instead of heading out to the country for a few more hours.
I think the biggest hurdle when overcoming an injury is overcoming all the mental barriers that get put up. Bodies can heal but sometimes the mind and the heart take a little longer.
I think I'm almost there.