After months of illness and injury, I am on a comeback and I have to admit, comebacks are not all they are cracked up to be. A year ago, I was in the best shape of my life and felt more confident about my running than Ihad ever felt. This year, though, having taken off a good deal of the spring to recuperate, I have found myself doubting. Was I really that fit? If I was, is it possible to be there again? And if so, is it worth all of the work it will take?
In the past few weeks, my progress has been slow, my workouts have been tough and there has been some form of pain in every run. Any joy I had found in running in the past seemed to have been buried under that cloud of doubt. As a marathoner, I have learned to fight through walls. So, I pressed on. Each day, I laced up my shoes and headed out the door in search of that joy.
This past Sunday, I found the joy again but with it came something I had forgotten about. There is more to running than joy. On Sunday, I headed out the door for an easy ten mile run. I wasn’t sure how I would feel. I wasn’t even sure if I could complete it, but I headed out anyway. The first five miles I ran with a seed of doubt in my mind. When would this run fall apart like so many of the others. At the turn around, I noticed though, that the pain in my foot had stopped. I actually felt good for the first time in months but, more importantly, I had found the answer to my doubts. Suddenly, as I was heading back home, up three miles of steady hills, into a headwind that would make even my sister swear, the cloud lifted and I knew I could finish the run. And there was the answer I had been searching for. It isn’t just the joy that comes with running, it is the strength.
There is a strength that comes with running, not just a physical strength but a mental one. After having trained for and run marathons for the past thirteen years, I have gained a strength that makes it all worth while. The strength comes in the knowledge that, yes, I can run ten miles. Hell, I can run 15, 20 and 26.2 miles. There is a strength in that knowledge. Because if I can do that. If I can put in all of the miles it takes ahead of marathon day and I can put in the 26.2 on race day, if I can push through the pain that comes with all of those miles, then I am unstoppable. If I can do that, then anything is possible.
I am on a comeback. Every step will not be easy but that isn’t the point. Now, that the cloud of doubt has cleared, I know that every step will lead to a renewal of that joy and a building of that strength. And that is what makes it all worth while.