Thursday, January 9, 2014

Attitude of Gratitude

Runners bitch.  A lot.  We gripe about our runs (too hilly, too fast, too slow, too rainy, too cold, too hot).  We gripe about our weight (too heavy, not enough muscle tone).  We list the litanies of our physical sufferings (foot, ankle, shin, calf, quad, glutes, core).  We talk about our GI problems in great, disgusting detail, and other runners actually listen to this crap!  (See what I did there?)  Why, just the other day, I actually POSTED ON FACEBOOK that my left butt cheek hurt.  Who really wants to know that?  You know who?  Runners.

This is EXACTLY how I look when my left leg is killing me.

After five months of no running, no cardio, no fun, and lots of drinking, I am back in the game.  Boy, that game is tough.  Last Sunday I went on a trail run in Peninsula with my friends from The Ohio Runners Network.  I knew we would be running slowly (because it's a trail), and I thought the soft surface of the snowy trail would be a great way for me to try a long run.  Also, I'm an idiot.

We started with a big hill.  Then I slipped with both feet into an icy stream while trying to cross.  At that point we were at mile 2, so I knew there was no turning back.  I went forward, and you know what?  I survived, and it was ok.  I even kept up with the group.

TORN members slogging up the hill.  I took the picture so I could catch my breath before climbing.  Plus, my socks were wet.

This is EXACTLY how I look when I am happy to survive a trail.  With wet, frozen feet.  I'm in the purple jacket, hamming it up.

What does this have to do with gratitude?  Hang on, I'm getting there.  Geez, you're so impatient!

This morning I went for a run around the neighborhood.  It seemed like this was not going to be a great run:  icy sidewalks and 15 degree temps.  My running peeps had gone earlier in the morning, and they had posted that it had been a mistake.  This put me in a trepidatious mood, to say the least, and it really affected the run.  The cold air made breathing difficult, and that made running difficult.  There was no ice on the streets, so I decided to stay in my immediate neighborhood instead of doing our normal 4-mile loop.  This, of course, gave me an excuse to cut the run to 3 miles.

I started feeling really bad.  I kept glancing at my Garmin (mistake), and I kept comparing my pace to my old pace.  I tried to focus on the music and my feet, which helped for a little bit.  Finally, I just promised myself that I would walk as soon as I hit three miles.  When I did hit three miles, I could see my house, so I made myself keep running until I got there, so at least I added another .26 miles.  I was sweaty, out of breath, and I felt like vomiting.  I felt defeated until I actually remembered to turn on my brain.

Wait a minute. . .I'm upset because running was hard today?  Three months ago, I thought running would be IMPOSSIBLE. Today I did three miles!  I didn't stop, and my foot didn't hurt!  I am healthy; I can get back my strength and stamina.

I am grateful.  Life is good.  This year I resolve to remember that.

On a final note, I did have a reminder on the trail of how lucky I am to run, even with frozen, soaked feet.

Meet my friend, Lucky.
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