Hello, Friends! It feels good to be writing again, even though constructing sentences feels as clunky as my running has of late. But clunky running doesn't always have to be negative. Sometimes taking a break is exactly what's needed.
I spent my summer rehabbing a painful bout of acute hip bursitis. For those unfamiliar, bursitis is basically when your bursa, a natural pocket of fluid that provides the body with cushion, becomes inflamed. It's a stubborn injury that cut weeks off my marathon training. My progress went from "run the marathon faster" to "run without pain". Fall 2021 would have been my 8th NYC Marathon, and my 10th marathon overall, but, days before the race, I cancelled my entry. And as soon as I hit that cancel button, I felt relief.
I also started canceling everything.
A 15k race was cut from my calendar in early December, after I realized I didn't remember the last time I ran 6 miles, let alone nine. I canceled a 5k due to having a tiny (not COVID) cold. Zero guilt backing out of all of these.
I spent a few weeks after the marathon just allowing myself space to be. I went on a few runs, just enjoying the cool air on my face, no pressure. I realized in retrospect that my training cycle didn't have the joy it usually has, walking a tightrope to get the hard training in, but not hard enough to go into a painful relapse. Any elation I would normally feel after hitting those distance markers (16, 18, 20 miles) was just not there. Instead of wallowing in any musings of what I didn't do, I focused on what I could do.
I was able to revisit an old love of mine just a few weeks after the marathon--hot vinyasa, my first hot class since pre-Covid days. No longer did I have to put my physical yoga practice on the back burner due to high mileage I needed to hit or essential recovery.
I felt so much happiness moving my body pain-free, discovering new ways to position my feet and stabilize. Though I was less agile than my former self, somehow I felt stronger. There's a saying in yoga: don't worry about what other people are doing on their mats; worry about your own mat. At the front of the class, while everyone else moved in their own flows, I took a child's pose here and there, breathed. Knowing when to take child's pose builds an inner strength that I am finally understanding.
After a few more weeks of just allowing my running to be anything but ego-driven ("carefree", maybe even "numbing" are words I would use to describe those runs), I decided I was ready to come out of my running child's pose. I'm ready for structure, ready to follow a plan like I would in a yoga class--guided, but my own pace, my own flow, and as many rest days as I need.
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Angie Knudson runs in her free time and makes people exercise for a living.