I last raced on January 10th, 2016.
It is now June of 2017.
As a competitive athlete with a competitive mindset to training, this has been torturous. You go through days, weeks, months of an inability to race or even train to race, and you wonder if you’ll ever get back to any semblance of normalcy. I’ve been cleared to run on and off, yes, but have not been cleared to train fast or race. So I’ve taken to running when I can alongside teammates to help them PR (one of my favorite things to do for runners, ever!). It’s one of the most meaningful experiences that I enjoy having the capability to do (I’m probably one of the biggest cheerleaders in this sport, EVER lol!).
But it’s hard to do that for so long & not be able to race yourself. It’s hard to start again when you left off getting so close to your PRs. And every time I get back to it, it’s a struggle. It’s been over a year. Over a year since I’ve raced. Over a year since all of this mess started. So many false starts. So many times I said, okay, now I’ll be able to train again. And each time I’ve been back to pain. Of course running is hard. Training is hard. Without the difficulty of it, there’s no strength gained. You cannot become a better version of yourself if you do not push yourself past the limits. Whining, complaining, crying on the ground that you have speedwork to do- not in my running world. You lose the battle before you even begin if you go into it thinking you can’t.
By not being able to run & train as I normally do, I’ve currently lost my body’s shape & tone. When your measurements are the reason you book work, this ends up being a problem. I don’t like that my body isn’t quite nearly as functional in terms of racing & being as strong as it used to be. But if you don’t like something about yourself- change it. I have a term for when someone is unhappy with their weight/body/fitness – I call it feeling “floofy”. I know that my body composition isn’t fit (what muscle?!). I know when I’ve been eating poorly I feel so floofy if I haven’t been training (give me all of the Pringles & cheeseburgers! 😂) But I also know that to the average outside observer, I look fit. *I* know my body isn’t fit. In fact, I could barely get through the 20 min #IronStrengthNYC session of workouts prescribed by my current treating physician, Dr. Jordan Metzl, MD of Runner’s World, when I first was evaluated. The old race shape me could’ve done these workouts twice a day easily. But the floofy me? Couldn’t get through the first two sets of push-ups. Floofy looks different for everyone. Any body type & shape can feel floofy, no matter how fit or unfit one looks to an observer. It’s when you know you’re not at your best. And I sure as hell am not. Remember, strong looks different on everyone. And the aim is to be strong & fierce, not #skinnyfat (which is technically what I am at the moment).
It’s now Ramadan, and this time of the year can be exhilarating to train. To know that you’re still keeping fitness priorities even while being faithful. Two years ago I even raced during the month! It wasn’t easy, but it was so amazing to know that my body could handle it with a proper warmup, cooldown, strides, stretches… (And I drank ALL OF THE WATER when we broke fast!). So far this year it’s been quite tiring – I have a lot going on at the moment. Trying to train has just not been in the schedule (excuses, I know). Getting into a groove with fasting is always an adjustment. But here’s to knowing that the sun is shining on the other side and I will get back to it. Fall down 7 times, get up 8.
I’m not giving up on goals, my friends. And you shouldn’t either.
One love. Run love. Xo.