Since moving to Pittsburgh in August, I’ve been spending a lot of time in my running shoes. For a number of reasons – working from home, lack of mountain adventures, abundance of time on my own – I’ve been able to really prioritize running and fitness again and it feels great.
In years past, I loved training for and running races. I ran my first half marathon in 2009 and then ran 3 more in the year that followed alongside various 5ks and 10ks. As one of my best friends, Sarah, put it, ‘If you work really hard to get into long distance running shape, why wouldn’t you just stay there?’ So that’s exactly what I did!
Until I had knee surgeries (not related to running; I have Osteochondritis Dissecans in both knees – see Osteochondritis Dissecans posts here), I always had a race training plan pinned up at my office desk and dutifully crossed off my mileage as I finished my runs.
Alex moved to Denver just before my knee surgeries and after I’d recovered, I wanted to spend my weekends playing in the mountains with my soon-to-be husband, not using all of my free time to run long miles. So running slid to the back burner while all things mountains jumped squarely to the front. But now? No mountains and no husband with free time. And I’m in a new city so what better way to learn how to get around than by running it!
So that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m running around my neighborhood. I’m running at the parks. I’m running with the local running store run club. I’ve signed up for races (ran a 5k in September) and am building training plans. And it feels really, really good!
For the first time in, ohh 18 months?, I charged up my ancient Garmin watch and ran. I signed up for a Thanksgiving Day 10k so got out for a timed 4 mile run to get a gauge on my speed as well as fatigue ahead of the race.
I surprised myself by my pace (not super speedy but speedier than I’d expected) and also how not tired I felt afterward. #Winning
And last night’s run club was a 4 mile loop that 2 months ago would have terrified me – running with speedy friends for 4 miles? ACK! But last night, I kept up and was even able to be conversational with my friends. #DoubleWinning!
In this new chapter of my life, there are a lot of things I still miss from ‘my old life’ but this is one aspect I really love and appreciate. After years of saying, ‘I really want to make time to run but I’m just so busy!’ or signing up for races as incentive to train – but then not training and not running the race – I’m happy to be in a time and place where I’m able to prioritize my fitness and running again. I forgot exactly how therapeutic a long run can be!