Here’s a hard truth: getting back into shape isn’t easy, or glamorous, or fun, or sexy. It isn’t quick, it isn’t painless, and it isn’t pretty.
This is what it is: it’s staying in on a Saturday night so you can hydrate and get enough sleep before a long run that is exactly a quarter of the distance you used to run on long run days. It’s convincing yourself that that run even matters, short as it is. It’s convincing yourself to take that run seriously, short as it is.
It’s wearing compression socks under your jeans to work, hoping your over-worked legs will miraculously feel better by the time your run rolls around. It’s using every mental trick you know – just get to that lamppost, just get to that fire hydrant, just get to your street – to keep yourself running when they don’t.
It’s rolling out a mat and doing core work at the foot of your bed after you run, even though you’d rather be in that bed, preferably watching Netflix with a glass of wine. It’s doing yoga videos alone in your basement. It’s bringing your foam roller with you wherever you go, and trying to laugh it off when your friends make fun of you, again, for taking it so seriously.
It’s schlepping it to the gas station during a snowstorm so you can buy two bags of ice. It’s shivering while you carry them inside your house. It’s shivering even harder when you lower yourself into a homemade ice bath and force yourself to sit there for 20 minutes. It’s hoping that it works.
It’s two plates at dinner, trying to make sure you’re eating enough. It’s forcing yourself to drive to the store on a weeknight when you run out of frozen vegetables. It’s praying that that thing you heard about bananas speeding up recovery is true because everything hurts and you have a run on the schedule and you can’t skip a day because you’ll lose momentum.
It’s learning that momentum is a precious thing – the most precious thing. It’s realizing that it doesn’t matter how bright the fire burns, as long as it’s still alive. It’s dedicating your entire existence to stoking it, in the big ways and the small ways, doing whatever you can to make sure that when you wake up in the morning, you’ve still got a spark to work with.
It’s not easy. It’s not glamorous. It’s not fun, or sexy, or quick, or painless. It really, truly is not pretty.
But I have to believe it will be worth it.
Sorry I’ve been MIA. Been keeping quiet, putting in work, trying to earn the right to toe the line again (or even just to be able to work out again). Coming back to this space as often as I can!
Hope everyone’s running is going well 🙂