Well, I hit a milestone last week… My blog turned one.
That first week was a busy one. I had the Shamrock Shuffle race and opening day at Wrigley Field. Then Boston happened. Not only did the running community pull together, but so did the blogging community that I am grateful to be a part of.
I have learned a lot over the past year blogging…
I have learned that I actually CAN talk about running this much
I admit I was hesitant to start a blog where I would talk mostly about running. I thought there was no way I would be able to talk about running so much. I was surprised to learn that it was easier than I once thought. Of course, there are some days where I struggle with finding a topic for a post but overall, it was easier than I thought it would be.
I have learned that I am a runner
I have mentioned a few times before; that I feel like an imposter sometimes. I do not run marathons and rarely do half-marathons. In a given year, my longest distance race is likely to be a 10 mile race and even then, it may not be a recurring thing. But the truth is that I love to run. I may not be the fastest, I may not run the farthest and I will likely never win a race. But, I run almost daily. This hobby that started on a whim one lovely spring day has turned into a passion. I run year round because I truly love it.
I have learned that runners are very accepting and wonderful people
Well, ok, I already knew this but over the past year this has been reinforced. For the longest time, I always had that fear in the back of my mind that I was an imposter. That fear has vanished over the past year with the help of this blog and the wonderful people who are a part of the running blog community. We all have different goals, paces and capabilities. But we are each out there doing the best that we can on any given day. So many people have supported me over the past year with my running regardless of how I did or didn’t do. I have felt accepted and that truly is one of the greatest feelings there is.
I have learned that not everything goes according to plan
Alright, fine, I already knew this… I actually learned this lesson the hard way back in 2011. But, the blog sort of forced me to examine my running and my goals and adjust. Sometimes you get a cold and have to sleep for a week instead of run. Sometimes you feel more aches and pains than you would like and you need that extra rest. Sometimes that longer run just isn’t going to happen so you bail and try again another day. Over the past year, I have made my goals very public and I have had to admit when they didn’t pan out. But that comes with the territory here. Running is NOT always going to be easy. There are good days and bad days. But we need to move past the days and continue to lace up and get back out there. Because really, when everything clicks and we have that magical day where the run is perfect, there is no better feeling.
I have learned what works for me
Back in 2010 when I decided I wanted to run a half marathon, I made the conscious decision to not follow a training plan. Instead, I made up my own and for the most part stuck with it. I admit that I had NO IDEA what the hell I was doing. But at the same time I knew exactly what I was doing. When I made the decision to not follow a plan it was because when I looked at the plans, they were too rigid. Most of them called for running only 3 days a week and mileage was forced into the those three days. I didn’t like that. I had been running 5 days a week with success and I didn’t want to give that up. So I made my own plan but it was more of a loose guideline. Guess what, it worked like a charm for me. And sure, I wasn’t running the half for time but I also never got injured. For the next two years, I tried to follow a “plan” of sorts. Sure, it was still one that I created but it had rigid mileage and it just didn’t work for me. When I started the blog and started looking back at my running successes and failures, I noticed that my running was better when my only goal was to run a certain number of days per week. I made the decision to revert back to that and have had a LOT more success since making that decision but I was still hitting a lot of hiccups. So I decided to change the number of days per week from 4 back to my original 5. This really is what works best for me. The blog forced me to analyze my running by looking at more than just the numbers.
I have learned that my body cannot handle birth control and running
Somewhere in the middle of 2011, I went on birth control to help with my acne problem. It never occurred to me that the little pill would affect more than just my skin. Sure, my skin cleared up but the cost of that was my running suffered. I spent nearly 3 years dealing with horrendous nausea when I ran. No matter I did, I couldn’t avoid the nausea. Those three years where a huge experiment with pace and mileage and diet but nothing worked. It was time to admit what I had suspected all along, that the birth control might be the cause. So I decided on one last experiment, I would go off the birth control and give myself two months to see if the nausea went away. I was worried that this wouldn’t be the answer and I would still get nausea when I ran. But it was worth trying because I was truly at my wits end and it was affecting me a lot more than I admitted. I am lucky because this was the answer I was looking for and the problem has gone away. The anxiety I used to feel is almost completely gone (three years of negative reinforcement is difficult to reverse). My running has gotten better and I just feel better overall. And as an added bonus, my acne issue has not resurfaced either.
It has been a year of learning and growing. There have been ups and downs. But through it all, I keep lacing up and heading out there. I truly love running. And sure, not all the runs are lemon drops and rainbows but that is also life. Running is an incredible metaphor for life.
After all, It Never Gets Easier – You Just Get Better