A few weeks ago I silently celebrated the anniversary of the knee surgery that made my running possible. This is a lot to celebrate, especially when I thought I wasn’t ever going to be able to run again.
It took me a long time to think of myself as a runner. For ages- long weeks when my longest “run” was two miles- I wouldn’t even tell anyone I was trying. I hated every run, but I followed my little plan to increase the time I spent running each time, and my BRF pulled me along by pointing out every bird we passed.
I had said my goal was a 5K. My BRF and I ran one together, and I was ready to quit right after, but she talked me out of it. Because she and Sam loved running so much, I gave it one more chance.
Four miles was the magic distance for me. After I could run four miles, something clicked. Was it the mileage? Or maybe my head needs at least 45 minutes to hit the reset button? I still hate the first half mile of (almost) every run, but now, even if I’m only going 2 miles, I come home glad I went.
Look! A bird!
I have so many patients whose bodies are tired. I encourage them to start just by walking, but in our culture of fitness obsession, they are too self-conscious to start, especially to start slowly. I think about my own first runs- how silly I felt, how sure I was that every “real” runner I passed (and there are a lot of them here in Denver!) was judging how slow I was and how jiggly my belly was- and I wish I could go back and tell me that it doesn’t matter. If they have enough breath to judge you with, they’re not running fast enough.
Each step I took these past four years is a gift. Each bird I see as I run is a blessing. I wish you many steps, many miles, many birds- one by one by one