Instead of devoting the month of January to my running resolution, I spent the weeks dying. I picked up a rather wicked cold while on holiday in England. I did not, however, let even this resilient virus slow me. I hit the workouts with the ravenous desperation of someone who overindulged in every beverage, snack, meal, and dessert on vacation. At my sickest week, I crammed 8 workouts and a rest day into the 7 days. While I kept pushing myself, my performance was borderline tragic, and all it earned me was mutating my English ailment in a raging sinus infection.
I continued to workout more out of a groping for routine and an attempt at mental balance. Unfortunately, I found my crippled state pretty discouraging. Particularly with running. Running seemed to be so impossibly hard and so completely unenjoyable. I was starting to question if maybe my time with running had passed. If I no longer found joy in it, what would the point be? But maybe I should have realized that running 6 miles in the snow was a horrible idea while my sinus were so full of fluid that it was spilling into my ears.
However, pumped full of antibiotics and steroids, I am starting to glimpse health again. After a month, I was beginning to adapt to the illness and forget what it felt like to not be sick. I crested a peak this week though. Suddenly, my workouts felt incredible! Suddenly, I was able to push to my limit and not dissolve into a coughing fit that resulted in compulsive heaving.
It started with zumba yesterday. I danced in motions that felt natural to my body. I lost myself in the melody and the beat until I did not notice my heart racing or sweat pouring. At the end, I realized I was not dying. I finally felt good again. Sated.
Then tonight, I had an amazing run. Trisha and I hit the run club 10K hard, harder than we have in months. The weather was chilled; my lungs were cooperative. At times, it felt like my legs flew unaided.
In the shortest terms, running felt like running again. It was everything I remembered it to be and everything I was missing about it.
My breathing was not strangled; it flowed in a way to fuel me. My form solidified. I found my chest lifted, shoulders rolled down, hips tucked in above legs that found long strides. It felt like all the work I had been doing for months was finally evident. The way I ran just felt right. I even found clouds of float punctuated along the route. It had been so long since I had such a pleasant run that it almost felt foreign.
I know every run will not be this blissful. I know that extremely well. More often than not, the runs will not be so euphoric. However, I also know to take the experience, suck all the joy out of it, and stow it to remember why I do this to myself week after week.
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