You Became Slower, Got Fat, and Lost Faith. 6 Ways to Begin…Again

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became slower, got fat, lost faith, begin again

I just completed an 8.95 mile run (.05 miles left? I didn’t know until the cool down…), and you may be thinking, that’s awesome man, keep it up. Except that was not the goal, and I’ll likely pay for it in the morning, especially because I haven’t gone that far in nearly 3 months. But there’s so much more than the run that I learned along the way, a continuation in this hard knock school of recovery.

Begin Where You Are

Not where you left off. Not where you’d like to be, but here, now, where you are, and stop being ashamed. I’m talking about folks like me who haven’t had a serious run or training session in three months or more due to injury or just lack of discipline.

You aren’t as fast or fit as you were, and that sucks, but it isn’t about the glory days, it’s about the days ahead, and today is your new horizon, your Day 1. Embrace the suck, embrace where you are, and take your first step.

Ignore the Numbers (Mostly)

At my peak I was running 10 miles at a mid-to-high 7 min/mile pace and doing well at the races. Not bad, and yeah it was fun being quick, strong, and nimble, but I’m not that person anymore.

In fact, I’m more like this:

 

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When at my peak, I was like this:

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But you know what? That doesn’t matter. My run today was long, clocking in at 1:28, and it was slow and steady, but I didn’t think anything of those numbers because it would rob me of perspective. What matters is that we rise up and go. You will not be the person you were. That effigy of yourself collapsed long ago. Now, focus on building a new, stronger foundation.

It’s All In Your Head

Something else that occurred during the run: I never bonked, never cramped, never stopped. In the growing market of OCR training we forget that mental fortitude, the ability to push ourselves when the trail and course gets tough, is the best ally. If you can’t get your head past the idea of pushing yourself for a few hours, your chiseled beach body isn’t going to mean crap.

Today, I ran slow, I ran steady, and because my head remained in the game, my body remembered how to endure.

Maybe You Deserved Injury

I know I did. Humility isn’t being weak, it’s knowing who you are, your limitations, and strategically attacking them. Maybe your injury came because you pushed too hard, too soon, or because you’re a show off and know-it-all. Who knows, but it was your body’s way of saying enough is enough.

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This time build a base that matters and leave your pride in the grade school sandbox where it belongs.

Remember the Good Times. Be Thankful

Something else that happened today: I smiled. The run was a pleasure and a blessing. I remembered what it felt like to have a blast while training for the sport I love. Removing the pressure of numbers and stats meant I looked around more, paid attention to the sights, smells, and sensations of exercise. It was also a moment of gratitude and humility. My cocky ass got hurt more than once, and I don’t feel like I deserve the privilege of training, but I’ve been given another chance.

Don’t take fitness for granted. Show gratitude each day by sharing the joy. Wave and smile at drivers and porch sitters. Teach others. The feels you receive add a little bounce in your stride.

As you rebuild your base, re-live the joy and make a point of never letting it go, because one day you won’t be able to race, but the joy of the run remains.

Lastly, This Guy…

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While others are posting memes of lions and other strong, monstrous creatures destroying goals and obstacles, I want to leave you with this turtle. I came across him during my run and immediately understood what all this esoteric mental meandering really means.

We may have put on some weight, lost some discipline, but we have two choices: We can either let those extra pounds smoother us in a shell of guilt and shame, dragging it around and hiding, or we can change our perspective, rise up, and treat those pounds like a weighted vest as we begin our new fitness journey.

Remember what Telepopmusik said, and let this be your mantra:

“Just Breath

Just Believe

Another Day”

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