The Joy in Going Back to the Beginning

This summer, I went into hibernation – not from running, but from talking about running.
I felt like I had nothing – and everything – to say.
After my DNF at Big Sur, I vowed to start from the beginning, as if I had never run before. What would I do if I were just picking up the sport and wanted to be a different runner?

I had tried the restart before, but it never worked. I was always pulled in to thinking I had to log more miles or chase bigger goals. I always felt like I had to rah-rah-rah myself to a grander dream.

This time, though, I think I learned to drop all of the self-imposed noise – the pressure to find what’s next, to try to climb a larger wall, to do something different. And I found a new starting line – the original starting line.

My reset button has included the holy trinity of speed, tempo, and distance, but in a way I’ve never done them before. My speed is aggressive, but very short. My tempo is aggressive, but very short. My distance is very short, but aggressive. Each time out, I try taking another bite – adding seconds to the fast runs, shaving seconds from the long ones.

I’m finally feeling like the cliché I’ve been chasing – taking one run at a time and enjoying the strength and satisfying pain that comes with each one. In the last six weeks, I am nowhere near where I want to be, but I’m inching there. And I feel good every time out.

Maybe it’s because I know that every run will be a little bit better than the last one. Maybe it’s because I’ve taken a timeout from major goals and focused on minor ones. Maybe it’s because I’ve stayed consistent and integrated a couple of swims and lifts every week as well.

Maybe it’s because I needed a smack in the face to give myself a kick in the butt.

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