Thank you to GORE-TEX for sponsoring today’s conversation and for the new Brooks running shoes. This post contains affiliate links.
First – what exactly is GORE-TEX? Well, it’s a super-durable fabric – it’s waterproof, windproof, breathable, and engineered to last for a long time. Even if you’ve never heard of it, chances are some of your favorite brands use it. GORE-TEX is used in jackets, clothing, gloves, hats, and even in shoes – like the waterproof liners in my beautiful new Brooks Ghost 9 GTX® Shoes:
They’re waterproof, pink, and fit like a glove. Yes, please.
GORE-TEX is hosting a huge giveaway event with weekly prizes and an amazing grand prize. To enter, they want to hear how you #OwnTheRun. I’ll talk more about that in a minute (but if you can’t wait, click HERE for details).
In anticipation of the giveaway event, GORE-TEX invited a handful of bloggers, myself included, to talk about conquering excuses and what we do to “own the run.” This is a challenging topic for me, since I’ve been unable to run (due to back injury, surgery, and recovery) for about 10 months now. I mean, how do I “own” something I can’t even do?
I’ve been giving this a lot of thought…and I’m learning that my feelings about running are, well, complicated. In the grand scheme of things, I was a runner for a very short period of time – my running career spanned only 4 of my 42 years of life. But in those 4 years, I accomplished a lot. I went from being a non-runner to a 2 time marathon finisher. I ran probably a dozen other races, including a bunch of half marathons. And perhaps most importantly, I practiced the discipline required to train for a sport – which was a big deal for a non-athlete like me.
Running was woven into the fabric of my everyday life. And more than anything, running became part of my identity. I am a wife, a mom, a blogger, and a runner.
But I can’t run. Which begs the question – am I still a runner?
Well, the truth is – I don’t know.
My surgeon is optimistic that I’ll be able to run again. From our first consultation, he predicted that I’d make a complete recovery – including a return to running.
My recovery has gone very well so far, and all signs indicate that my surgeon was right – that given enough time, I will return to my pre-surgery, pre-spondy self.
Several members of my spondylolisthesis support group have successfully returned to running post-fusion.
I’m in good health, and I’ve stayed fit & active despite not running for the last 10 months.
So, it would seem, the odds are in my favor that someday I’ll be able to run again.
If I dig deep and listen verrry carefully…there is a little voice asking whether I WANT to run again.
There. I said it.
Running is hard. It takes work and discipline and training. It requires sacrifice. When I first had to stop running, it left empty spaces in my life. But in time, I’ve filled those spaces with other things – things that I’ve grown to love, things that have become part of my identity, just like running once did. If/when I start running again, I’ll have to make room in my life for it. I’ll have to make sacrifices. Will I have to give up sleeping until 8:00 on a Saturday morning? Walking on the beach? Yoga? Family time?
Do I even want to?
The truth is – and this is hard to admit – I just don’t know. If and when I’m physically ready to run, I don’t know if I’ll be up for the mental challenge. I don’t know if I’ll be willing to make the same sacrifices I once did. I don’t know whether I’ll be able to conquer my ego and start from scratch. I loved running. Have I fallen out of love with it?
But here’s the thing. I don’t need to know right now. My body isn’t ready to run. I still have time. Time to heal, time to think, time to keep an open mind. Time to just let things be for now.
And that, friends, is how I plan to #OwnTheRun – by not giving up on it. Not now, and maybe not ever. I own my run simply by being a runner.
Okay. Now for the giveaway stuff. From now until 11/8/16, GORE-TEX is giving away a pair of running shoes with waterproof GORE-TEX liners every week – and one grand prize winner will get a new pair of shoes PLUS running shorts, running pants, a jacket, headphones, and more!
Entering is easy. Just go to www.gore-tex.com/owntherun and share what you will overcome to #OwnTheRun. If you want (just for fun), share your answers in the comments too – because I love you, and also because I’m a little nosy. Go enter now. Good luck!!!
Love your honesty! It’s a feeling that I’ve felt before but like you said, you have time in your recovery to decide. You are definitely an inspiration!
Thank you, Virjinia, that really means so much. xo
I understand the conflicted feelings. But one thing to keep in mind is that you can return to running, but not return to marathoning. 5-10ks are fun and less time consuming to train for.
You are so right! I need to get the “all or nothing” thing out of my head. I think I’ve always focused more on distance running because I have endurance, not speed. But that doesn’t mean it’s all I can do.
Albert Ugelow aka Dad says
In one sense I enjoyed the time off from that was forced on me each time I was injured or had surgery. It gave me a chance to see some of the people and things I had missed while being intensely focused on my running. However, at the same time I missed my running and how I felt with each running accomplishment. I always felt that being a runner defined in part who I was. In the end I always returned to my running, but I think each time with a little less intensity. It is not a failing if you decide not to return to running, it just means you want to go in another direction.
Thanks, Dad. There’s definitely a part of me that doesn’t want to disappoint you. I like having this in common with you. But like Chrissy said (below), it doesn’t have to be marathons or nothing at all. I can find a happy medium. xoxo