It’s been over a month. I was supposed to feel fine by now. I was supposed to be running for the first time again. I was supposed to be feeling the crisp winter air in my lungs as I discovered a new neighborhood in Boston.
Instead, I’m trying not to count the days since my last run. I’m trying not to think about how I want to register for the Brooklyn Half next month despite the nagging pain in my left heel. Most of all, when I have a bad day, I’m trying not to end it by saying “I’ll run it off tomorrow” because I can’t.
I don’t want to end up with a permanent injury, if I don’t have one already. That’s why I’m trying to be serious about this, much more so than I was in the past year.
Growing up, I heard the word “persevere” often. Whether it was in the classroom or in ballet, you were supposed push through, no matter what adversity you faced.
And I think that’s why it took me so long to give up running in the first place. It’s ingrained in me to push harder, run faster, be stronger. And being strong for myself allows me to be strong for others, something that has become especially challenging for me right now.
We often don’t talk about jealousy openly because we’re not supposed to covet. But I’d be lying if I said that every time I look out my window and see someone running I’m not jealous. I want to be out there.
It took me so long to build my endurance and speed up to the point I was at, and every day, I feel like I’m losing that.
I was never “lightning fast”, but running a 7:07 mile back in 2017 put me in beast mode for quite a few weeks. This year, I wanted to break 7 minutes.
I came within 2 minutes of my personal half marathon record when I ran a 2:21 at the Brooklyn Half in May. I was surprised I came that close to my PR since I was running on the balls of my feet to avoid putting any more impact on my heel.
When I think about what I accomplished running, I know that it’s a lot. I know that while I was out there, I gave it everything. I’ll never forget the many evenings I came in from work and iced my I injuries or the times I vomited on the side of the trail after sprinting. It hasn’t been a glamorous journey, but it was immensely transformative.
And I know that I need to stop envying the people outside my window. For all I know, they could be running in pain, like I was for nearly a year and then some.
Above all, I want to journey again, physically and mentally. There is just something unparalleled about that experience that I find myself missing.
It feels odd to be closing out the year without a landmark race in mind for 2019, but it is what it is. What I will focus on is finding the journey again. Something that will challenge my whole being. Something that will push me to be better than I am today. Both for myself and for others.