The other day, my husband and I were in bed next to each other when he put his hand on my stomach.
“You know I think you are much hotter right now than you are in marathon condition,” he said.
Of course, because I am female, I started to take it the wrong way (You think I am fat, do you?) but I quickly regrouped and realized he was right. I do look more like the woman he married, the more voluptuous, womanly woman who was proud of her curves. Until I started running.
I am not sure I am meant to have a hard runner’s body. I am soft and curvy and to be honest, that has never been a hindrance in my life. When I look at bodies, I can admire a hard body, but I find Marilyn Monroe-types much more physically appealing.
So, why have a strayed so far from my roots? Marathoning. It’s a Bee-yotch.
I have returned to running (I did 16 miles this week), but I am in a sweet spot where my life is still full of good exercise and runs that make me happy, but I am not spending hours away from the family, a slave to my Garmin and obsessed with my body fat. And while I still weigh the same as I did a few months ago, my body has returned to its more natural state, which is a bit curvier than my “marathon body” and if I am being honest, I agree with my husband’s assessment.
I am much more me when I am a bit more voluptuous. I like food and I like creature comforts. When I am not running marathons, I am happier. I have more time to devote to work, which I am finding very invigorating right now and also more time to spend with my family and everyday I am more reminded of how lucky I am to have them.
This is all a long way of saying, it has been hard to get back into running again.
I started running again on Tuesday of this week, which has been both good and bad. I knew it would be a slow start, but I was not sure how slow it would really be. I have not been bothering to use my Garmin because I knew it would be slow-going and I suspect that is a positive thing for my peace of mind.
It has been in the mid-to-upper 80’s in Boston this week and while I am not complaining (I love the summer), it has not been an easy transition back to running. Plus, I developed what appears to be plantar fasciitis in my left heel (Why heels? Why?)
My first run back was a planner four and ended up as three and my second was the same. Today was the first day I was able to get in the full four with no walking. My times have been about an 8:30 pace, but even that has felt hard.
I am not all that motivated to go back into training mode, which is why it is probably a good thing that I have a race date for this fall, otherwise I might be tempted to just keep up my four-milers.
I still love running. I love is that no matter how you leave the house, you never return the same, good or bad.
You can be in a horrible mood, angry at the world and three miles in, you are in love with every dog, old lady and panhandler you pass. Or, you can be in a lovely mood, thrilled to hit the open road and one bad song on your iPod crosses paths with one sanctimonious dog walker and you are suddenly full of rage.
Something about running always pushes my emotions to the extreme. I love that. It is my time. But I only need about an hour of it. Three hour runs at 6 a.m. on Sunday morning are just overkill.
I feel past the point of having something to prove. I know I am blessed and lucky to have these things in my life that have nothing to do with running and I know I can fit them all in with less running.
So, I am back. And I will train again and I will try to enjoy it because I think this marathon? Is the last for a while.
Sasha Brown-Worsham is a writer, a mother and an unabashed, unashamed runaholic. Check her progress each week as she trains to qualify for the Boston Marathon.