Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The first run is the toughest

The hardest part about running a marathon isn't necessarily the race itself, but rather summoning the motivation to get back out on the running trail after the race is over.

Mind you, I'm not implying that it's physically tougher. No training run could ever match the adrenaline rush that comes with an actual race. I'm instead talking about how mentally tough it is to "get back on the horse" running-wise.

Think about it. Once you sign up for a marathon, it's pretty clear what you're training for and when you're running the race. You develop a training routine, get yourself in shape and prepare yourself mentally for the big day as the race draws near.

But once the marathon is done, the motivation gets more difficult to channel. Your body is sore, you're mentally drained and, more than likely, you're burned out on running. So you take a break from it, but how long do you go until you break out the running shoes again? Like any other activity hiatus, it's hard to get yourself back into it once you've stopped.

This is the dilemma I've been grappling with since Grandma's. I hadn't gone more than a day or two without running since last October. So you can imagine how stir-crazy I'd be after two weeks. I've been keeping active through biking and weightlifting, but running has not been in my routine. There is still some lingering pain in my legs and the blood blister on my foot, much like Rocky Dennis' face, is something that's beyond description.

But, like they always say, sometimes you've got to suck it up and get back out there. So after a workout at the Y a few days ago, I finally snapped out of my slump. I tied my shoelaces tight, stretched out my hamstrings and went for a run, my first real run since Grandma's.

It was far from glorious. It was on a treadmill, it was only 4 miles and I ran it at a pace that I would've considered snail-like during my training days. I have a long way to go to get back to level I was at before Grandma's.

But it's a start.

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