The Long Run – Flying Solo

Over the past few weeks, I have been able to gradually built up the mileage of my long run. The long run, to me, is the key in feeling like more like my old (pre-hip surgery) self again. However, the problem with running now is that because I still don’t feel “normal,” I really need the distraction of others to take my mind off my frustrations and to keep me running. Unfortunately, there aren’t always people available to run with and I am still too uncertain about my abilities on any given day to jump back in for any significant distance with my old running group.

After a complete waste of a day yesterday (it was rainy and I was in quite a “mood” – so I literally sat around binge watching Orphan Black) I knew that I needed to get my run in today no matter what. So when yet again, nobody was available to run with distract me, I laced up my shoes and hit the pavement on my own.

While I have always preferred company on my long runs, I never used to have a problem completing them on my own. I have ran as long as 22 miles by myself before – so this morning’s 12 miler should have been no big deal. But admittedly, I was scared. Scared of my leg acting up. Scared of coming face-to-face with how much fitness I have lost. Scared of spending almost 2 hours stuck with these discouraging thoughts.

But I did it. I forced myself to run at an “easy” pace at the beginning because I knew that an “easy” pace wouldn’t feel easy a few miles in (I was right). I find pacing long runs especially difficult when I am by myself because I tend to go out too quickly just to get the run over with. I also ran around my neighborhood rather than at the local trail, so the scenery was more concrete and construction than trees and shrubbery.

Aside from the scenery, the run itself wasn’t pretty either. I looped around my neighborhood so many times, it took all of my willpower not to stop each time that I got within a quarter-mile radius of my house. But I kept reminding myself that: (1) I was capable of doing this and (2) if I cut the run short, I would regret it as soon as I could breathe again. Another hard thing about pushing yourself after injury is learning the difference between injury pain and out-of-shape pain. While there is still undoubtedly some of the former, the reason I wanted to stop so bad was the latter. Since stopping when you feel out of shape isn’t going to help you get back into shape I decided I should probably just keep going.

Run, done. Nap, now.