Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The best way out is always through. - Robert Frost

Spartan Shape-Up, Day 398:

It's official. I'm a runner.

I don't just run, but I'm a runner.

HOLY SHIT. (sorry. excuse me.)

Oddly enough, it was this stupid ankle injury that has allowed me to come to this realization, BlogLand. All week long I've been nursing this ankle, icing it, taking ibuprofen, trying to stay off it and getting it to heal. Admittedly, I've had a few freak outs at the people close to me in my life, because of the fear that this injury was going to put me far behind in my training and take me out of the game for some of the big races I'd planned on this season.

I won't lie, I had some real fear about "going back to the way I was." Now, I don't mean just gaining weight back, but slowly becoming more complacent with life, letting it pass by, and not being the best version of me. As I sat on the couch, night after night, with ice, unable to go out and do things, this was the cloud of fear that sat with me. What if it just happened? What if my ankle took a long time to heal and I just never got back on track?

Thankfully, I have a lot of amazing people in my life who mentally bitch-slapped me into my right mind. I had Spartans everywhere telling me what I COULD do (upper body WODs, say what?!), I had the CG encouraging me and reminding me that injuries heal and it was temporary, and I had the GT lay it out for me, "You're not the same person anymore. You've changed. You look forward to working out and being active and go stir crazy when you can't. You can't go back. It's too late."
... Which I took as a nice way of telling me to STFU. I'm losing my mind just because I can't do the things I want to do, and the fact that I want to do them so badly is indication that there is no longer "old me" to go back to. While "Old Me" may be a voice in the back of my head sometimes, it's not a way of life I could ever, or will ever just fall back to. Once you Spartan Up, BlogLand, it's irreversible.

This point was reinforced to me tonight. My ankle has felt better and better. The swelling has been minimal, I've been walking on it and feeling okay.... I needed to get out and try a run. I NEEDED to. I drove home from work with the rock music blaring, psyched up and looking forward to go meet up with Stacey to try "an easy 5k." (Remember when 5K was a goal distance? Oh my.)

It was really silly, BlogLand. I got home, buzzed around my house gathering my Spandex and munching a little pre-run snack. There was a moment, as I applied my Kenesio Tape to my ankle (as a cautionary measure of support and to hopefully prevent worse swelling) that I was struck with a little bit of worry. I think it was applying the tape. Subconciously, that implies injury and all the things that come with that. What if I got half way down the block and the ankle WASN'T better. I was afraid of what was going to happen when I stepped out that door....... but was DYING to step out that door.

As I finished tying the laces on my favorite pair of Inov-8's, Stacey popped in the door, ready to roll. A deep breath had me stepping out the door, with the one concession that we'd only do 5K and we'd keep it slow and flat.

My first few strides were tenative... I was really just internally praying that all would be well. When I wasn't feeling anything in the ankle but a little stiffness, a wave of relief crashed over me and I got down to the business of running. I did, at this point, have to remind myself that I still wasn't 100%, so it would probably not be a bad idea to keep the speed down a bit and go easy.

... but my lungs were burning (it's been a while since I've really been able to run!), I felt the sweat start to bead up on my forehead and the kinks work out of my quads, as the blood started flowing.... I FELT AWESOME.

I felt awesome.... running. Hmm.

Now, there were a few questionable steps here and there where I hit some uneven sidewalk, or was forced onto the grass thanks to inconsiderate pedestrians, but over all, it was a pain-free run. It felt a little bit "tight" towards the end, but that seems to have been solved with the subsequent icing I did later in the evening.

Trotting to the finish line of our 5K with Stacey, I was smiling. I had gotten to go out and run. I had completed a decent run with no pain in my ankle, and in a decent time. Everything was going to be okay.

I'd MISSED running.

My internal self was stirred with confusion.

Plopping down on the couch with my ice pack, I was smiling, as I set about texting a few key people with the great news. I had run! YAY!

I was happy about it.

I stopped in mid-text at one point, like I'd been hit in the face with a cold hose.

....... I may be carrying a big extra tire of weight, I may not look like a racer, I may still eat too many tasty things some days, I still hate getting up early, but I'm not the "Fat Chick" that I once was. It has nothing to do with my outside appearance, but the internal shift that I seem to have made.... The GT was right... I had changed. There is no going back.

I'm a runner.

I belong to a set of people that look forward to lacking up their favorite pair of sneakers and attacking the sidewalk. People that run to get rid of the stress of the day, to see what's around that next corner, to test their will to make it one more mile. I am now one of those people that measure their success in the amount of sweat soaking into their shirt, or by the extra tenth of a mile I eeked out. Runners are people that put the mild discomfort of the run out of their mind and hold on to the euphoric feeling at the end and notion of accomplishment. I look forward to the pouring rain, and step squarely in the puddles. And yes, I stand still and glare angrily at the crosswalk light.

Yes. My lungs burned. My quads screamed..... I didn't notice.

I was having fun.


Wow. When the EFF did that happen!?!?!

I'm so glad to be back in the game (albeit a little slowly), and getting down to business. Two weeks until the Spartan Super in NJ and four SHORT weeks until The BEAST .... After that, we focus to my two half marathons... it's a big end of the season BlogLand, and I fully intend to be present and accounted for for all of it.


  1. Woot! You should make an effigy (a-la Guy Fawkes) and burn it at a big "Goodbye Fat Chick" celebration. I will also make one. We will make toasts to progress and the beating-down of challenges, because leaving the Fat Chick behind is a monumental shift, and deserves some celebrating!

    1. YES. We must!! Where can we have a bonfire and get this done? I think we've got a lot of people around us that might like to join in, too....

  2. Love Stacey's Guy Fawkes idea!