Running with Joy

I’ve been running, in a structured way, for over 20 years now.  Apparently, the first sentence out of my mouth was ‘I num.’  I was running as soon as I could walk, so in a true sense, I’ve been running for over 30 years.

In 8th grade, for whatever reason, I began running a 3 mile loop before school each morning.  As it is for nearly all 12 year olds, this was a weird awkward period of my life.  Running gave me a sense of pride and self-confidence that I desperately needed.  And I found success in running as well – I placed 4th in the PE mile!

Thus began my career as a competitive runner.  In high school I ran 1,500 meters, 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters in cross country.  In college I ran 5k and 10k in track and 8k in cross county.  Post college, I ran a few 3ks and 5ks on the track and one marathon.  This all concluded in 2010.  Over the next many years I flirted with training and getting back in shape, but injuries and myself seemed to get in the way.

I began to get really into other outdoor pursuits, such as climbing, fishing, biking and skiing.  I also began a meditation practice.  In about 2012, after a very brief training stint, my Achilles began to act up.  This progressed over the next five years – to the point where if I ran for 20 minutes, I would be limping for the next week while I recovered.  I really thought I may have to give up running forever.  It was a really process of growth and personal exploration that helped to get past this injury (post to follow about what I learned in the process and what did/didn’t work).

Over the past six months I have been on a running awakening.  I have found the joy in running!  Where did this come from? – I just don’t know.  (I do have some ideas – which is the reason for creating this blog).  My entire perspective on running has changed.  I feel like I have been missing the point of running for the last 20 years.  Joy was the reason I ran as soon as I could walk.  But over the course of my competitive running – I lost the joy – This led to feelings of inadequacy, burnout, and injury.

There are many keys to running with joy, which I will discuss later.  But the joy is back!  And I couldn’t be happier!  I’m running (nearly) pain free, about 50 miles per week, and a long run of around 2.5 hours.