Four months ago, I wrote a whole blog about my experiences finding my inner athlete and how important that has been for me, for my healing. I meant every word.
I called it Athlete, Interrupted because my story really was of how the innate joy of being in my own body had been interrupted in my childhood.
I discovered running while I was on a quest that had begun in 2011 to “rediscover my inner athlete.” From July 2014 until around February of this year, running, training and races were a huge part of my life. If you’d have asked me a year ago if I would ever consider stopping running, I’d have said, “No way!”
I can’t believe it, but something has been shifting in me, and I’ve found it confusing.
It began with the last half marathon I trained for. I trained for 10 weeks, and loved it. On the morning of the race, it felt like any other. I had no idea what was coming.
It was a gorgeous but chilly January day in Central Park. I found my corral, and the race began. This particular race was two laps around the park.
Towards the end of the first lap around, right at the half way point in the race (6.5 mi,) I suddenly realized that I didn’t;t want to run any further. That I truly didn’t care if I finished and had no desire to do so.
Now, over the course of the years since 2012, in training for two marathons, and countless half’s, I’ve had the desire to stop while running. That comes up a lot. You push through, and you are usually the better for it. Sometimes, you really might need to stop, especially if you have the tendency to overtrain (as I have had.)
This was not one of those situations.
I felt so compelled that I ran off the path and let myself stop. I immediately felt overcome with emotion. Something in me was finally being given my own attention, and was so grateful.
But I felt guilty too. And sad. What was happening to me? How could my desire and commitment change so radically?
But was it truly radical? If I’m honest, looking back, I had been pushing myself to keep on running as intently as I had been for at least a year.
I had gotten so caught up in the running culture. It had given me so much joy, and such a respect for my body and its abilities. Awe for my own will and what I can accomplish if I decide to.
How could i be considering letting that go? To what? Run just to run? No more longer distances? No concern for pace?
Who was I to go from 5 days and 30 miles a week to 3-4 and 10- 18 miles? Wasn’t I going to go to hell in a hand basket? How could I change now? What if I reverted to before?
Yet, my spirit wanted other things. I was wanting to bring more creativity in my life. Not revolve my life around my training and running anymore. I felt a drive to write, to create more and revolve my life around that.
I wanted to simplify. I found myself craving other kinds of movement: Gyrotonic, Pilates. I had let those things fall away the last year.
My body was revolting! Calling me to wake up.
I fought the messages it was sending me. I didn’t trust them. What if it was laziness?
But I wanted to move, so it couldn’t be laziness. I even still wanted to run. Just not like I had been since 2012.
My body had to literally break down in order to get my attention. That is another blog when I have more distance. Suffice it to say that this was The Summer of Being Slowed Down. My body made it so that I had to listen.
I am still unraveling why I found it so hard to listen and trust my body. Why I held on so hard to running’s place in my life.
There’s always a part of me unconsciously looking for a formula. If I find something that creates happiness in my life, I want to keep doing A+ B to equal that C. As if as long as I just keep doing A+B, I’ll get C.
I think it has to do with my relationship to change. I mean, I know cerebrally we are supposed to change and grow. Still, some part of me gets scared that in letting go of something good, I will lose the good I have gained.
I guess that reveals a scarcity mentality. Some part of me fears losing what little good she has managed to get, so she thinks she can never change, or else she risks returning to the misery of before.
I am trying to work with the fears of that part of me. Help myself trust that change is good. That I am still being athletic, but in a different way.
And new – different – is good. It brings new – different – experiences. And that brings new information.
And through the new information gained in the experience, I become different. More.
I will help myself meet the change with trust and excitement instead of resistance and fear.
It means I am a living thing, that change-induced growth. Not a computer that can be programmed and set to repeat.
After all, I am always a work in progress. And that’s the way it is supposed to be.