I hope I’m not the only blogger who, over time, simply runs out of ideas for post titles! I know this one is a little bizarre, but it’s actually pretty accurate.
I began running in early 2012 and prior to this half marathon, had run a couple of 5k and 10k races. I was training for a half marathon that would take place the first weekend in May in Cincinnati. I was confident in my training and knew I would meet my own personal expectations of myself. However, in mid-March Michael found out he would actually be away for work for the first couple weeks of May. This meant I wouldn’t be able to run the race I was training for.
As I was discussing this with a friend who was also planning to run the same half marathon, she brought up the fact that there would be another half marathon much closer to home (Dayton) and it would take place the first weekend in April. Over the course of a couple of days, I let her talk me into signing up – even though I had yet to run the full distance and this race was a mere two weeks away.
On Sunday, April 7, 2013, I ran my first ever half marathon! And I even surpassed my goal of two hours twenty minutes! My final time was 2:12:50!!! That’s just over SEVEN minutes faster than my goal! I was super proud of myself for accomplishing such a task. I had many encouragers along the way, and I am so grateful for those voices in my life. I am especially thankful that Michael helped me foster this new skill and has always been very supportive.
Two weeks after that race, my gym (with childcare) that was just up the street closed and I was left with only being able to run when Michael was available to stay home with the kids. I continued with serious running for a few more months, then Michael was out of town a lot and I could only run on the days he was home. In early 2014 we spent 7 weeks traveling/moving to Alaska.
By the end of May I was running again and most of you know that in August of 2014, I was diagnosed with stage 2a, invasive ductal carcinoma (breast cancer). Due to that diagnosis and some other extenuating circumstances, running came to a halt.
Fast forward to January, 2015. Treatment was complete, I was healed from my mastectomy, and I was finally starting to get my brain and energy back. I began running again with the intent of participating in a St. Patrick’s 5k, then having another surgery just days later.
Though I was prepared for that race, I experienced some pretty extreme food poisoning the night before and ended up mostly walking…
I had surgery the following week and basically haven’t run since. I spent almost a year sorting out my brain, working on emotional healing, and giving my body a long rest. The only activity I participated in with any regularity was hiking with my family.
Last month, I started from scratch all over again. I am now 14 days into the 30 Day Shred. Since that hasn’t killed me yet, last week I began a 5k training program. It’s going surprisingly well. I believe I jumped back into serious exercise too quickly last time and my body told me so. I was afraid running just wouldn’t be in my future. However, I have been pleasantly surprised and my body isn’t revolting!
Here’s where I bring it full circle back to my title. I really do believe I am running back to myself. I feel most healthy (mentally and physically) when I am exercising. Running is also a great stress reliever and allows me time to decompress. Honestly, there have been times after long runs where I can’t remember even thinking about a single thing while I ran. I simply enjoyed the scenery and whatever was playing in my ears. And most importantly, exercise is vital to my bone health.