Yesterday I was on the treadmill at the gym. I’m doing my best to just zone in, forget about what’s going on around me and just get a good workout in. But for some reason, I was really distracted with the people around me. There were a couple of people on treadmills next to me and others on row machines down in front of me. I was bored because I am having to go slower than usual and I’m also taking walk breaks during my runs. So while I’m watching all the people around me at the gym, that Seinfeld scene with George popped in to my head
I was struggling with the pressure of thinking that I should be running faster, not taking breaks, and just basically doing better. I feel like I need to justify myself for why I’m running at 6.2 instead of my normal 7.0. Or why I am only running 3-4 miles instead of 6-7.
BUT I have been working really hard to come back from this stress fracture. PROPERLY. I’m sticking to the walk/run program and making sure I don’t get hurt again. But it’s been tough because I just want to go.
But the program makes me feel like this
So I just did my best to quit looking at what everyone else was doing and focus on my journey. I was reminded of my best PR ever. It was last spring in St. Louis. I had signed up for a little fundraiser 5k called Take Steps for Kids. Here’s the thing, I didn’t use a garmin or a watch during that race. I hadn’t been feeling my absolute best the week prior. I thought I might be coming down with something. But I didn’t want to not run the race. So I showed up fully expecting to suck, but I was going to walk away with the experience of running a race on the Washington University campus.
But something amazing happened, I didn’t suck. Not even close. I placed 1st in my division with a time of 22:47 which is a 7:20 pace. That is unheard of for me. I’m a pretty big girl. I basically average around the 9:00-10:00 minute mile range most of the time. When I really work, I can get in the 8’s in a 5k but 7:20…wow. I had to check the route several times just to make myself believe that I had actually done that. I mean, this 5k had a set of stairs in the route for crying out loud. I had the hardest time believing that I could run in the 7 minute mile range. But I did.
That experience taught me the power of the mind. If I wear a watch and track my pace, when I start to see numbers I’ve never seen before I get nervous. I think “I shouldn’t be able to do this, I better slow down or else I will burn out”. But that day in St. Louis I didn’t have that meter to go by. I just listened to my body and did what I could. And apparently I could do a lot better than I had let myself.
So I’m thinking about this now because it’s hard to know how to come back from this injury. It’s so easy to just make excuses “oh I’ll take an extra rest day because I had a stress fracture” or “I’ll just go really slow because I had a stress fracture”. But at the same time, I feel pressure to be right back where I was before all this and I don’t want to sabotage myself by taking it too slow.
There is a lot of information out there about how to start running again after a fracture. It’s a lot the same but a lot different. Just like every body is different. So I’m just doing my best to tune everything and everyone else out. It doesn’t matter what the chick on the treadmill next to me is doing. All that matters is that I’m doing something I love and listening to my body.
This kind of begs the question though, how many things in life are we holding ourselves back on? How many times have we doubted what we are capable of?