I came back to running last spring. Here’s what I’ve learned:

March 22nd, 2016 by | Posted in Blogs, Gotta Run! | Tags:

sunset runner

Sometimes progress appears at unexpected times, in unexpected places and it has nothing to do with clocked times or training journals. Some gains, the more nuanced perhaps, are made when small shifts in thinking start making a big difference in action.

When I made the decision to return to competitive sport one year ago I had no idea what the outcome would be. The only thing I knew was that the decision was an authentic one.

RELATED: Running aware: Keeping the mind and body in synch

RELATED: Running through ADHD

Committing myself to becoming the best distance runner I can be has been a massive undertaking. Over the past year I’ve learned a lot about myself. For the purpose of this piece, I’ll note one of my surest observations this far: Daring to follow a dream is worth every one of the inherent risks and uncomfortable moments.

When I took this on, I knew the only way it would be a success is if I were to accept my vulnerability and ask for help to better understand myself — and the crippling effect ADHD was having on me. I faced many months of struggle as I worked through treatment. I felt helpless at times. Many other runners have likely questioned the training the way I did. I kept wondering “is following my dream really worth all of this?” The answer was always “yes.”

Through treatment, I carried on putting in my miles on the road, track and trails. Still, not entirely lifted from the chaos and confusion of my mind, I a fair bit of impatience with my training. I’ve always been fiercely competitive with myself, and after starting to train seriously last April, I was expecting big results quickly. Of course, that didn’t happen — that’s just not the way distance running works.

Over the past months I’ve written about the importance of patience and understanding that distance running is a long game. However, only recently has this all started to finally come together. I now realize all of those writings, every workout with my coach, every solo run, all of the visits to my psychiatrist, every talk with my ADHD coach, every breakdown and breakthrough moment with my partner — have all been contributing to a shift in the way my mind works.

I’m now five months into consistent treatment and I’m starting to see how this shift is impacting my training. I’m able to focus enough to go on a 90-minute run without using music as a distraction. I’m not nearly as impulsive with my decisions around training — I can stick with an easy run, or dial in and push on the harder. For the most part, I’m now far more likely to recognize a potential injury and back off than I was even a couple of months. I still make mistakes, but the good decisions now outweigh the bad.

One year after daring to follow my dreams, it’s become apparent that in working on becoming the best runner I can be, I’ve managed to morph into my best self.