The number of times I’ve thought about the pure feeling of running over the course of the past three months is far too high to count. In fact, even the number of times I’ve thought about it on any given day would be too many times to keep track of.
When running is a part of who you are, it’s a difficult process to let go of it for any duration of time. That, coupled with the absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder theory and you’ve got a formula to feel so grateful when you do return to running.
I’m four weeks into coming back from an injury that kept me out for nearly three months. The feeling of appreciation for each step I take has yet to diminish. Somewhat surprisingly, I don’t begrudge the less than ideal walk/run program bestowed upon me by my physiotherapist. In the past, I would have been easily frustrated with a plan consisting of running less than 15 minutes a day, and only surpassing the 20 minute mark twice over a four-week period. This time though, it’s different. I think this means I’m coming back from this injury with a new, perhaps wiser, perspective.
Now that I’m running again, I see it as a privilege. Every step feels deeply rooted in something bigger than a single day, single run, or single stride. I have this view now after getting a hint of what it might feel like otherwise.
Running has always come to me with a soothing ease, but with this injury, I’ve been given a reality check that there’s no guarantee it’ll always be this way. At any moment, my health could be stolen but I’m hoping that as I age, I someday become that old lady who just has to get her run in. Whether I’m still running as I envision it or not, I suspect someday I’ll look back at these youthful running years with great fondness.
I’ll reminisce of the days when I was lucky enough to run under the prairie sky and feel the sun’s healing warmth on my face. I’ll think of runs during pitch-black early mornings with the sounds of freshly fallen snow under my feet. These are the moments I’ll play over in my mind. I’ll remember myself as a runner and then I’ll remind myself: I still am.