“When you know better, you do better.” – Maya Angelou
When you know better, you do better, right? I always thought this was true. But what happens when you know better and yet you find yourself struggling to do better? I’ll admit, I thought when I was finally cleared to run, after three long months, all would be right in the world again. I underestimated how challenging it can be to change the habits and behaviors that developed while I recovered. Behaviors that include sleeping “in” in the morning. Going to bed way too late at night. Broken wing and I got used to watching Friends in bed before falling asleep; an activity that doesn’t promote early rising.
I thought when I was cleared to run I would want to jump out of bed every morning. I thought I would miraculously want to go right back to my old healthy behaviors and way of living. Let’s just say it’s been more challenging than I expected.
When it comes to running I have patience and no expectations. Shouldn’t I have the same expectations for myself? Yet I find myself beating myself up and in a less than stellar mood each day when I feel as though I’ve failed to reach my potential and be my best self.
I tend to get overwhelmed with a big task at hand. Getting back in shape after three months off seems nothing short of daunting to me. Pick little goals. Break it down. This is all great advice, yes, but where do you start? My diet has gotten better this week. It’s still not ideal but it’s better. I’ve been consciously trying to drink more water. I suppose drinking less wine could also help. But where’s the fun in that?
My friends have been tirelessly supportive and encouraging. I’m grateful to have such incredible friends in my life. They’ve been there through the good, the bad and the ugly of this injury. Well, in general really. They understand that, of course while things could be much worse, this has been a tough time for me and there’s still a long road ahead. They encourage me to give myself a break and remind me that I will get back there. I will get back to running in the morning. I will get my strength back. I will get back to where I was before I fell.
It’s officially been one year since I’ve raced a half marathon.
Yes, I ran that magical race in between, but my mind can’t help but wonder how I will ever run a half marathon again when three miles feels like a major accomplishment now. I try to remind myself that, not too many years ago, my first running goal was to run the reservoir, in Central Park, without stopping.
At some point, my big goal was to be able to run 1.58 miles without stopping. I ran a marathon six months ago so I know anything is possible. I know I’ll run a half marathon again. Naturally, I’m already trying to decide which one to sign up for this fall. I know I will get there. However, I can’t help but feel a little doubt when I’ve run ZERO of the three half marathons I signed up for between October and now. After all, I’m only human.
It’s been a long 14 weeks. I still have at least another four weeks in physical therapy and likely won’t be fully recovered until sometime in August. But I will continue to be grateful that, after three months, I’m finally running again. 14 weeks ago I couldn’t shower or dress myself. Today, I will celebrate the fact that I put a box in my closet, ABOVE MY HEAD, with my previously fractured arm. One month ago, I was worried that my friend was moving and I still couldn’t put my own hair in a ponytail. Today, I will celebrate the fact that I’m “lifting weights” again. I know I will get there.
There will undoubtedly still be days I get frustrated that my body won’t do what I want it to do. I think that’s normal, right? But when I sit and think about the progress I’ve made, over the past two months since starting physical therapy, I can’t help but also feel hopeful that my friends are right and I will get back there.
My physical therapist said I can try and run four miles this weekend. And so while my friends are crushing it in Brooklyn tomorrow, I will be cheering for them and running my four miles with them in spirit. Then I’ll celebrate my friends, and hopefully my small victory of four miles, the best way I know how. At brunch. With champagne. And my incredible friends.
Wishing the best of luck to everyone racing the Brooklyn Half Marathon tomorrow!!!!! You know, almost everyone in this picture! Race Happy. Finish Strong.
Have you ever struggled to get back in shape post-injury?
Do you sometimes find that even though you know better you don’t always do better?
How long until running felt easier again?
Which fall half marathon should I run?