Tempus fugit

I was having a conversation with a fellow coach this past weekend and I realized that I still think I can wake up, hit the trails and run twenty 7-min miles in a row, without a second thought.

Like I used to.

Like I had for so many years.

I forget sometimes that time marches on.

I forget that my body is carrying all those miles.

I forget that I have more than thirty years of running in the bank.

I forget that all the things that happened to my body can add up.

I forget that I'm running on a reconstructed ankle.

I forget that I'm running with lungs scarred from blood clots.

I forget that cancer affected how my body builds muscle.

I forget that I took a long break from training.

I forget that I'm getting older.

I forget that time flies.

It’s clear that I am holding onto the athlete I used to be.

Photo by  Emma Simpson  on  Unsplash

I could choose to stay in that mindset, mourning my former fleet-footed self.

I could choose to accept who I am now and choose to love the athlete I've become.

The choice was clear but was not without a cost.

I needed to grieve; something I haven't allowed myself to do.

It felt unseemly and self-indulgent to pour myself into that mourning.

Finally - cathartically - I gave in and grieved for the runner I used to be.

I had to, you see, in order to break free.

Photo by  Kalen Emsley  on  Unsplash

I used to be a gazelle.

Running through the trees and scrub of Central Oregon, my shoes barely touched the trail.

My legs drove relentlessly up mountains.

I can feel the wind rushing into my face, pulled forward by my speed alone.

I can see the trees and ground flashing by, my legs a blur in the forest.

I didn't run as much as I flew.

So, how do I move past this grief?

Every day I choose to remember that I am everything I have always been.

I may not be the same type of runner, but I am still a runner.

I may not be as fast but I am more determined.

I may not be as fit but I am just as strong.

I may not be as effortless but I am more diligent.

I may not be as graceful but I am more aware.

I am a runner at any age, at any speed, at any size, at any distance, at any effort, at any pace.

I am a runner simply because I choose to be.


Thumbnail photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

Lisa NelsonComment