I have a confession, you guys, and that is that running is really hard right now.
Most of what I’ve had to say about running over the last few years has been beyond enthusiastic. Over the last five years, running has helped me lose weight, get in shape, and make friends. I have run in the snow, in the pouring rain, in the 90 degree heat, in single digits, and into winds from every direction. I have run with my arm in an enormous cast, with a debilitating cough, with a painful stitch in my side, with my heart breaking. Running has challenged me emotionally and physically, and in doing so, sustained and improved my mental health far beyond anything that drugs have ever done.
And for the last three months, it has just felt hard. Hard to get started. Hard to face distances that should be a piece of cake given how I trained for most of last year. Hard to breathe. Hard on my knees. Hard to stay focused.
I know some of this is just the lingering malaise of winter in the Midwest. This year has been much colder than last year. I’ve had trouble shaking what my friend Karina calls her “fat squirrel” period, wherein the only things that seem appealing are the couch, snacks, and a pile of blankets. I’ve been sick, and then out of town, and then cleansing, and then out of town, and then sick again.
But I’m sticking with it, and holding on to the hope that as the days get longer and the temperatures warmer and the sidewalks clearer, I’ll find what I need to fall in love with running again.