I have been running for 15 years.
I’ve run multiple races, including four half-marathons. In August of 2016, I fell during a half-marathon and banged up my knee and shoulder pretty badly. Even though I finished that race, with blood running down my leg, it took me a couple of months to recover from that fall.
Then, within two weeks of re-establishing my running routine, I fell down the stairs at my house and cracked a rib. By the time that injury healed, I was dealing with the worst blow of all – the passing of my dear kitty and best friend Fifi.
After Fifi died, I was depressed for several months. Running, or exercise of any kind, was the furthest thing from my mind. When Fifi was with us, she would always be waiting at home for me at the end of run. After I cooled down and showered, she would cuddle up on the bed with me. Finishing a run and finding no Fifi waiting for me – it made me feel the loss that much more.
I kept trying to re-establish my running routine, but every time I did, I would get sick, or injured, or the weather would be crazy. I finally signed up for a half-marathon with my friends and co-workers, hoping it would motivate me. But it didn’t. After minimal and disinterested training, I walked the half-marathon with my friends and co-workers.
I made one last effort by downloading and using a really great couch-to-10K training program. Four weeks in, I injured my neck, but I persevered. Five weeks in, I got a hospital-grade sinus infection, and missed several days of work with a 100+ degree fever. I got a giant prescription of antibiotics and steroids, but by that time, I had missed so many runs that I effectively needed to start over.
So I finally gave up, and decided to recognize that the Universe was trying to tell me something. I haven’t enjoyed running for a while now. Even though running has been part of my life for so long – it’s part of who I am – I think that it’s time to put that part of myself away for a while.
Just like my slow journey towards minimalism, I have to decide what things in my life bring value, and what things I am hanging onto just because I think I should, or because I always have. The idea of myself as a runner is something that I have been hanging on to, when in reality I haven’t been a serious runner for a while.
This decision has been hard for me. However, as I have had more time to think about it, I have realized that if I stop trying to continue to be a runner, I will have more time in my life for new opportunities and adventures. And I am looking forward to that.