Monday, 07 October 2013 07:58

The Pure and Simple Joy of Running

I did not realise how much I took running for granted until injuries started to plague me this year after I stepped up the intensity of my training to match the number of marathons, semi-marathons and shorter races I did/would still run before the end of the year. 

The latest blow came in the form of the inflammation of the tibial tubersity - an existing knee condition I've had since my teens - which forced me to stop running entirely for 6 weeks while undergoing physiotherapy. It was a loooooooonnng six weeks where I would find myself often looking at other runners with envy and counting down to when I could start running again. 

I know it may sound crazy to actually 'envy' other runners but imagine an activity that allows you to unwind, release pent up energy, no one but you to decide on the tempo, frequency etc, have 'me' time to reflect and to "just be" (+ allows you to maximise calories burning and indulge in your favourite desserts) and then have that taken away from you for six weeks and possibly more if the condition had worsened. 

Having gone through those six weeks, I was curious to see how the first run would turn out and more importantly, whether the knee would act up on me. I ran at a relatively slow average pace of 8.5-9km/h to test the waters and didn't go beyond 5km. Slowly and surely, I worked on building up my speed and stamina again. Being cautious, I've had to work around the knee condition and give myself downtime between runs. 

Yesterday’s Lyon Semi Marathon was a major landmark in this road to recovery. I knew it would be hard pounding on the pavement and races tend to excite me and make me run faster than my usual pace which could then aggravate the knee condition. Prior to the race, I kept reminding myself to treat it as a training run ahead of the Antarctic Marathon on 20 November 2013 and I kept psyching myself "It's just a 21km run". With that mindset and fear of my knee acting up, I started the race totally caught up in my thoughts and the songs I was listening to. My only goal of the race was to complete it without pain and I focused on my running gait instead of how fast/slow my pace was. Somewhere from the 3rd or 4th kilometre mark, it finally dawned upon me that I was running again!!! The pure and simply joy of being able to run!!! I was smiling to myself a lot and at some points of time, dancing to the music while I was running.

1h57 for a semi marathon isn't a Personal Best but it almost felt like one. To come back from injury, run (almost) pain-free, enjoy the run and feel 'alive' again, that has gotta be better than a PB!!! :) And the one thought that I kept thinking of during the run was this:  


"Not all of us can be No. 1 but as long as I've given my best, I'm happy"




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