FBGs, please give a warm welcome to our new contributor Meg Massie! Meg is joining us for a special series, Meg on the Run! For the next few months join Meg as she sets her mind to really, truly becoming a runner and shares her lessons learned while finding her workout mojo.
My name is Meg and I have a running problem.
I’m not addicted to running — I wish I had that problem — what I have is a dysfunctional relationship with running, and, okay, fitness in general. I’m not a naturally fit person and though I’ve been hitting the gym on the regular for over a decade now, I’ve still not found an activity I can get excited about. It’s all hard, it all hurts, and I don’t think I will ever love working out. But there are moments of joy and other rewards that make it all worthwhile. Crossing a finish line. Zipping up my skinny jeans. Lifting my insanely heavy carry-on luggage into the overhead bin all by myself without the help of the strong, friendly stranger next to me. Sleeping soundly and contentedly after another day of putting in the work. These moments, along with some pictures of myself 50 pounds heavier, keep me going, even when nearly every part of my mind and body begs me to stop.
I still hit walls, though, and even when I get myself to the gym every day, I find myself slacking off, not really pushing, and stagnating or regressing in my fitness. I do best when I have goals with measurable progress and results, and I get these things from running. I can see my distance and time improve and enter races and cross finish lines and hang medals on my wall. I don’t enjoy running any more than any other kind of exercise, but the structure of it is perfect for me, and that’s why I do it.
Or did it, anyway. I haven’t been much of a runner for the past year …
Last April, I ran my first (and only) half marathon. It was a bucket list item for me, I was turning 30, and the time was right. I trained hard, and it sucked, and there were tears and blisters and lots and lots of whining, but I finished that race, and I’ve never felt better about myself than I did when I crossed that finish line. But then I was done, I checked “half marathon” off my list, and running hasn’t been part of my fitness agenda for almost a year now. Whoops.
I had hoped that by training hard and achieving something so monumental for me, I’d feel like a real runner, and running longer distances would just become a normal part of my routine. But what actually happened is that I burned out immediately and haven’t run since.
Constant reminders of my life as a runner nudge me each day. I get emails from races reminding me to sign up for their next event, I have a closet full of brightly colored running shoes just hoping to get the call, and people who followed my progress as I trained are always asking me, “When’s your next race?”
I’ve finally burned out on being burned out. My next race is May 18. I’m going to run another half marathon. Only this time, my goal isn’t time-related or even really distance-related; this time, I’m going to run that race, feel great about finishing, and then lace up my running shoes again the next week. And the week after that. And so on. I’ll be writing here about my training, what I’ve learned from the first time around and what I’ll do differently to keep from letting myself go completely after reaching that finish line. I’ll talk about the struggles, the strategies, and hopefully, the triumph.
If you’re one of those people who loves to run, then this series is not for you. But if you can relate to me and my physical and psychological battles with running, then follow along. We can do this.
Who’s ready to join me? —Meg