This morning, around 9:40, I set off for a run. It was my first since being utterly beaten up by the 18.12 Challenge on Sunday.
My pace wasn't terrible but I was exhausted by the time I'd finished 1.5 miles. For the past six months or so, I wouldn't have even gotten my running clothes on for less than 2 miles and 3 was more likely. But, today, I put on my clothes, ran for twenty minutes, and called it quits.
And - this is important - I'm okay with that.
Since Wednesday, I have been telling myself, "Today is the day you'll go for a run." However, since Tuesday, I've been dealing with pains in various body parts; a headache that lasted three days, made me nauseated when I was upright, and caused me to miss a day of work; and plain old exhaustion.
And, yet, the wonder is that I still want to go running. That is the victory I can claim. It was hard, I felt terrible, and I have no intention of quitting.
I've learned a lot over the past week about how racing long distances in heat and humidity affects my body, how training poorly impacts race day results, and how prioritizing rest and recovery after a race is a sign of intelligence, not frailty.
Most importantly, I've learned that running is a part of who I am and I am going to use what I've learned to do it better next time.