Embracing the Run: How a Passion Reignited After Years of Recovery and Reflection

The Early Days: A Burning Passion for Running

I used to try and be a runner for a long time. Bouncing back and forth between running, getting sick or hurt and then giving up, just to try and start again. I was an all or nothing person. I never got the balance right! It took me probably 2 years until I figured out how I could run and rest.

It wasn’t until we moved to Ireland, over 15 years ago, when I decided to rethink my approach and follow a structured program. I used couch to 5k, or C25K. It was tough! My first minute of running continuously felt like such a big achievement. I fought my way to being able to run for 30 minutes. Little did I know that I was running way to fast! It took me another year and obsessing over running, reading every running book and blog I could get my hands on until I figured out the secret to my running success was to slow down - slow way down!

Once I had that figured out and I started to work on slowly running my way back to fitness, I started to enjoy it. I used to live 5 minutes from the sea and I witnessed the most stunning sunrises when out for my runs. I got addicted to the feeling of flying along the sea, wind in my hair, the waves crashing around me.

I slowly increased the duration of my runs and ran further and longer. Running 20k on a weekend was a normal activity for me and I had the best time.

My plan was to run trail ultras. In case you don’t know what an ultra is: an ultra is any run that is longer than a marathon.

I ran along coastal paths, up and down my local hill and along cliff walks. I had fallen in love with running with all my heart and soul.

A Hurdle on the Track: Coping with Injury and Loss

It was perfect until it wasn’t … at some point in one of those runs, I felt a sharp pain in my left foot. The day after, I couldn’t step on it anymore. The pain was insane. I took a break and my mood got bad. If you are addicted to a sport like running and have to stop suddenly, it isn’t pretty.

I went to my GP who sent me to get an MRI taken and went from expert to expert until a podiatrist told me I was suffering from what is called a Morton’s Neuroma. At that point I could slowly walk with pain. The nerve between my toes on the left foot wasn’t having it. Getting insoles fitted enabled me to walk again. However my love affair with running was over. I fell into darkness and it took me a long time to get back out.

What helped me was finding strength training. It was something that I could work on. I fell in love with increasing the weights I could lift. But it wasn’t the same. I started running a little bit again, but never managed to run for longer than 30 minutes. It just wasn’t the same. I wasn’t capable of flying anymore. I had lost my love for it.

Lacing Up Again: Finding Love in Every Step

It has been 4 years since then. We moved to a new county. I started walking more, a little bit of running, mostly as warm-up before I lift weights.

Until yesterday. Something drew me to throw on my running shoes and get back out there. I drove to the beach and ran. Ok … running is probably not the right term! I shuffled and slogged, but I was out there! I remembered. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing, the birds were chirping and the waves were crashing and I remembered. How I used to fly. How I used to feel.

And then it happened: I fell back in love with running.

I might not ever get back to where I once was, but I’m sure going to give it a good shot! There is a long road ahead of me and it will be tough, but I’m putting it out there now: I will fly again.

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Last Update: November 20, 2023