Starting over again is difficult. I’m happy to be training again, but it’s hard to get the “how did you let yourself go this far?” voice out of my head sometimes.
When I started bicycling in Florida, it was easier. Partially because cycling is a lot easier on the body than running/walking. Partially because the environment was better — 1.7 miles away was the Honeymoon Island causeway. Partially because a bicycle is a mode of transportation — I could disguise exercise as running errands.
But mostly because early gains on a bicycle are more apparent. Hey, I made it half a mile, a mile, two miles, six miles! Wow, six miles only took an hour, 45 minutes, 30 minutes!
Six miles in 30 minutes is 12 miles per hour. That’s a five minute zero second mile. It’s the speed where cycling becomes more useful as a form of transportation. It’s also where some bicyclists get bit by the cycling bug — 12 mph is easy… what about 15? 17? 25?
For me, running doesn’t have that gentle “see, you’re doing better than last time” tug to move me along. Running sucks and continues sucking until it suddenly doesn’t. I won’t even get a quarter mile glimpse of happiness until I’m able to run 5k without walking. Running finally stopped sucking last time when I could run nine miles without walking.
And then I broke four ribs. Won’t make that mistake again — no cycling.
For some, the problem with running is that they can’t see it ever being fun. I had this problem for a long time. It’s understandable, because it sucks until suddenly it doesn’t.
But being good at running is really amazing and good is a sliding scale. For me, good was 11 minute miles for 100 minutes. Good was realizing that yes, I was still slow, but I could do this forever.
So starting over again is difficult, but it’s easier than starting for the first time. I have the memory of being “good” at running to help lure me forward. And the knowledge that I’m unlikely to break my ribs running without outside assistance.