7 Years of Running

beach sunrise

There’s an old wives’ tale out there that says your body’s cells renew themselves every seven years. You shed the old and become something new.

I celebrated my 7th runiversary this month (May 2). 7 years. It’s hard to believe 7 years have passed in my running journey. So much has happened, and yet it seems like I only blinked and here we are. One marathon, 13 half marathons (including one run while pregnant), a few 10Ks, and a bunch of 5Ks. I’ve had terrible races and stellar races. I’ve paced friends to PRs or to better races than they thought they could do, and I’ve crashed and burned hard myself.

Running is full of ups and downs. I’ve experienced the heartbreak of a training bust, lots of terrible, awful, no-good, very bad races, some PRs (although, it’s been 4 years since I’ve seen any kind of PR at all), and maybe gained some wisdom (I hope).

My running medals from the last 7 years

My running medals from the last 7 years

The past few years haven’t been kind to me as far as running. The throes of parenthood with a toddler didn’t go well for me, especially having a husband who travels very regularly (weekly) for work while I also work full-time and try to handle all the things. Having a child who did. not. sleep. took its toll on my body in all kinds of ways. Sickness, injury, infections because my system was so run down, 8 months of antibiotics followed by 3 more of an anti-bacterial/antiseptic drug to cleanse out the infections for good. All of that just knocked me completely out of the game, slowed me down, messed with my metabolism, caused some weight gain (and lost muscle mass), and generally made me feel like garbage.

Not good.

What started as a bright, sunshine-y running journey with goals met and faster paces than I though possible in such a short time quickly came to a screeching, struggling, sputtering halt. Or at least a very slow slog. I did keep running, but not as far and not as fast, and racing was an exercise in futility.

But now (dare I say) it seems I’ve come out the other side. I’m feeling better out there on runs and in strength workouts. My metabolism seems to have finally recovered from the year of antibiotics (a full year later) and I’ve regained muscle mass and lost weight without really doing a ton of things differently, other than just feeling better. I’m still a little apprehensive about racing, but I plan to try soon (maybe in the fall).

So…old wives’ tale or not, maybe it’s time for a 7th year renewal, not just of physical cells, but of mind and spirit. Shedding the old. Looking ahead. Running some races, but being okay with not racing them all. But maybe also digging deeper and find out what I’m really made of. Because it’s not the same as 7 years ago when I first hit the pavement. It’s better.