The journey of a thousand miles. . .

Who among us has not heard this quote by Lao Tzu?

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” 

I’ve always liked it. (Of course I do. . . It has the word “mile” in it.)  Such words make my runner ears perk up and immediately I pay attention.  As someone who has spent more years than not, measuring and evaluating each mile. . . I place a high priority on the steps I take.  Often times those miles would determine what kind of day I was going to have.  A good run equaled a good day and a bad run resulted in fighting my way out of a funk.  Running has always been a huge priority.  It has been a part of me.  In a lot of ways. . . it defined me.  Heck, look at the name of my blog.

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time you might know that I was sidelined with an injury back in August.  Two surgeries and six months later I finally got the okay to ease my way back into it.  I’ll admit that the getting back into shape thing makes me nervous.  I haven’t taken this much time off the sport since, well, since I started when I was 11 years old. 

When I woke up this morning and heard the rain beating against the window and saw only slight remnants of the snow on the ground. . . I knew today was the day. Tzu’s quote was playing and replaying in my head as I dug to the bottom of my drawer for my running clothes and dusted off my New Balance shoes.

As I made my way down the stairs to our treadmill, my adrenaline was already pumping. . . will my foot be okay?  Am I really ready? What if it hurts? What if I re-injure?

(The journey. . . beings with one step. . . one step. . . one step. . . )

After stretching a bit I climbed onto the treadmill and was happy that I remembered the safety code to get it started.  My heart was already racing as I began with a slow walk. . .

One step, two steps, faster, faster, faster. . . until I was running.  I relished the familiar hum of the treadmill and did a happy dance on the inside as I realized, I’m doing it. . . I’m really doing it.  It was slow.  Very, very slow.  But I felt a rush of excitement as I listened to the pounding of my feet and felt the increasing speed of my heart.  It was short, but oh, so sweet. . . Day 1. . . 1.5 miles. . .COMPLETE.

Tzu was right. . . the journey does begin with one step and I have a long way to go, but as I’ve experienced this hiatus. . . I’ve realized a few things.  You see, I’ve been a runner for a long, long, time.  I love the sport.  I love what it has done for my mind, body, and soul.  I have learned so many life lessons through the steps I have taken to log thousands and thousands of miles.  But the latest lessons. . . the lessons that came by NOT taking a step. . . these overshadow them all.

Before this injury I felt that I would never survive not running.  It was literally one of my greatest fears. (Spare the lecture, I know I had no perspective.)  I would often think to myself, what if I couldn’t run anymore?  Running wasn’t just what I did, it was who I was.  I hid myself in the shadow of it.  I got lost in the constant striving for one more mile. . . beating yesterday’s time. . . breaking through that barrier. . . blah, blah, blah. 

The goals were endless.  And while I am a big fan of setting goals and working toward something. . . I have come to understand the importance of balance.  Life needs balance. . . I was in great need of balance.  I was confident as a runner.  Running was the place that I stood tall, felt strong, and believed that anything was possible.  Really, when all was said and done I was only okay when I could say, I’m a runner.  This injury has changed that.  Today, I can truly say, running or no running, I’m okay. . .

just being me. 

I don’t think I could have said that seven months ago. 

This time. . . my journey of a thousand miles came WITHOUT one step.

  • Sassytimes - March 1, 2011 - 2:00 pm

    Go you!

    I love how this injury has opened your eyes to so much beauty around you.ReplyCancel

  • Trophy Life - March 1, 2011 - 2:46 pm

    awww, friend. i'm crying. LOVING that picture, absolutely in awe with those words you just wrote. THIS needs published SOMEWHERE or in a LOT of SOMEWHERES.

    you = incredible.ReplyCancel

  • Adopted Aunt - March 1, 2011 - 4:06 pm

    Way to go girl!!!! So PROUD of you. But even more for all that you have learned in these last months!!! You can DO ANYTHING!!!! Love this picture. You are beautiful on the outside and inside!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Love the Present - March 4, 2011 - 1:05 am

    Congratulations of the run! Thank you for sharing your introspective lessons, since I can't seem to dig deep enough to learn them on my own. I love your picture, too.

    I don't know how to reply to the comments you leave on my blog, but if your kids ever want to see Disneyland, you are welcome to stay with us.ReplyCancel

  • Ky • - March 9, 2011 - 2:45 am

    Oh Summer.

    Stop it with this blog.

    I'm so glad you ran. And that you were ok with running OR not running.

    Yay for growth.ReplyCancel

  • Westerville Mom - March 10, 2011 - 2:34 am

    Yeah! So glad you can run again! How did it feel? That means we can run again too!:)ReplyCancel

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