The Running Ninja

Yesterday I decided that it was time to return to my old running group.  I had been wanting to return for at least a month or longer, but kept putting it off.  I hadn’t been running with this group in two years.  Two years ago, I started training with another Wednesday running group and trained with them for about six months.  Then I hit my terrible running burnout that just faded in the middle of this year.  I haven’t been running with a  group since March 2012.

The burnout I experienced has definitely been the worst I’ve hit in the 15-20 years I’ve been a runner.  I knew I would get the urge to run again, but I didn’t know when it would happen.  Not running really affected me in every aspect of my life – physical, emotional, mental.  Running is so much more than a physical workout.  It sustains me and I’m the happiest and most content when I’m running regularly.  When I don’t run, my emotional and mental well-being is just not in sync.

I was hit with the urge to run again this summer – hard.  I felt so nostalgic for my old training groups, for the long runs, for the ache of sore muscles and endorphins after completing a run.  Also, I missed my friends.

My running friends have been trying to get me back out, and I’d always joke around that one day I would just be a ninja and show up without telling anyone.  I had been chatting with my running friend Richard on Facebook yesterday, asking him how he finds so much spare change (I’ve found maybe $2 this year at the most; he averages that much in a week.)  “You need to run again,” he said.  I didn’t tell him I was planning on showing up that evening to the group.

When I got in the parking lot, I nervously turned off my car, took a deep breath, then got out of my car.  It was finally time to be a ninja.  And what did I find, in the parking lot? A penny, heads up.  I picked it up as a talisman.  I walked towards the group and my old friends had smiles on their faces.  “I found a penny!” I told Richard; he couldn’t believe it.

The group partnered up and ran 0.3 mile intervals.  My partner and I ran 8 of them total (we originally were going to do just seven but were peer-pressured into running eight).  I felt so happy to be running again.  The weather was cool for August, the lake was beautiful, and the song that had been my staple during my marathon training in 2011 played on my iPod:

Down crooked stairs and sideways glances
comes the king of second chances…

I’m so happy I finally decided to keep my promise of being a ninja and returned to my group.  And I was told that my form is still good, and that I haven’t lost it, which made me really happy to hear.  I need a good form if I’m going to train for a half marathon.

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