It is incredible to consider that a year ago right now I was running the Chicago Marathon. I was running as part of the Team Joints in Motion for the Arthritis Foundation. I had raised $1200, I had been training since June, and I was trotting my arthritic body through the streets of Chicago and my first full marathon.
Prior to this, I had run half marathons. It is the distance I still prefer. I find 13.1 a very manageable race to train for and recover from. Half marathons are invigorating and fun without putting you into a 7-10 day recovery cycle. Well, maybe that was just me.
My memory of the Chicago Marathon is beautiful. I adore this city. The marathon allows you to see so many neighborhoods. Many of my friends and family members managed to find me along the way. Others were cheering me along via the marathon app or on social media. I was handed pineapple spears and Payday candy bars by total strangers – in a time when it feels like there is such a void of humanity, it is an almost utopian memory.
I have not run for two months. I have finally reached a place where I feel like it might eventually be possible. I am now able to walk longer distances somewhat regularly. I have rode my bike two times now. I am slowly building strength. I watch other runners and think – I want to do that again. I CAN do that again.
Beyond the physical recovery, what about the pandemic recovery? What race options will be available to runners? I did two virtual 5K races this year. My husband is also a runner, and as much as we tried to encourage each other, without the “live” race experience, it is hard to stay motivated to train for longer distances. I so desperately miss the running community. I am sad to see what it has done to my running group. I miss the race day jitters, and I miss crossing the finish line.
I know physically I will run again. I hope the race experience will someday be there to meet me.