For the first time in more than a month yesterday I ran fast. Well, fast for me. Did my first tempo run since going down with ITBS for a few weeks. I'm all better now, but had yet to really push myself until yesterday. Last week I ran close to 36 recovery miles with some speedier paces sprinkled in, as well as some trail running while crewing/pacing friends at the Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Race (but nothing that would qualify as fast or tempo), so in running those miles I overcame several mental hurdles that I had placed for myself regarding my recovery from this injury.
But this short little tempo session (5 miles in 43 minutes) did wonders for me. I felt alive again, I felt recovered. I felt BACK. But more important, I felt thankful. I looked back at my injury as a dose of medicine needed to renew my gratitude for this sport; to renew my thankfulness for being able to run and to train and push myself to new levels of achievement and fitness.
I have never been one to take my running for granted, but being injured and watching others improve while I rehabilitated myself made me so thankful for my health, and for the opportunity to get hurt while running, oddly enough. For the chance to step outside and go for a run. I'm happy I can call myself a runner. I am happy that I am once again back in the full swing of training. And I do not, nor will I ever, take running for granted. Each run, like each day of my life, is a gift. I plan to see it that way as hard as those runs may be, as difficult as it may be to deal with heat, and as much as I may struggle. I will open that gift each day and be thankful and happy.