Healthy Body: Running Series Part 4 - First day back

I ran what was my first race in quite a while this past Sunday. The night before as I ate dinner I started to think about all the reasons I could think of to stay home. A.K.A excuses not to do the run. I knew I was capable. I've been training consistently. But the thought of putting myself out there, in front of others, that was terrifying. Not because I haven't done it before but because it had been so long and I knew I wasn't going to finish at the same pace as I was used to in past. The voice in my head was telling me that everyone was going to judging me and that everyone would look at me and sneer. I was sure I would show up and there would be some kind of obvious mark on my forehead alerting all the other participants that I just wasn't good enough. I went to bed and had a fitful night's sleep. Nearly every time I have a race, I have a nightmares prior. This time, I dreamt about being incredibly late to the race. I kept running to the start but I never seemed to get any closer.

On Sunday morning, I got up early and dressed. My husband accompanied me there as I nervously fiddled with my phone. I was early, as per usual. And that's when I realized my fears and nerves from the night, and week before were completely unjustified. It had been a while since I stood among other spandex clad people. But immediately, the scene felt familiar. I felt comfortable. My nerves lessened gradually as I walked around and realized no one was paying any attention to me. They didn't know my running history and I didn't know theirs. I joked with my husband that I had changed my mind about the race, that I wanted to go home. But really, there was no way I was going back.

I felt nervous butterflies in my stomach at the start line but they weren't from fear of being ridiculed or not feeling good enough. It was an excitement I hadn't felt in a long time. It was a cold morning with a sometimes forceful breeze. I couldn't help but feel strong with the wind in my hair. I zipped through the finish and doubled over, tired from the effort. And I think I felt it. The running bug. The motivation that has eluded me for some time now. Sure, I've been training. But I do it because I'm focused and determined. There was something missing during these past couple of months and I felt it as I crossed that finish line.

It feels so damn good to be back.

5 months until my half-marathon. I'm ready and I'm coming for you 21.1kms.

Steph Coelho is a Montreal native and a freelance writer who is an avid cook, gardener, and podcast listener. From being active running and biking, to indulging in the X-Files, this is her take on the world.