Just like “real” life, my running life seems to be going through cycles. Starts and stops, peaks and valleys. Good and bad.

When running was good for me, it was awesome! I was setting PRs! Running all the miles! I did something I never ever thought I would even want to try – I ran a marathon!

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And friends! I made so many friends! Through blogging, through group runs and through running clubs.

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Running was so many things to me. Happy hour. A way to stay physically fit. A way to stay mentally fit. Long hours pounding the pavement also helped me cope with some personal stuff that I may have been literally running away from.

So what happens when you can’t do the thing that you love, and that does so much for you?

Last year, I dealt with runner’s knee. I “graduated” from physical therapy with instructions on what to do so that I could run.

Well you know what, physical therapy is boring. Doing the same repetitive exercises is boring. And the pain never totally went away.

Running is now something else to me.

It’s fear that my knee will hurt.

It’s frustration when it does hurt.

It’s holding myself back from going to group runs because of those things above.

Instead of using the time spent running to clear my mind or to challenge myself to get faster and stronger, I spend the time focusing on my knee and how it’s gonna feel during the run, and after, and tomorrow, and when I might run next so that I don’t aggravate it too much.

And so … I haven’t been running. Because running isn’t what it was for me.

And I do miss it. Seeing the blue lines for the Chicago Marathon tangents on the streets, I feel a pang of sadness, of wishing I could be out there next Sunday.

The only one who can change this is me. The only thing I can do is focus on what my physical therapist told me. If running is something I really want to do again, for more than 30-60 minutes per week, I’m the only one who can make that happen.

But it’s hard to get over that mental hurdle when I can go swing weights around for 60 minutes and feel like a badass, or I can go run for 60 minutes and feel discouraged.

You can guess what I’ve been choosing lately.

Has running ever been something negative for you? How did you get past that?