Return To The Pain Cave

I ventured back to the gym last week, after several years hiatus, as they have now reopened following the latest coronavirus lockdown. I’ve been running outdoors for a while but a combination of apathy and illness meant my mileage for 2021 has been relatively low. There were days I could barely tackle a flight of stairs, let alone a 10K braving the Northern Irish elements.

It hasn’t changed much. Some of the equipment was off-limits to ensure social distancing was maintained and we were regularly reminded over the PA system to regularly wash our hands and clean down equipment after use. One thing remained the same, however. The pain of getting back on the treadmill after a long time away from it. Nothing had changed in that respect. Nothing.

After an hour I was a sweaty, undignified mess. You’ll see no smiley, glowing post-workout selfies on this page. I staggered back to the changing rooms exhausted but proud that I had faced a personal demon that has been niggling away at me for some weeks now. The fear of failure, of undoing years of hard work and losing all the gains I had battled to secure and maintain. Day 1 was over and I’d survived.

I’m now up to Day 3 and each time it gets a little easier. Easier to face up to, at least. It will always be a slog but the feeling of achievement after kicks any lingering feelings of self-doubt and anxiety to the curb. I may never run a 3:30 marathon again but I’m determined not to let the pounds creep back on. Running is a bit like writing or anything else for that matter. You fall off but you get back in the saddle. Over and over again.

Published by Fractured Faith Blog

We are Stephen and Fionnuala and this is our story. We live in Northern Ireland, have been married for 17 years and have three kids - Adam, Hannah and Rebecca. We hope that our story will inspire and encourage others. We have walked a rocky road yet here we are today, together and stronger than ever. We are far from perfect and our faith has been battered and bruised. But an untested faith is a pointless faith. Just as a fractured faith is better than none at all. We hope you enjoy the blog.

52 thoughts on “Return To The Pain Cave

  1. The other day, I found a jump rope within the items in this room. I think my mother gave it to me, I’m not sure, but it was tucked away in a box. I decided I was going to attempt to jump rope. Yes, I’m a long way from the child who could once do this easily. So lets say that the challenge has been interesting and like you, each day gets a little better. I’m glad though there are no videos.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I keep telling myself to start a healthy lifestyle, little by little, bit by bit. Walk, stroll, do something other than pigging out, binge eating or sleeping the whole day. Waaah. I wanna do this too. 😦

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  3. It’s always difficult to pick up where we’ve left off. Especially when it involves work and effort. Humans easily adapt to comfort. But life is about ‘get up and get going’. There’s no other harder, but also better way. Good luck!

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  4. Oops this is making me more think, what will happen when I start going to work after 6 months of working from home. It is already lingering in my mind continuously. Moreover, my health issues. Hope to regain it soon like you 😊👍

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  5. I know that fear, Stephen!! My broken foot recovery has been in fits and starts… I had a good go of running and feeling good for about 6 weeks and then I was caught up short when my foot let me know it had had enough and had to stop running. Feet have so many things that can go wrong with them! This morning after 3 weeks of no running (at least I was able to walk!!) I ventured out. My stomach was queasy as I laced up my shoes…would the pain that keeps reminding me my running days may be over return? How awful would that first mile feel on my lungs?? Would I fail in my eyes? To my surprise, I was able to pick up where I left off. I didn’t push it – I ran half the mileage I normally do on a Saturday and I feel good!
    KUDOS to you for sticking through. I do not frequent gyms, but know how good a full-body sweat feels! I hope this leads to you feeling better and better!

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  6. Kudos to you! I am still spending way too much time in front of my computer, despite my niggling voice telling me to get out and walk! Could you send a little teeny bit of your will power my way? Pretty please?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Iv been lacking on working out and as the days go by I find it harder to get my strength back ,I have been delaying this for so long but you so encouraging I see that I really need to up my game and stop being lazy lol


  8. I still haven’t gone back to the gym but I have been working out in my house. I’m proud to say that I haven’t gained any weight and Toll House Cookies are my best friend, lol! 😋 I have some hardware in my ankle so I can’t get with burpees or running so I just do what I can. Don’t compare yourself to what you used to do. Do you can when you can.

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  9. I have been back to my gym for a while now. Unfortunately, many of the older members have not returned so it is loaded with high school aged boys who spend time sitting on the equipment with their cell phones rather than working out.

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  10. Ha ha I hear you. Having tried various different things, I’ve seen lockdown waves of weight distribution in me. Treadmill is something I’ve started to recognize that I oddly miss. It’s been a month now and I’m kinda liking it on off. My stomach doesn’t seem to notice yet, happily grinning and saying – you’ve got a long way to go buddy 😂

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  11. Love this post! I’m also a runner and can relate to not being able to get a run in or a long layoff due to illness, injuries etc. My marathon days are probably over. Now, I don’t run for time, competitively, but just for me and the sheer thrill of the run. You will get back to your usual routine. Patience. 🙂


  12. Ka pai Stephen. (Meaning “good” or sometimes translated to mean some variant of “well done”.) It’s not easy to get back on the horse, whatever steed it is. Keep on at it, and you’ll get to where you want to go, wherever that moving target of a destination ends up being for you. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Manuscript out with 7 readers at the moment, and I am getting a second edit in progress. It’s exciting reading through what I’ve edited so far and thinking “Did I write this? This thing that sounds like it good be an exciting story?”

        Thank you for asking. 😊


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