As most people may know, I
I was in Track & Field in Jr. High. I ran the 400m and the 1600m relay and got the bright idea to try the hurdling events. I made it through one meet, but the next practice I fell (hard) and didn't much like picking little bits of rubber out of my hands and knees, so I gave up on that quickly. I stuck with running because I liked to run (if only in short bursts), and the idea of it was appealing. I am a loner and it was something I could do in the peaceful outdoors by myself that wasn't just taking a walk. It took some stamina and earned a little more respect than taking a walk. In high school I was in band instead of anything athletic, but I still ran once or twice a week, but never got farther than a mile or two. I marveled at the people on our Cross-Country team who could run five or ten at a time. But they also threw up at the ends of races, so I didn't feel like finding out how that felt. I was still somehow fast, and I made (what I know now to be called) running back on our senior girls' powder puff football team. At the time, they just told me, "Someone is going to give you the ball, and you just run as fast as you can." They tried throwing me the ball, but, haha. A little like Forest Gump, no? Oh well. At least I earned a new pale-girl nickname: White Lightning.
I moved to Austin for college and the run from our dorm to the state capital building and back was about 3 or 4 miles. I worked up to what was the longest I'd ever gotten myself to go (because I had a big landmark of a goal at the end) and it became a great morning ritual for a while. That's a life-lesson for ya.
When 9/11 hit I was re-routed because of the closed gates and patrol cars blocking the entrance to the grounds. One of my most vivid memories surrounding that time was that my runs were effected. Everything was, but I remember the running most of all.
Any time I went home to visit my parents I would drive the 5 miles to the track at our high school and run my one- or two-mile run. I did this for three years until I was suddenly forced to take what I'll call a "medical leave of absence" from running. I gradually improved a little, and couldn't wait to run again. I tried a mile at Gregory Gym several months later and realized that it wasn't going to happen. It hadn't really sunken in yet but I was about to go through a rough time of missing something I hadn't actually been consciously attached to.
Not running turned out to be awful. I had moved to Minnesota and was couped up in an apartment without what I'd never realized was a big tension-reliever. I think if there's a time when I could say that I was depressed, that would be it. People who know me will agree that I'm not a crier, but I cried all the time then. And I realized that I missed running.
Some people might say that things got worse when they got bad news on top of a crappy situation, but when my new doctor at Mayo told me I would never run again, the stubborn side of me decided to make sure that I would. After a few procedures, though, several months later, I was getting better and even more determined to beat the odds. People come back from much worse, so I was hoping that I could too.
Eventually I worked up to a mile, and then a pain-free mile, and then more and more distance. I tried my first 5K but I pooped out and had to walk for a minute or two, which was disappointing but something to work toward.
This year I did a Nike+ 5K training program that got me motivated and pushed me, which I obviously have never really done to myself. I opted to have the Nike+ app post my runs on Facebook and I was pleasantly surprised by everyone's comments on my runs every day. I'm not sure if I would have kept it up if there hadn't been that external motivation. Running has taught me a lot about myself. I made it through the week where I did two 10K's one day apart. I was amazed that I actually finished the things. I learned that I could run as far as I could train myself to run. It just may be a little more work, but I had no more excuses.
The weeks before the wedding were almost impossible to get in a run unless I got up at 5:00 and did it, but we all know I'm a miserable morning person, so I took a small break from running. We took our workout gear with us to Spain and got in one workout the week we were gone. I know what my body is like if I haven't been running, so I figured there was no way I would make it more than a mile, but I did two easy ones on the treadmill overlooking the beach. It was pretty sweet.
So when we got home, I bought a new pair of running shoes (the Nike Free 3.0v2's) since I had worn out the 5.0's (lower number = less padding with these shoes...more "barefoot"). They are dark gray and blue and very "retro looking" I think. I did my first run in them yesterday but forgot to stick in my Engo Blister Patches, so I had some nice new blisters a few miles in and stopped. I didn't think I would really feel like running since I'd been away from the gym for so long, but it was great. I was excited to not only put on my fancy new shoes, but to be outside & jamming out to my music (which ended up being a really great random playlist on my Pre).
|Aren't they pretty!?|
Even through all the excitement of new shoes and amazing motivation -- and even my realization that I actually need to run to function -- I have days where I'd rather sit on the couch and watch TV than lace up my shoes. And I don't understand that. I guess it's like anything else in life, but why is that? Why is it so hard to stick to something? To do the right thing? The thing that we know will make us happy if we can just do it? (Sorry, Nike, don't sue me.) But it makes sense. Anyone who's ever gotten something that they wanted...just did it. There's a certain amount of planning, but most of life comes down to our actions and whether we're bold enough to make the ones we just know we should. I'm thankful to have learned that lesson, from my long-time dependance on running. Here's hoping that I can keep this up and continue to improve as I have over the last year. It's been a real trip.