When I get read to go for a run, my mind conjures up dreamy images of my feet rhythmically hitting the pavement, my favorite music loud in my ears, wind in my hair, cool air on my face, my mind not stressing about anything, just being.
And then I actually go “running”.
I do have my favorite music in my ears, and my feet are certainly hitting the pavement, but that’s where the resemblances stop.
The reality is: I can’t catch my breath, my heart is beating faster than I feel might be safe, my mind is trying to convince me to stop at every step, (a lot of times it wins), and I am completely UN-COM-FOR-TA-BLE.
But, after I’m finished, I end up feeling great and suddenly I love running again!
When I was about 20 years younger, and ran often, and I was pretty good at it!
I would run ten miles on a weekend, regularly. But then I had 3 kids, dogs, wife responsibilities, and my running fell by the wayside. I’ve picked it up and dropped it several times throughout the years, but I’ve never worked at getting my running back to the level it used to be.
Technically I know how to run. I know I should start out slowish, get a nice pace, don’t “outrun” my breath, don’t overthink it, and just put one foot in front of the other. Easy enough, right?!
Instead I start out way too fast, can’t catch my breath, overthink EVERYTHING, and keep giving myself permission to quit. I know it would probably help to start over from the beginning and train to run the correct way, but instead I just keep trying to contain myself at the beginning of each run, and next thing I know I’m speeding up, breathing too fast, and the cycle starts all over again.
So, in a nutshell, my “running” currently sucks.
But, the most important thing I can do about that, is keep showing up. Last year, even though I knew I couldn’t run 6 miles consecutively, I still signed up for a 1/2 marathon in Yosemite. I decided to view it as an adventure, and not just a run.
The morning of the run, all of the athletes were shuttled up to the top of a mountain at roughly 6am. I was tired, freezing, intimidated, and I had to go to the bathroom about 15 times before the start. But once the run started I felt AMAZING! The views were amazing and the people so nice and supportive (at one point before the start a whole group huddled around me because I was visibly shivering!).
I will admit I struggled a lot of the way — I stopped and started, stopped and started— but eventually I finished it – THIRTEEN FREAKIN’ MILES!! I don’t even remember how long it took, maybe 3 hours? But it was such an awesome experience!
Since then I have signed up for several 10k’s, but I try to stick mostly to trail runs . Running on a road to me just gets so monotonous. I admire anyone who can run or walk miles on a road or a treadmill, it takes a lot of patience!
I look forward to running on trails because: 1) The scenery can’t be beat and 2) Trying not to roll an ankle or trip and face plant (all of which I’ve done) forces me to keep my eyes focused on the ground and my mind engaged on the run. It involves shifting my steps from jogging, to jumping and side-stepping rocks, tree roots and other obstacles. I spend so much time concentrating on my steps and the path that 6 miles is done before I know it! And since I’m definitely not going for speed, I can stop a few times and catch some beautiful scenery, like this:
The views alone are worth all the effort! There’s something so peaceful and satisfying about just being still for a moment in the quiet awesomeness of nature.
So maybe you’re struggling with something you don’t feel you’re good at, or you’re frustrated with? Or maybe you’ve been wanting to try something new but are intimidated? My suggestion is: Keep! Showing! Up! Put in the effort and you WILL get better! Just make sure to give yourself some grace (no self-judging allowed!), and acknowledge your victories, even the small ones.
I know I will keep running, and I will keep getting better at it. And even if I don’t end up running as far or as long as I want, for now, I will definitely remember to enjoy the journey!
Thank you for reading my little blog 🙂