Life is crazy. I grew up thinking runners were some sort of freaks of nature. I seriously couldn’t understand the types of people that would run for fun. Fun? Who the hell did they think they were? What was fun about running?
I had asthma. I couldn’t run. I stuck a label on myself and kept it there. For years. I was NOT a runner. . . that’s what I would tell everyone. Running is not my thing. Period.
I’m not sure exactly where my thought process changed. I guess I spent a lot of time reading self-help books and working on myself sans-divorce. I still enjoy working on myself. I really enjoy learning new things and seeing how I can incorporate them into my daily life. Somewhere along the line I became inspired. I would watch people run and think “How can they do that?”. I didn’t understand it, but I was slowly wanting to become a runner. I couldn’t run a half mile without stopping, but a friend asked me to run a 5k and I thought “Easy enough. I’m in.”. After all, I’m fairly athletic. It’s just a few miles.
Running is 90% mental and 10% physical. Prior to the day of that 5k, I had never run 3 miles without stopping for a walk break. That day I refused to stop. My asthma kicked in and I sounded like a hyena, but I ran. All 3.1 miles. I was hooked. I finally realized I could do it. It was mental. That’s not to say my fairly stupid attempt at running 3 miles straight without stopping was smart. . . it certainly wasn’t. My legs were not prepped for that sort of activity. I went all in too quickly. I could hardly walk the few days after. My left knee was in horrible pain and I was certain. . . it was IT band syndrome. A few doctor’s visits, an MRI, and hundreds of dollars later. . . I found out that I had bursitis in my knee. Probably a best case scenario – inflammation of the bursa in my knee (the side of my knee, acting like IT band). Some Advil should do the trick. So I messed with the Advil and got it under control. I worked with my doctor to get control of my asthma, switched up inhalers, and I was on my way.
I increased my mileage. I couldn’t believe the day I ran 5 miles. Then it was 6. Before you know it, I was running 10 miles every Saturday (my long run day) and loving every minute. I signed up for more races. A 15k. A half marathon just a little over a week ago. I ran it. EVERY. SINGLE. INCH. I RAN IT ALL. I never stopped to walk. I had to pee really badly, but refused to wait 5-10 minutes in line (I didn’t want to stop that long), so I kept running. Full bladder and all. I completed my first half in 2 hours 19 minutes. Not a great time by any means. But I ran it all.
Then I hurt. All week long I hurt. I ran with my shoulders tight. I had the worst headache all week that came and went. My calves were tight, but I could manage that. The headache was miserable. But, I got through it all. A little chiro adjustment helped. Next time, I will schedule a massage for the Monday after. Yep, next time. I run my next half on June 3rd. I’m all in.
What is it about running? Why do I like it so much? Running is hard. The first two miles are sort of tough for me. Once I’m into mile 2 or 3, I generally find my happy place. I find a good rythm in my breathing (it took me time to get that under control) and it becomes a movement I don’t have to think about. It is my zen place. I do my long Saturday runs outdoors, without music. Yep, NO MUSIC. I will usually track my runs via mapmyrun, but otherwise I love the sound of my feet hitting the pavement. That little sound of my running shoes hitting the gravel is my music. The sound of my inhaler clinking on my runner’s belt. . . it’s all the rythm I need. If I start having problems breathing or having pain in my knees I quiet all the noise in my head and listen to my inhaler. . . clink. . . clink. . . clink. . . And I’m almost instantly back to my happy place.
I know all of this sounds a little crazy. . . maybe it is.
I try to meditate a few times a week and I think that is why I love running so much. It is my natural form of meditation. My brain is quiet. There are no kids fighting over who’s turn it is in the bathroom or screaming about their brother picking their nose (ummm. . . yes, that happens). There are no dirty dishes, no messy floors, no laundry. It is just peace. Absolute peace.
If you think running isn’t your thing. . . think again. I’d love to run with you if you are up for it! Find your meditation. . . your zen. Once you do, you will seek it out just as I have with running. Find that thing that makes you feel whole, if only for 5 minutes. Give yourself that love that you deserve.
Heck. I even hire my niece to babysit so I can run for a few hours! #ishouldpayherdouble