At the end of April in 2018, I literally woke up one day and decided I was going to start running. Even my husband was like, “Are you sure? Are you okay? Is something wrong with you?”
If you have known me for a long time, you know I used to HATE running. I mean HATED it. So, even to this day, I am not sure what switch suddenly went off to make me want to get into running. I trained for my first 5K and actually ran one in August of 2018. I immediately signed up for the Color Run 5K, but I began to have major foot pain after my first 5K.
I lost my confidence as a runner, which eventually turned into sadness, almost a depression. I wanted to run but couldn’t without having major foot pain that would cripple me. I think in order to cope, my brain translated my pain and feelings of sadness into a dislike of running. It was a low-blow. I guess I thought that convincing myself that I never liked it anyway was how I had to process my loss because in a way, I was grieving. I never was an athlete or athletically gifted growing up, and I had finally found something I was good at and enjoyed, just for it to be taken.
Summer was also coming to an end, which meant it would be colder, which meant no more running outside. Then the time change kicked in to where it would not be light out until late in the morning, which I couldn’t sit around and wait for because I had to be at work.
There went my time for self-reflection. There went my time to pray and talk to God. There went the peace I felt from hearing the birds, feeling the cool dew in the air, and seeing bunny rabbits along the greenway I ran on. I am not a people person, but I realized I would miss the same people I would see every morning. Even though you don’t talk, you wave at one another, and it’s weird because you develop this kind of I-don’t-know-you-but-I-kind-of-know-you thing. Does that make any sense?
Unless you’re a runner, you may not understand the satisfaction you get from it. I am not sure what kind of voodoo attachment it has on me, but there was a part of me that kept telling my soul to not give up. To find a way. To push through and try, try again. I needed something to hang on to, something to call me home.
One day, my best friend told me about the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I kind of blew it off, thinking there would be no way I could ever do that. This may sound cheesy, but I saw what the medal looked like on a Facebook Ad, and I was hooked. I wish I could say that I was running to save the bees or some noble cause like that, but I am running because I saw this kick-ass Aurora (from “Sleeping Beauty”) medal and I just thought, “I. WANT. THAT.” I am telling you…It does not take much to make me happy.
So, here I am. I am about to complete the Couch to 5K program (again!), and I have this half marathon in the back of my mind, but it’s wintertime. I can’t run outside. Fear not, said the running gods. That is why there are gyms.
After being an outside runner for so long, I swore up and down I would NEVER run on a treadmill and like it. To be honest, it is not that bad. However, I would choose running outside over the treamill any day of the week. But, it is January, and this is the reality for right now.
The other day, I hit a new personal record and shocked myself: I ran for 25 minutes straight. No breaks. No slowing down. Just 25 minutes of pure running. I had NEVER done that before in my life, so I can’t begin to describe how happy I was and how proud I was. Just from that run alone, I realized a lot about myself and learned a few things.
Here are 3 things I have learned from running on a treadmill:
1) Perseverance. There is nothing more rewarding than pushing through something difficult and sticking it out to the end, especially if you thought of quitting several times. When I first started running, I hated how weak and winded I got. I thought I would never be able to run for more than a few minutes at a time. Fast forward a few weeks, and I am almost done with the Couch to 5K app (for the second time!). I know it is just running, but for me, I don’t believe it is not for the faint of heart. It takes perseverance to run distance. Anyone can run fast, but can you go the distance?
2) It is your mind, not your body, that you have to convince to keep pushing through. They say you don’t know how long a minute is until you’re exercising. They’re right. I have learned to coach myself during my runs. My inner personal trainer cheers me on but also screams at me when I think about quitting. She screams at me when I start having sloppy form. She also keeps me accountable and reminds me to give my best. I try to take it minute by minute. If that’s too much, I take it by 30 seconds. When I ran for 25 minutes straight the other day, near the end, I had to take it 10 seconds at a time to get through. My point is: Whatever problem you’re facing, try to break it down into manageable chunks for your brain or else it will fatigue. How can you apply this to other areas of your life?
3) You are in complete control. If it’s too fast, take it down a notch. If it’s not pushing you, get out of your comfort zone. If it scares you, take on the challenge and grow. If you have read a few of my other blog posts, you know I am a control freak. This is one thing I have 100% control over. Control Freaks, rejoice!
One day, I will run that Disney Princess Half Marathon and cross the finish line. One day. For now, I am going to focus on becoming comfortable with running for 3+ miles and incorporate some strength training to make sure these legs are strong and stable. I guess you could say this is one of my 2019 goals. This will take time, but I am committed to improving my running mileage for 2019. I am tracking my miles for each run to see what my mileage is at the end of the year! Remember, it’s a marathon, not a race.
What are YOUR 2019 goals?