A year ago today I went on my first run. Okay, it wasn’t my first run ever, BUT it was a year ago today that I went out with the intention to start running. I have started and stopped many times, but this time was different. At first it was the same. I had to talk, or shame, myself out the door. The runs were short and involved almost as much walking as running, but slowly they increased. I signed up for a 5k as a motivator – I didn’t want to make a fool of myself so I had better stick with it. I got a copy of Runner’s World, it was great, and then I ordered a subscription. Now I had to keep running because who wants to be the tool who has a subscription to a running magazine but doesn’t run? Not me! (my apologies if this is you)
A month or so after I started, on a run on a beautiful sunny day, I heard a voice say, “I love this!” I almost stopped to look around, who said that? Not I, who hated running all of my life, but I knew it was me. It was months before I would even allow myself to say, “I am a runner.” Running challenges me to be more accepting of myself, no high standards, no comparing yourself to others. There will always be people faster than me, in my case, a lot of people. There will always be people who can run further than me (quite a few of these people out there too). When people first asked me after a race if I “won” I would scoff and think, “are you kidding?” There are some seriously fast people out there, but then one day I realized I did win. I win every time I go out there – finishing is winning.
I gained a lot through running this year. I made a friend! Which is pretty awesome because I’m really pretty shy about those things. And while Kristi and I didn’t meet because of running, it is what built our friendship. I also bonded with my little brother, Roy. We ran two races with each other this year, and I think I even have him convinced to run a 3rd with me. Roy and I were close anyway, but this gave us a shared experience and activity, and I LOVE that.
I learned that running can be super nerdy (score!). You can track your time and your miles, and your time by miles. Plus you can read and read and read about running, and when you don’t want to read about running you can read about nutrition which will help your running. I learned to appreciate nature more. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always loved nature, but being out on a trail regularly increases your exposure. I even learned a new bird – the Indigo Bunting (thanks, Kristi!).
I learned my biggest challenge isn’t my physical limitations, but the voice in my head. Learning to go further, and learning that I’m stronger than I think, has been invaluable. I’ll take learning this through running, rather than hardship, any day!
I lost two pounds this year. I know, I know, two pounds, big deal. But the thing is I’m really not that big, and I can also see my increased muscle mass so that two pounds, that’s pretty neat. I feel stronger. My pants are all too big, which is a little annoying because I dislike shopping, but there are worse problems and being healthy is worth it.
BUT one of my most favorite things about running? It’s Aubrey wanting to go running. She doesn’t really go very far, and she frequently tells me her legs are sore from running (hey mini-parrot), but her excitement to get out and go is great. Granted someday she may abhor running because her uncool mom does it, but maybe not, and that makes me feel great.