|5K Glow Run from February|
So here's the deal - running is terrible. It really is. Somehow though, in the last year, I've come to enjoy it.
I still dread doing it some (. . . or most) days, but once I'm about 4 minutes in I hit this really nice groove and things are just good. I move - and I mean really move. The amount of distance I can cover is so gratifying. Austin and I usually take this trail near our apartment complex and it's cool to watch it all pass by as I run. My favorite part is about 3/4 of the way through, at this one section of trees where we always see fireflies if we're out at dusk. Running in the summer heat has its perks.
I have learned to love the wonderful burn of pushing my muscles up a hill or through an extra minute's sprint. I also love the way I feel after I'm finished; it's the kind of accomplished that leaves you involuntarily smiling. I enjoy that because of all this I have more energy and stamina overall. We went to the beach last month and I was so surprised at how easily I spent all day moving around in the sand. This was the first year that hasn't worn me out. I went for a walk down to the pier and back at least once a day.
There are still some days that I get through a workout and I hate it and I seriously consider quitting. I was so sad to see the progress lost after I hurt my hip, and that almost did it. But I'm coming back and I'm glad. Building the endurance to "just keep going" has been as much of a mental thing as a physical one. When my body tells me it's tired, oftentimes it really means that it doesn't feel like putting forth effort anymore. It's a mind game to realize when that's true and then to convince your legs to keep moving. Improving there has given me a mental strength that conquers more than physical activities - and that I certainly did not expect. I find it much more bearable now to do things that I just don't feel like doing. Self-discipline is a skill to be honed.
Running is empowering. It only requires tennis shoes and determination. Anyone can have those things if they try - I can testify to that. Running used to be one of the weakest areas of my entire life. I can remember how impossible it felt to jog for 5 straight minutes on a treadmill. Last night I ran on a treadmill again for the first time in a long time. Five minutes went by and I realized that I needed to bump up the speed to challenge myself. I'm glad I decided to do this. I'm glad I stuck it out. I'm glad I can say now that I actually like running, not just the idea of being a runner.