I didn’t think I’d have to post again about running until I finished a race. I figured so much other life would be happening in the eight plus weeks between when I started and when I definitively reached my goal of crossing a 5k finish line that running would be a back burner item until then.
Running is not a back burner item.
This is the first mystery I have unlocked since I began this thing. (I may actually be starting to get these whackadoo runners.) There is a reason Facebook and Instagram are flooded with running photos and running stats and running routes: running is all-encompassing. And it’s hard.
Each time you finish a run, you feel like you’ve accomplished something. I haven’t been posting about my progress, but a few friends are getting regular updates. It’s not that I think they care, I just have to tell someone. “Great, Heather, you can run 22 whole minutes in a row. How far did you get?” they ask politely. Let’s not get muddled in details…
So, go easy on the runners who feel the need to share. Yes, they like to tell the world each time they finish another race. It's a solid accomplishment after months of hard work. Other people feel the need to tell the world each time they have another baby. Nobody gives them grief.
Besides how hard it is to actually run, it is also hard to carve a new habit into your schedule and keep it there as life launches time-sucking catapults at you without warning. If I had followed the plan diligently, I’d be finished the eight weeks by now. I’m not. My next run will start week seven. I’ve decided not to be hard on myself for getting off track, though. Instead, much like each individual run, I’m proud of myself for not quitting… even though sometimes I really, really want to.
Here’s the really insane part: sometimes I don’t want to quit. Sometimes I actually look forward to running. My body kind of tingles with excess energy that I have a strong urge to burn. Really, it’s almost like I crave a run. WHAT?! I know, you guys. I know. I’m just as surprised as you are. I can’t account for this lunacy. Maybe all the oxygen hunger has led to brain damage.
Running has not made me skinnier. I’ve lost zero pounds since I’ve started. I don’t even care. Honestly, I think there are easier ways to lose weight. What it has given me, though, is a mind shift.
When I was in my early twenties, I made a list of all the things I wanted to do in my life. (I was in sales and spent a lot of time thinking and not a lot of time cold calling — hence, I wasn’t a very good salesperson.) My list had things like: learn another language, visit Hawaii, speak in front of a large group of people, write a book, learn kung fu, run a marathon... You know, a bucket list. The concept was still new then. It was very exciting.
Sometime in my early thirties, I grew a cloud of doubt about what I was capable of and what I was likely to do with myself. The list made me sad and full of regret for the things I knew I’d never do. I think I threw it away so I wouldn’t keep feeling bad about myself when I read it.
Running a marathon was probably the thing I was most sure I’d never do. (Not “learn kung fu”, oddly.) For the first time since I wrote that list, I find myself wondering if maybe I could. I’m also wondering what else I might be able to do before my time is up.
I may have been motivated to become a runner by seeing skinny bodies and wanting to have one of my very own, but, what keeps me running is how I want to answer one question: Are you capable of doing this?
Yes. I am.
I like to throw things.