Those of you who know me know that I am a runner. Those of you that don’t well now know that I run and by running I mean full on scale, race endorsing, three miler and more runner. Yes three miles. For some reason people seem to explode when I tell them that I do this form of exercise. Maybe it’s the idea that you are literally putting yourself out there and making yourself go through pain just to do the exercise. Maybe its that you have to do this multiple times a week just to keep up the workout and not restart every time you step outside your door. Maybe its because I am a female who Is running and throwing my whole body in the motion and yea I don’t look good doing it. Yes it hurts sometimes. Yes I have those moments where I don’t want to run.
The thing about doing anything new is that its not supped to be easy. Running is no different. If anything it is actually one of the harder sports out there because most of the time it requires you to be by yourself. Being alone means you have to mentally and physically keep yourself going. Control. Control is key in this sport that I participate in.
Control over yourself, your thoughts, your state and sometimes the idea of moving your body long distances while sweating and trying to breathe sounds terrible and way to hard for most. For me it was a challenge just to get this far and keep up with it. Getting this far always surprises me. I never saw myself as that person who could run a 5k (that’s three miles) in 26 minutes. I never saw myself like I see those women in magazines. You know the ones. The ones who are smiling, hair up and flying in the wind, full stride and light sweat overtaking the body. I.NEVER.Saw.that.Happening. Not a single day in my life did I imagine myself in that picture instead of that model or that athlete.
It’s a struggle everyday to tell yourself if your going to do that run or not. Even now I sit here wondering if I can actually do alright in this race but you know what always makes me move forward and do the run? The fact that I know I can do it and the fact that I would feel terrible If I stepped away now. I see myself being athletic, I love the high I get once the run is halfway though, I love the sweat since it shows off how hard I was working, I love that I am moving my body on my own accord to do something others find awful, I love that this now me.
I think that we have this idea that something is too hard and we back away once we try it once but the thing about life is that if doing something new was always easy then every one would do it. Every one doing the same thing, and being ABLE to do the same things sounds great in theory, until you really put it out there in detail. Why does anybody want anything to be easy? We would all be alike. We would all think the same. We would all be so boring to one another and be trying to come up with a "new" and creative way to do something but, even if we did everybody would already be able to do that.
Don’t ever limit yourself just because you think your size is too big, or you think it hurts too much, or that one time you tried you did terribly and it was embarrassing. Never let yourself stop doing something that is healthy for your body and for you. I run because I enjoy it. I run because it makes me healthy. I run because it always shows me that I can keep getting faster if I stick with it. I run because putting that distance between me and everybody else is exactly how I want it to be. I want to be able to run as far as I do and tell others that its not so bad once you get going. I want to be that example for those all ages, sizes, colors.
Success isn't always about business. Sometimes success is feeling good about what you do for yourself.
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I get asked a lot of questions when it comes to my relationship with running. Usually it’s something along the lines of "Three Miles! How are you able to do that!?" and usually I crack a smile and give the best answer that I can to the question. Usually it’s something along the lines of "Well I mean I have had a love/hate relationship with the sport. It hasn’t been all easy" and then I go into detail about my experience with it. People usually have two reactions to the idea of running.
Reaction 1: Hellllllll naw, never happening in the history of the universe.
Reaction 2: That’s so cool I wish I could do running like you do...maybe sometime I will give it a real go.
Both of these reactions I have experienced in all kinds of levels. Some go to the extreme of extremes when I tell them what I know. When this happens a lot of the time the appropriate response is to usually find a way to get away from the subject, only because it causes people to get aggressive. You can try to say it in all different formats but if someone if just not wanting to hear what you have to say about it then you have to stop and figure out how to make the conversation more fitting to who is listening. Most people do get interested and ask for advice on how to get going on running. So for those of you that have responded with Reaction 2 to somebody who runs, here are things I have learned about running that may help you make a decision on if you want to give it a real shot or not.
Lesson 1: Running is not easy: I don’t think I have ever done a sport that is as rough as this one. Honestly I have struggled with it for the past five years or so. I think of myself as a runner now because it took me so long to commit to it and to learn that you have to keep going constantly to get good at running. It’s not easy and it certainly isn’t something that you can stop one day, come back a couple weeks later and still be in the same spot you were when you last did the sport. Running takes a commitment. It’s almost like a relationship but for your mind and body. It’s something that you have to constantly keep up with. When you start doing it on a regular it becomes difficult and you have a lot of ups and downs when you first start. It’s so easy to get frustrated when you don’t think your progressing but the truth is that in this sport, every time you go outside and you do another run it IS progressing. You may not feel it right away but each time you get off that couch and you go outside to do another set, it is helping your muscles get used to the sport. Sure it may hurt, it may be frustrating but if you want that relationship to work out bad enough you will stick to it.
Lesson 2: Food is the ingredient to success: I will admit that food is delicious. We eat it every day but some days you want that slice of cake, or that whole pumpkin pie, maybe even that tray of cookies you just bought from the store or made at home. Well let me be the person who delivers the news to you here and now. You have to slow down. Sure you want to treat yourself. You want to make yourself happy and eat that one cookie (which leads to five, don’t fool yourself you know you were just thinking that) which then leads to you wanting more sugar throughout the day. You can’t do that. When you start a sport like running it isn’t just "something you do" it’s a life change. Food is so important to your performance when you run. If you have too heavy of a dinner before you run then you can get slowed down, gas, or even...oh how I dare to say it, the ****s. Yea I said it. The ****s. If you have ever been to a race there is usually that one person who is running for the porta potty and there are usually two reasons for this; 1: Too much food before the race and that food has loads of carbs or 2: wayyyy to much coffee and they didn’t go to the bathroom before. Poor, poor bastards. So if you do decide to start this sport for any reason make sure to eat all the heavy foods on days your NOT going to go for a run. Especially if your new to it and you dont know how your body will react to certain foods when you are running.
Lesson 3: Water Water Water: You would be surprised by the number of people I know that tell me that they want to start exercising like I do and when I ask them if they drink enough water I usually get "well I really don’t like water so I drink soda". No No NO NO! The key to running without feeling dizzy, nauseated, and or getting cramps as often is WATER. Soda does nothing but creates gas, dehydration and high counts of sodium which you don’t need. We as humans need water to stay hydrated and to make sure everything in your body is working correctly. Not having enough water can cause you unable to move forward. It can make you stop running all together and cause you to have side cramps which are not fun. Soda is not easy to get off of either. It is actually addicting. So if you decide to move forward with this then you need to slowly pull back on the soda and add in the water. Start small and make your way to getting rid of it completely. Your times will change drastically and you will see so much improvement on your body.
I hope some of these lessons will help you get started on your path to running or at least help you make a decision on if you want to actually get serious about it. Yea you will have a lot of ups and downs. Yes you will make mistakes in this lifestyle change. Yes you may have a few incidents when the ****s are literally on their way and you are going crazy trying to get back to the toilet on time. Yea you will hate it. But you know, for me it has changed my life.
I wouldn’t trade this sport for anything else in the world.
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