Way back when my life was flipped upside down and sideways, I was talking to my therapist about my desire to get into running. I had started running once before as a means to help me lose weight, but I got caught up in life and I quit. With everything that was going on, I needed an outlet, and I knew that could help. She talked me into spending money I didn’t really have on a nice pair of running shoes, explaining that it was worth all the happiness and health that those shoes would provide. Little did I know at the time, just how true that statement was.
I bought those shoes. I went to a running store and they recommended a few pair, and I chose the ones that were most comfortable. A pair of Mizuno’s. And I hit the trails. I spent a lot of time in those shoes. They helped me deal with the day-to-day stress and pain. Over the course of the past 4 years, my running has ebbed and flowed. I went through spurts. I was in an awesome groove about 2 years back, when I saw a challenge to log 100 miles in the month of March. I committed. And I succeeded. And I burnt out. It wasn’t long after that, that I stopped running completely. I would go out here and there, just to try finding that place again, but I wasn’t in it. I fell back to old habits. My daughter was back home, and I was complacent, and back to a comfortable place. Then the weight started coming back.
So this year, I decided to take back my life. I had come to a couple realizations. Well, one big one. I had to start living for myself. Yes, since my divorce, I’ve said I was. But in all honesty, my choices still revolved around my daughter. Everything I did was for her. Yes, I was running for myself, but I was also trying to be a good role model, trying to get her interested in personal fitness for herself as well. I found myself falling into old habits, and I wasn’t happy there. I had some new running shoes, and I laced them up and forced myself out the door again.
I approached this new season differently. I started slowly, I no longer forced myself out the door at the crack of dawn. Even though my daughter didn’t join me in my quest, she encouraged me, and helped by cooking dinner many nights, and that was more than I could ask for. I was truly doing this for me. I wanted to feel good about myself again. I made running a chore for a month or more, just something I had to do. Until one day, it hit me that it was no longer a chore, but a choice. A choice that I wanted to make. And I started enjoying it again. I felt back at home.
Sorry for the novel length of this post, but it IS going somewhere, I promise! So fast forward to July. I met a friend for coffee in June, and found out she had started running also. We have close to the same pace. We both use MapMyRun to track our runs and our progress, and part of the app is you can challenge other runners. So she challenged me for 30 days to see who could log the most miles. Now, I approached this like I had been all my running. Did it motivate me to run on days I may have otherwise skipped? Absolutely! But I wasn’t pushing myself to that point of burnout again. As a side note, I had gone back home (my Mom’s home) over the fourth of July weekend, and wanted to run a race. So I signed up for an 8k in Cedar Rapids. They had a 5k also, but I felt like I needed to push myself. I used to run 5 miles at a time, so I knew I could do it, even though it was forever ago that I had done it last. Well, I ran it, and I survived, and I even felt great after! So with my challenge, and the knowledge that I could log 5 mile runs, I started increasing my mileage and pushing myself further. Sunday was the last day of the challenge. I had already increased my weekend run to 7 miles give or take. And when I saw on Friday that I needed 7.6 miles to hit 100 for the 30 day period, I had to do it. So my 7 mile run became 7.6. And my total for the 30 days was just over 100 miles!
The point of my novel is to say that sometimes accomplishments are more about the approach then the end result. I had no intentions of logging 100 miles in a 30 day period. It just happened. The time was right, I was increasing mileage, and by default, it’s what I did. The first time I did it, I pushed myself to a point I wasn’t ready for. And I paid the price with losing my desire to run. I guess what I’m trying to get at, is sometimes we have to make choices and do what is right for ourselves at the current moment. Just go with the flow. Speaking of which, it’s amazing how much things have improved in the past six months. I think I’ve truly found myself. I’m happy, I’m comfortable, and everything has really been falling into place in ways I never would have dreamed. All it takes is a little faith, hope and patience.
Since I’m me, and have to include a photo, I’m sharing a pic from the other day of my new running shoes. I’m still not sure how much I love them, the jury is still out. And my quote for the day is one of my all time favorite running quotes, and the one that forces me to go when I truly feel like staying home. It has held true for me. Every time.
“The only run I ever regret is the one I didn’t take.”