Wednesday, September 5, 2012

What I've Learned

Last night I set a goal to do 4 miles. During that time I couldn't stop thinking about how tired I was! I kept thinking about how I could change my route and go this way instead of that way so that I could avoid the big hills and yada yada yada...

My foot hurt, my legs were sore, I needed to blow a snot rocket, my underwear were riding up... well, you get the picture. At the 2 mile mark I reached the place where I HAD to make a decision: If I turn right I can make the loop and I'll be running down the big hills instead of up them, or go straight and I'll be running UP the monster hills which is not only harder on my body but makes me run a lot slower. My legs were already tired. I had sweat in my eyes. And just at that moment my stupid iPod starts playing that stupid Kelly Clarkson song about what doesn't kill you makes you stronger... and so I went straight. Up the big stupid hills. And that's when I started reflecting on my running career.

1. I started running constistantly 16 months ago. Love for running (for me, anyway) was an acquired taste. I used to HATE it, I'm not even kidding. It took me about 3 months of forcing myself to do it before I actually found joy in it!

2. The first time I attempted "going for a jog" after Jordan was born I broke down and started crying 5 minutes in. I hurt. I couldn't breath. I was jiggly. I felt so defeated. But I'd heard this quote and it kept me going: "Running slow is not a character trait. Quitting is." I did not want to be a quitter, and so I kept going.

3. I ran my first ever 5K (EVER) in October 2011. I ran it in 25:08 and haven't been able to run that fast since! Over time I've learned that even though I haven't beat my own PR doesn't mean I can't. Sometimes just telling myself "I'm capable of more" during a difficult run gets me through it and forces me to push harder.

4. At some point over the last year I decided I didn't care how gross my stomach is, if it's 95+ degress outside, I'm running in a sports bra, dangit! While, yeah, I am vain enough to want to be one of those hot tan girls showing off her bod, it isn't (always) about showing off to others--it's about proving to myself that I can do more. I have a beautiful collection of stretch marks and loose skin from pregnancy but I'm sorry, if it's hot outside, you're gonna see them.

5. The donut or the banana? That is the question. I won't lie, somedays I eat the donut. But the truth is I usually eat better on days I run. (Better, not perfect.) I love DP too much to eat perfect!

6. The shoes matter. My husband ran with me one day (and he never runs!) and his foot hurt for two weeks after. We only went three miles but he wasn't wearing the right kind of shoes for his feet and running style. I've only been able to con him into running with me one other time since: The Warrior Dash. Now he doesn't even acknowledge me when I mention "running together."

7. It took me a long time to get over my fear of hills. One of the most important things I've learned over the past 16 months (and you can quote me on this) is that the hills NEVER get smaller. They never get shorter. My legs and feet and lungs all hurt during the climb. But, even though the hills never get any easier to conquer physically, they do become less intimidating. That, my friends, gives me so much power as a runner.

8. I am 24 years old, almost 25. Someday I'll be old, right? Someday I'll be wrinkled and hunched and have to use a walker to get around. I never ever in my whole life want to look back and simply WISH I had taken advantage of my youth when I had the chance.

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