When I began my running journey, I wanted to fall on the sidewalk and melt into the crevices. I hated it. I was uncomfortable, I couldn’t breathe, my legs hurt. I thought, “why the hell do people do this on purpose?” My, how my perspective has changed.
Here goes my tomatoes analogy…
Has this ever happened to you? You aren’t in love with a certain food, but you just eat it anyway, and keep eating it, and eventually love it? Like tomatoes. I used to dislike tomatoes. I mean, I could stomach them, but they weren’t something I craved. Now, I crave tomato salads sprinkled with salt and pepper, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and topped with fresh basil. Just like my relationship with running. I hated it, but I kept going. And now, I run with a purpose. I run for accomplishment, to free my mind and inspire myself. And along this journey, I have gained values and learned invaluable lessons. These are a few…
disconnecting is important
When I run, I am away from all worries, anxieties, and pressures. I am not checking my e-mail, responding to a text or answering a phone call. I do so much of this for 50+ hours a week, that the miles I run are crucial and force me to disconnect from the world. I do have my phone with me, solely to provide my soundtrack. I don’t have anyone telling me where to run, how far to run, how fast to run. I am purely letting go of the restrictions I face on a daily basis, using this outlet I have called the open road, to exercise my freedom (no pun intended). Running allows you to escape, whether it’s for 20 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour or more. You are away, mentally and physically, and that’s a great thing.
how to persevere
Despite how far I have come in my running journey, I still have days where I do want to melt into the pavement. Sometimes I have a stabbing side cramp that only goes away when I stop. There are days where I can feel the blister forming on my toe and would love nothing more than to stop, rip my shoe off and place my foot into a tub of cold water. Much like trials we face in our lives, you must keep going. I chant this phrase in my head when all I want to do is quit: “Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done”. Running has certainly taught me how to persevere when the going gets tough.
[Tweet “Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done #run”]
how to respect my limits
By the same token, we each have our own individual limits that we must respect. I’ve experienced the repercussions of ignoring those limits, first-hand.
Do you see this smile? It’s a complete facade. I’ll never forget this race… my shins felt like they were going to explode and all I wanted to do was stop and cry the entire five miles. Prior to this race, I had pushed myself a little too much. I wasn’t aware of my limits, and it resulted in all of my training going down the tubes. This race was my slowest finish. Because I didn’t give myself the rest I deserved, my race time suffered (and so did my shins). The same goes for work, relationships, balancing responsibilities. Know yourself, understand what you can handle, and learn to say no.
I’m a goal digger
When I lace up my sneakers and walk out my front door, I tell myself “today I’m going to run x miles”. And then, I run x miles. Running has made me aware of the healthy competition I have within myself. It’s a trait that I am proud of, and that I apply to all aspects of life. I refuse to quit, to stop before my best has been put forth, and I am 100% driven by goals and a passion to reach them.
I have heard countless instances where people are ‘saved’ by running. They turn their lives around with running. They lose weight, they de-stress, or they learn about themselves.
Join the conversation:
Runners: what have you learned?
If you aren’t a runner, is there a change you’ve noticed in anyone you know that’s picked up running?
[Tweet “What #running has taught me”]