I started running about three years ago.
I couldn’t run more than thirty seconds at a time, and it took me a good two years before I could run more than three miles without feeling like I was going to die every step of the way.
Now I can run for a while and feel pretty good the whole time. I’m still not fast at all, though.
But now I look forward to running.
I know. I never thought I would say that, but now I actually enjoy going for a run.
You non-runners will probably roll your eyes, but I swear to God there is actually such a thing as a runner’s high.
But that’s not the reason I love running the most.
Running for me is a major anti-depressant. Forget the physical “high”.
I bet if you took a CAT scan of my brain before and after I go for a run there would be major differences.
But that Zoloft effect isn’t the reason I love running the most either.
No, I love running because it’s a metaphor for life.
The first mile or two of a run can suck. You’re not loose, and you feel sluggish and you wonder if you are going to be able to run for more than two miles. You say to yourself, I think I should just bag it today.
And then you come to a hill.
There is no fucking way I can make it up this hill today, you think.
But you don’t want to quit. So you keep going. One foot in front of the other.
Ten feet from the top of the hill you are sure you’re going to die.
And then before you know it, you are at the top. And you are still alive.
And you feel really really proud of yourself for not stopping.
And then you go down the hill and you come to a flat stretch that was just like the stretch you started out on.
But now that flat stretch that felt so hard in the beginning of your run seems so easy compared to that hill you just ran up!
You are much stronger than you thought you were!
That is why I love running. It’s just like life.
There aren’t many flat parts. (Not here in Brookfield, anyway). There are lots of hills to climb.
Sometimes you have to slow down to get to the top of them, but eventually, one foot in front of the other, you make it up there.
And that helps you to put the other not so hilly parts of the run into perspective.
I used to worry about how fast I was running.
I’d worry if people driving by in their cars were looking at me and thinking, Whoah. She’s pretty fucking slow.
Last week I went for a run and some young, gazelle-like kid flew past me. For a second I wanted to tell him, I’ve been running for fifty minutes and I still have another forty to go!
Then I snapped out of it.
We are all at different points in our runs here in life.
And that’s what I think we can also get so caught up in. Keeping up with that dude flying past us. Wondering what he is thinking about us.
You know what?
Who the fuck cares?
I might be moving more slowly than he is, but I’m still moving. And who knows how long he’s been running for, or if he’s being young and stupid and doesn’t know how to pace himself.
I may be slow. But I’m smart.
I’m only an average runner, but that’s fine by me. Don’t get me wrong. I still have running goals. There are times I want to achieve.
But I’m realizing that the lessons I learn along the way are so much more meaningful than how quickly I get there.
And the same as in life, I’m not worrying about who’s ahead of or behind me. Or whizzing past by me.
I’m just running my own race, learning a whole lot about myself along the way, and realizing that there is no hill I can’t make it to the top of.
I may need to slow down a little.
Or a lot.
But I’ll make it to the top. And when I do, whatever is on the other side won’t seem all that bad.
Oh, and I haven’t forgotten. I have a picture this week, but I’m mixing it up a little bit.
This weight loss competition I’m in gives you a t-shirt.
I was a little late to pick mine up, so there were only larges and smalls left.
I really don’t want to wear a large men’s t-shirt ever again.
So I took the small one, knowing it would be too tight.
Which it is.
But it will look a lot different in eight weeks…
Just gotta keep running up those hills!
Photos taken by Number 3,
and interrupted by Number 7.