I used to hate running. I had no problem running while playing a sport, but why would you just run for purely the sake of running? I mean, really, what is the appeal?
I was turned off by the monotony of it. Running to me was just miles upon miles of you taking one step after another...you hittin' the pavement in a methodical manner as you watch the various landmarks tick by. Your lungs feel like exploding, your legs feel like tree trunks, and so you ask yourself for the hundredth time, "Why am I even doing this?!?" Even more mundane, though, is running on a treadmill. Talk about doing a whole lot of work to go absolutely nowhere. Now that was one big snooze fest.
I think another factor that played into my anti-running mentality is that runners are really in an elite group of people. Not that they think they are elite, but in my book they always have been. I was a basketball and volleyball loving kind of gal, and could never picture myself doing cross country training regimens. During my days teaching I worked with a guy that ran marathons at what would be my full-out sprint speed. His dedication to his sport was very impressive to me, but it wasn't one that I saw myself incorporating into my workouts. I knew I was never going to be on "that level" so why even start?
My knees became another issue. Since being diagnosed with Osgood-Schlatter disease (it is a real thing, and something kind of fun to say) in my youth, my knees have been a sore spot for me. Then during an intramural basketball game in college I collided with a friend and blew out my ACL. After two ACL surgeries my surgeon told me to take it easy on that knee...as I got older it wouldn't get any better. To make sure I listened to his wise advice I gladly gave up incorporating runs into my workouts.
You might be asking yourself what changed in me to the point that I'm now writing a blog about a running challenge. I honestly couldn't pinpoint the exact moment, but I do recall one event that got me thinking. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law were visiting us one summer, and they were in the middle of a running challenge of their own. I decided to run part of it with them to see how I would do. I remember the awesome feeling I had at the end of my run, and...a new interest took flight.
For all the reasons I stated above on why I didn't like running took on new meaning years later. The mundane monotony? I now love it. It is rare for a mom to ever have a quiet moment around their children, but I could when I ran! What a lightbulb moment for me. You mean I have 30 quiet uninterrupted minutes to myself to think my thoughts in peace and quiet? Count me in!
Have I become a true "runner?" You know, the one with all the fancy running gear that easily runs 10 miles at a shot when the temperatures dip well below the freezing mark? Most definitely not, and it certainly doesn't bother me at all. I do NOT say this to mock the running elite, but to admire them. As I have aged I've grown more confident in myself and am just proud of where I am and what I'm doing. It is a challenge to better myself so I'm not playing any comparison game here. I've run multiple 5K races and just take joy in completing them and beating a PR. Crossing the finish line is always a great feeling, so I keep on going.
|My tech-savvy husband made this |
handy chart for me to track my miles.
On January 1st I asked friends and family on social media to like a post I made on Facebook and Instagram. For every like that post received I said I would walk or run 3 miles in the coming year. The final count came to 273 miles, but I decided to round it up to 350 miles - the exact distance from my home to my parents' house in Wisconsin. I don't like to back down from a challenge, so I just decided to go for it.
Since I usually just run around 3 miles at a shot, it took some quick math to realize that I'll need to up my game. That means during the cold weather I need to wake up earlier to get to a local fitness center to pop on a treadmill. I also will need to up my mile count per week.
So, here I go! This week I started with treks to the fitness center, but when it warms up I'll venture outside. No matter my running venue, I now have a goal set before me. A goal I intend to accomplish. Time to lace'em up and get going...one step at a time.
Simply put...I'm just putting one foot in front of the other.