Five years ago I ran a half marathon. This was about a year after I began to run regularly. I went from being someone who found the idea of starting to exercise daunting. I wasn’t sure HOW to begin so therefore I chose not to.
Until a friend offered to help me and began working out with me. We started with walking laps, then eventually working up to full on running. In a few months I was out there on my own, running five to six days a week.
Signing up for the half marathon was a way for me to keep working towards a goal. My first goal of weight loss had been attained. Without setting goals, maintaining health and fitness gets boring. I needed a new challenge and it was needed.
In the ensuing years, running became my on again, off again relationship. Seasons of being gung ho and excited about it and other seasons of feeling meh about it. But I return to it again and again for many reasons.
It’s cheaper to run than to join a gym. I only need to invest in a good pair of sneakers and off I go! I’m lucky to live in a community with several parks and at least one with lights perfect for evening runs.
Staying consistent with running has been a struggle without having a goal. I’ve decided to start setting new goals, in this vein I signed up for a 5k this Thanksgiving morning. Next I hope to do a 10K then perhaps another half marathon.
Paying for these races is an investment and an incentive to meet these goals. I desire to take care of this body as well as I can. Running has taught me so much about the things my body is able to do. It has taught me about how I can want to give up and the benefits pushing through that.
Those lessons are invaluable.
Running has been my best friend and my frienemy. My longenst on again, off again relationship thus far. Becoming a runner was not anything I had ever envisoned for myself over four years ago. It was by far the most convienent and accessable form of exercise for me. I only needed a good pair of shoes and a nearby park to do it. It also helped to have a buddy at the time also running alongside me, pushing me to run one more lap, then another. Running has taught me that so much, which is why it has become the habit I quite can’t quit. I go through phases of going hard at it, not quite the six days a week habit I had four years ago. Today it looks more like three maybe four days a week, but still I’m getting out there.
Other times it looks like ghosting. I ignore the reasons I need to run and end up doing nothing. There have been times when I have used my work schedule as a reason for not doing it, but the truth is I simply did not want to run. But I need it.
Running keeps me physically and mentally healthy. A good morning run not only starts my body off well but my mind. It helps to wake me up and prepare my mind for the day. Running for me can be medidative. In this I mean nothing else is going through my mind is getting through it.( That and the lyrics from the Hamilton musical and Mix tape).
It is cost effective. As I stated above all you really need is a good pair of sneakers to run. No gym membership fee needed. I can run solo or with a group ( something I haven’t been able to do yet but hope to soon) and those are free too.
I enjoy it. Despite how I sometimes dread going, I don’t want to get out of bed. Or after a long day the last thing I want to is go home to run or work out. If I didn’t enjoy it, I wouldn’t do it at all.
I’m also in a different state of mind about being healthy. For a time it became so all encompasing for me that I could think of nothing else. At some point it became too much for me mentally that I had to figure this out again. And again and again as my life has changed over time. I have less time for the intensive six day a week work outs but I can still get in a good run or a short but intense workout.
Tomorrow morning I shall put on my running shoes and clothes, turn on my app, press play on Hamiliton and go!
For the past few weeks I have been getting back into my running routine. So far it is working out. This past Saturday after my run, I wanted to have donuts. And I did. I enjoyed eating them immensely too.
Sometimes, you just have to eat a donut. Or whatever it is you are craving. Enjoy it and then get back to your regular eating habits. Enjoying the odd donut now and again is important on your health journey.
I cut my hair after two years of growing it out. I loved aspects of having long hair. I enjoyed playing with hairstyles and most especially the excuse it gave me to not run.
Why? Because if I ran as often as I should then I would have to wash it. Honestly, I used this a reason to not run or even work out hard. Taking the time to wash it was just too much to deal with for me. I do not tend to use a blowdryer. It was just a convenient excuse.
My hair had become my hinderance. So it was time to cut it out. I chose to donate my hair to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths which provides for women going through cancer treatments. Cutting off the extra hair did not magically make go out and run. But it did give me one less excuse to not go.
Since cutting my hair, I have resumed my running ritual. [Tweet “The thing about excuses is that they can be so easy to believe. “]Just as getting into running is a habit, getting out of it is as well. It became easier to not go than to go. But I am changing that, I need to run. I have stated this in previous posts.
And so I begin again. That is what I am doing these days, running four days in a row, two days of static exercises and one day of rest. So far, so good I have to say.
I am enjoying my new short hairdo too!
Last week I hit by a terrible cold. It felt defeating as I had just gotten in three days of a new running routine. Just as I started to get into the groove of it, BOOM!
As I had to continue showing up for work I ended up with no energy left to run.
It wasn’t until yesterday that I was able to get in a good work out. I’ve learned to not get caught up in negative thoughts during these times. Sometimes its just fine to push through and run. Other times not as much. I needed the energy I had to get through each work day.
Honor what your body is telling you. This is just so important in overall health and fitness.
You see that person, jogging down the road and it strikes you how easy it comes to them. And perhaps why it does not for you. Why can’t you be like that jogger who looks so graceful?
While it can look like it is far easier for them, it may not be at all. Perhaps it was a battle just to get out there. Perhaps not.
It takes work to get to the point of looking effortless. What you don’t see is all the work and time that people have put in. Put in the time and effort. Get out there, push yourself to get to that point too. You are capable of becoming that effortless looking runner too.
Last week I went on a real vacation. As in leave not only town but state vacation. I was not sure how working out would pan out. But I packed my running shoes and clothes hoping to get to use them.
And was I ever glad I did! After eleven hours in the car, I needed a good run! Plus time alone. I do need my space. My plan was to see how each day would pan out. If I was able to get a workout in great! If not, great!
Thinking this way allowed me to be freed from stressing out about it. Travel plans can go awry. Unexpected delays or previously unplanned side trips can happen.
Enjoy your vacation, time with family and friends. Enjoy getting to work out or not. But do not stress out over it.
I have completed C25k ( Couch 25K)! This coaching app helped me to get back into running. It doesn’t matter if you have been running for a while and have gotten into a slump. Or if you haven’t run at all. It meets you right where you are at and trains you to complete a 5k.
I must admit the last few weeks were rather scattered with my efforts. Finding it too hot to run out side, I opted instead to complete the work outs at home. Keeping moving for the duration of the 30 minutes. Then there was the week I wasn’t feeling well. Then the week I lead at camp.
But I kept on doing it. I was determined to finish this time around. All that is left is to run a 5k. I think I will begin training for a 10k next.
Finish what you started. If you don’t finish well use that as way to take stock. Ask yourself the hard questions, why was it hard? What caused you to lose motivation? Were you stuck too much in your head?
The first time I used C25k all the above affected my ability to finish. This time around I reminded myself how I had done this before and will again. That it is alright to go at my own pace. To meet myself where I am. But not allowing myself to stay there.
The analogy has been made before, how running is like writing and vice versa. Here are three ways the two collide for myself. It’s been said often enough because it is true. A blank page is no different than a running trail in front of you. Each asks much of us, as we are unable to resist the pull of them.
I Don’t Want To Do It
Many a time I show up at the park and really don’t want to be there. I’ve tried to come up with every reason er excuse as to why I just can not do this today.
It is the same thing with writing. Whether it is a blog post or my current WIP (work in progress) , I do not want to write. But I do. Each step, as with each word I find my way.
But I Do It Anyhow
It doesn’t look pretty, but I arrive at the park or open the lap top and get to work. I know I will feel uncomfortable. Perhaps the run that day is asking more of me ( I am currently using the C25k running app and these later weeks are no joke!).
I may be stuck on a plot point and just don’t want to figure it out. It may mean going back to the beginning of the piece. After doing ALL the things but writing, I finally open my laptop and get to work.
However, once I get into a rhythm with both I keep going until I’m done.
There Is No Regret By Doing It
I have never walked away from a run or a writing time with regret. It may have not been the greatest run or even a spectacular writing time. But I tried, I showed up. Some days, that is more important than being a star or genius.
It’s those days when I didn’t show up that I regret the most. The ones where I beat myself up over the most.
Doing one pushes me to do the other. Getting through those tougher days come with their own rewards.
Some days I just do not want to work out. Truly, I drag myself to the park for a run. I was tired from work. It had been a long week. Saturday was usually my off day. I could go on here.
I Push on ward anyways. I go out there even when I don’t want to. When it seems to be the harder choice. Pushing on ward is the better choice. It is the worthier choice.
Because each time you push on ward, it becomes harder to give into excuses. That is what this is all about.