There, I said it. I've been in denial for over a year. Every time I talk about it or post a photo of my running split times, I make sure to clarify that I'm NOT a runner: (#notarunner).
|My favorite shirt for running|
For me, running is like meditation. I run alone and listen to an audio book while I run. I rarely listen to music; it's not enough of a distraction and my mind gets caught up in desperate thoughts like: "OMG I can't feel my toe. Do I even have a toe? Why can't I feel it anymore? OMG my lungs are burning. I can't breathe. I can't breathe! I can't BREATHE! Hmm ... maybe if I slow down a bit. There, that's better. Wow, I totally thought I was gonna die and someone would have to use my RoadID to call my mom and then she'd freak out." Well, you get the picture. I'm a bookworm and love being read to, so the audio books serve a couple different purposes.
I don't like running with others. (That sounds funny: "does not play well with others.") I don't want to be pushed or feel like I have to keep up when my body physically can't. I know my body's capabilities and limitations, and I listen to it. On the days when I feel energized and my lungs are open, I run further and faster. On the days when my body is tired and I have difficulty breathing, I run a shorter distance at a slower pace. I don't put any pressure on myself for achieving a time or distance; I simply go with how I'm feeling that day. I do, however, keep track of total times, split time averages, and distances because it's fun to see progress over time.
|My 2nd fastest time EVER for this distance!|
Running makes me happy.
Earlier last year when I was going through a difficult breakup, I found myself feeling random sudden urges to get outside and just run. I would look out my window at work and wish I could be outside pounding the pavement. I would race home after work so I could get outside sooner to run.
When I took some time to think about it, I realized it was my body's instinctual fight or flight response mechanism. And my body definitely wanted to take flight! All those miles I clocked during that time actually helped me manage my stress levels.
It was during this time when I trained for my first (and only thus far) 10K race. I had enjoyed running, but when I begain following a regimented training plan to train for the race, it took some of the pure joy out of it for me. I felt like I HAD to run, and that somehow made it feel less enjoyable. I clocked a great time (for me) at the race and then settled back into running whenever I felt like it for random distances and times, and the joy returned.
|My brother flew out to DC to run the race with me! We had a ton of fun and we both ran PRs!|
But what made me come to the realization that I'm a runner?
I began training for a bodybuilding show to be held at the end of April. I started dieting and outlined a training and cardio program to rebuild some of the muscle I've lost over the past year. I joined a new gym and began weight training again. I enjoyed it, as I usually do, but I didn't look forward to it. It was just something that I had to do. I didn't have a negative attitude; I just wasn't enthusiastic about it. I did what I needed to do and then went back home. Like a job.
After a week or two of prep, I went out running and felt AWFUL. I clocked a really slow time and felt utterly lethargic and drained. I was disappointed and unhappy with how my body felt. Running had become so important to me, and when I couldn't perform at my optimal ability, I was frustrated. I pushed through another week of prep and then decided that due to a number of factors, I needed to stop and decide what was most important to me.
|I run outside as often as possible, even when it's freezing!|
I am a runner!