Long post alert: 🙂
Every now and again I sit down and reflect on my why. Why did I start running and why do I have such a hard time with it now. Now something to understand is this. I did run as a kid. I started running in 5th grade and ran until after high school (2001). I wasn’t the fastest person out there but I could definitely hold my own.
In 2007, I tried to start running in the spring. I wanted to work out and be fit again. At the time I was a smoker, not a pack a day type of smoker but a survival smoker. I didn’t enjoy it at all. I just needed to have some way to reduce the stress my body felt day to day and I thought this helped. I was in an unhappy marriage trying to not lose my shit on a daily basis and shield my kids from all things miserable. So I got out the best pair of shoes I had to start running in. Which were NOT running shoes and was going to run to a bridge near my house and back, a mile in total. I took off and made it about .25 mile and had to walk. I kept going and knew the shoes were not going to work. I figured as long as I made it home, I could get a different pair of shoes. I made it home and immediately realized I wasn’t going to run again for awhile. My shoes had been rubbing on both of my big toes and the nails already looked a pale purple. I knew they would both be goners so I stopped running.
In 2011, yes 4 years later, I finally tried again. But this time I had a friend that was in it with me. We were both going to participate in a Warrior Dash, which was so exciting. We both wanted to get into good shape and enjoy it. We would meet up and go for a short run here and there, both bought some new ‘running’ shoes and clothes. We would also meet at the pool and swim to get in a good bit of cross training. Everything was going great but, I was still a smoker. I was faking it. I was doing just enough. It showed when we got to the race. I died. I walked most of it, if it hadn’t been for my sister being with me, I wouldn’t have made it. After this race, I quit running….again.
In 2014, I started again. I wanted to quit smoking once and for all so I had acupuncture on Friday, May 2, and again Saturday morning. At the time I didn’t want to smoke but I assumed that would temporary as I was still in a very unhappy situation. I figured the stress would eat me alive and I would start again. So I decided to start running. I gave my lungs a couple weeks before going to my first ‘run’. It was more a run walk again but it was a start. That was May 18th. On the 21st, I decided I was going to run a 5k…on the 24th! Yep! Nothing like going all in. The same day I signed up for the race I made Dare go with me to do a trial 5k. I wanted to know I could make the distance. I completed a 3 mile run/walk and knew I would be ok for the race.
Saturday morning rolled around and I went to my first adult 5k. I went completely alone, faked warming up and then just tried to hold on for dear life. I remember looking at the timer on my watch and being excited that I had run 14 minutes without stopping. When I finished the race (official time of 34:42) I literally had tears in my eyes. I had finally accomplished something. It was the one moment in my running career that still outshines everything else. I was on my way to becoming a runner. From, that point on I was all in. Running regularly, signed up for my first half marathon and ready to conquer the running world.
To this day, I have never felt that way after a race. Yes, I have been happy to finish and proud of my accomplishments but finishing my first marathon was just another run. No emotions that made me seriously happy. I can’t figure out why I can’t be happy like that again. I know that nothing will ever compare to the why when I ran that race. That first milestone. It is like no other.
Over the last year, I have really struggled with getting that sense of purpose and accomplishment out of running. I know I can get by on half ass training and can under perform without being too upset. So now I have to learn to reprogram myself into wanting more. At first I thought more needing to be more distance, move into the ultra territory. But I need to focus on discipline first. Get myself back into the groove of being excited to run. And I don’t know about you but when it gets dark at 5:30 pm it is a little hard to do! 🙂
Finding a purpose to run now is hard. Who do I have to be good for? Why do I need to keep at it? What do I gain? So I am hoping that focusing on the shorter distances as I used too when I first started might help. Being able to spend less time doing a lot of longer miles but still being able to race and maybe just maybe, learning to like the 5k. Notice I didn’t say love…because I really don’t like it so I know I won’t get that far! ha! I have two races coming up that are a little longer, both trail and after that I am all in for the 5k focus. I just have had a very hard time getting in a long run so far. Mentally I am just not in it.
What is your favorite mantra to keep you going?
How do you push yourself to do things you don’t want too?