In my absence, I became a runner. Yes, it is unexpected. Frankly, there are days when I am still surprised when I tie my laces and cue up MapMyRun.
I run without music, only the rhythm of my breath syncopating with the pounding of sneakers hitting pavement. Sometimes I listen to audiobooks or podcasts if I’m going far. A few weeks ago I ran eight miles while listening to a cool and polished British voice tell me the story of Northhanger Abbey. I refer to 3 miles as a “short run”. I have trained through the humid, sweltering summer running in full sun just to get it done, watching my mileage increase with a certainty that I can and will run my first half marathon in one month’s time.
However, just two years ago I couldn’t run for 3 minutes straight without feeling like walking home. I huffed and puffed and watched my stopwatch counting the seconds until a walking break. Those first weeks of doing Couch to 5K were a test of my will and commitment. I was sore, tired and sweaty.
I started and stopped several times always in the first two weeks of the plan. Then some friends of mine convinced me to sign up for a race.
I was overweight and I struggled with the public performance aspect to running outside. I was a body truly in motion. I could feel my stomach, thighs, arms and everything else bouncing in time with every footfall. It took a lot of self love to keep going.
Three times a week, I came home and laid on our hardwood floors dripping with perspiration, swearing I wouldn’t be able to complete the next step.
But I did.
Just a few months after I started, I ran my first 5K to benefit Autism research.
I remember being sure I wouldn’t be able to run for 8 minutes straight, but I now routinely run for over an hour. And I do so smiling.
That’s right, I smile. It is my therapy, time to be silent and unneeded by anyone. My brain floats away from problems, my focus is only on getting a step further on my path. The endorphins that come with accomplishing a goal commencing with each run.
I still lay on the floor afterwards, sweating. The only difference is the doubt.
I write this, not to inspire others to run, but rather as a reminder to self that even when something seems impossible you never know what you can accomplish until you try. Do not allow self-doubt, false starts or level of difficulty to keep you from working toward a worthy goal. The only sure way to failure is never trying at all.