First thing’s first:
My long run was 9 miles this week, making it another weekend with a personal distance record!! The first 6 miles actually flew by! It continues to surprise/amaze me that distances I once thought were impossible are now part of my daily routine. To me, running is like yoga or any other form of exercise really: the more you do it, the more you can do it. I’ve read stories of people who just started running one day and that was it. Never had to adjust, they were just runners. Not me. Not at all me. I actually really started trying to run in the late winter/early spring of 2010 in order to lose weight for my wedding. At first I couldn’t even run from my apartment to the corner (which was not far, not even 1/4 of a mile). It was rough. I went through a very, very long period of time just doing the run/walk method as best I could. I would run ’till I thought I might die and then I would stop and walk to catch my breath. I was just doing this out of necessity, little did I know interval cardio like that was actually helping rev my metabolism and aiding in weight loss!!
Last summer, I sprung for a personal trainer to help teach me the basics of getting my body in top shape. I didn’t want any excuses, I wanted to be fit for my wedding and honeymoon. The trainer’s gym was 1/2 mile from my apartment and I would wake up extra early to run up there. Again, it was more of a run/walk. The run/walk method continued on for a very long time. In fact, it wasn’t until I started training for my half-marathon this summer that I actually broke through and was able to run for extended periods of time. It wasn’t until I extended my running times that I actually began to really enjoy running. And then this weekend, I ran 6 miles straight without stopping once! And the only reason I did stop then was to throw my sweater in the car because I was sweating bullets! I won’t lie, the last 3 miles killed me. I picked a route that was all hills (not the smartest idea) and it was painful, but I did it. I don’t run fast by any means, but I finished this 9 miles at a 10:00 minute mile pace exactly.
Remember, unless you are an “elite” runner (which not many people are), then running is quite a solo sport. You aren’t competing against anybody out there on the trail. You run for you. You run to help get your body into shape, to help lose weight, or to help relieve stress. You run just to run. People who run races do so to beat their own personal times, not anyone else’s. Don’t worry if you aren’t the best, fastest, or most skilled runner. I know that when I’m running down a trail I am sweating, breathing all heavy, and making a strained face that would probably scare small children. Just because I can do it, doesn’t mean it’s easy for me. The point is, I still do it. And every time I make the decision to get up and go for a run – be it 2 miles or 9 miles – I am making small steps in improving my running abilities.
So, why not lace up your sneakers and go for a run today?? And if you hate it at first, don’t worry, running does grow on you. I am proof of that!