Surprise: I like to run

by justine

The weekend flew by. We did a lot – went out to see Gustavo Galindo play, saw Super8, went to a wedding and a birthday party. Considering I’ll be traveling soon, it was sad that my days off went so quickly, but I’m hoping to find some quiet space this week.

Skipping Saturday’s prompt. Again, I understand Emerson focuses on trusting yourself and I love the quotes, but the prompts are getting a big redundant. Maybe I’m just not feeling creative with them…

June 12th’s prompt: Surprise 

When I think about being surprised, impressed and proud of myself, I think about the 10K I ran in 2007. At the time, I was working with an awesome woman who trains for half-marathons. She and her husband race 2-4x per year. This was crazy to me. I’d never been around someone who runs daily, especially someone who was specific and focused on her training schedule. I was inspired.

Being very much like her in personality, and needing something to fill my time after work, I began running. Never in a million years did I think of myself as a “runner”. In fact, it was only a few years prior that I even allowed myself to use the words “enjoy” and “working out” in the same sentence. Remember when we had to run 1 mile in gym class for the “physical fitness test”? I distinctly remember being told to run it again Junior year because I didn’t finish the first round in under 10 minutes. Pretty sure I’d rebelliously walked it, but still, it didn’t make me feel physically fit at all.

My co-worker helped me find a good schedule – this one worked for me – and another friend caught the bug with me. We started running together a few times a week and did our long runs Saturday mornings.

At first, I couldn’t trudge through 3 miles without stopping. My only rule was to “cover the mileage”. It didn’t matter if I walked, ran, sprinted, or crawled, each day I laced my sneakers and went for it. Cup of yogurt, slug of water, sneakers on, out the door.

I ran pretty much the same street, out and back, every day. I ran in Nike’s that someone had given me for free. No music. I ran to silence, the noise in my head, and the afternoon traffic.

I signed up for an easy 10K and gave myself 3 months to train for it. Pretty sure I didn’t miss a day. The routine became an anchor for me as I was in a new city, with a new job, and lived alone. I had something to fill my time, no thinking required.

The long run before the race went terribly. I was 3 miles from home when my whole abdomen cramped up. I limped back. Anticipation for race day grew. Total bundle of nerves. I made the mistake of eating way too much pasta the night before the run, and that glass of red wine was a poor choice too. Sleep was spotty and poor.

The morning of the race I felt dehydrated, heavy and way too nervous for what I was embarking on. My stomach was doing flips, my head pounding. It felt silly – All I’m doing is running a 3 mile loop 2x in Brentwood! – but it was real.

The race went fine. Thank goodness for my friend who lagged back to run with me. In an effort to take my mind off the anxiety, pain and competitiveness, I asked him to tell me about his home town, so a lot of the race is a blur of information about Rhode Island. It was a weird experience, but I’m so glad I did it.

I haven’t trained for a race since, but I do play with the idea. It’s so amazing to have a goal, a plan, and commit. It taught me a lot about practicing, giving yourself room to grown, and long-term commitment. And as someone who never thought they were a runner at all, it taught me that I can work to become more of who I want to be.

Running is now part of my workout culture – it’s something I do when I want and I really enjoy it. The next goal would be to run a half-marathon, and I’m seriously considering the one in Vegas in December, but we’ll see.

To respond to the prompt – this week I will surprise myself by taking time for me in the busyness leading up to my traveling.