What Running Means to Me

I ran seven miles successfully this morning. So successfully that I honestly thought about doing another three mile loop but I ultimately decided not to over do it and wipe myself out for the next two days. And it’s also nice to end on a high note 🙂

I really never thought I would be able to run this far this easily. I have one too many memories of being the pudgy kid who couldn’t make it four laps around the track without walking. My gym teacher openly hated me because she thought I wasn’t trying. I thought that fat kids couldn’t run. The skinny girls would wiz by I was sure that if I didn’t have the extra weight, I could do that too.

Sadly, I’ve come to realize from personal experience, this is kind of true. Not all true but it is definitely much easier to run a mile when you’re not carrying extra poundage with you. But the other part of the equation is mindset. I had already psyched myself out that I couldn’t run that mile before my feet even hit the track. When I go into my runs now, not only am I sure that I can do it, but the possibility of doing something I’ve never done before is exhilarating.

I don’t remember when my mindset changed. I’ve talked about how my mom and I started running together and this is probably where I gained the ability to run. By having someone there to motivate me to run the new milage each week, I grew strong enough to run the distance (and lost some of those pesky extra pounds that were holding me back). While we tackled long runs with great consistency, we never pushed ourselves out of the run/walk phase. This was a great way to start but I didn’t have the confidence to run without the walking.

So how did that change? Well first I took four years off from running. I was burnt out and that needed the break. I didn’t know this at the time but I’m glad I stopped pushing myself nowhere with running. I stayed fit with other forms of exercise and, while my weight yo-yoed, over all I came out of those four years lighter and more dedicated to fitness having seen the positive results that consistent work produces.

When I went to run again, I started with the treadmill because there was no way to cut my milage short and not see the cold hard evidence staring me in the face. I tried to run for at least half an hour every day and when I was really feeling it, I would run my entire hour at the gym, usually hitting five miles. When I stepped back outside a year later, I realized that I’d become a stronger runner because of all of this. When I had run in high school, I would guesstimate how many miles I was running by saying I’ve been gone about 30 minutes and I run a 10 minute mile so I must have run three miles. Trust me, this does not work. Those 3 mile runs were actually closer to 2, maybe less.

Now when I run outside I map out what I intend to run on Map My Run and this holds me accountable. I’ve done enough routes to know what certain segments in my neighborhood are. Today, I knew I wanted to run 7 miles but I didn’t go out with a game plan. But I know that running to campus and back is three miles and if I run that once and then run out to my two mile marker and back, I’ve got seven miles. Maybe someday I’ll invest in some fancy equipment but the poor man’s method is doing me pretty well right now.

But what does running mean to me? I’ve been thinking about that a lot over the last year and I finally found the answer on Matt’s website, No Meat Athlete. He says that reason he runs is because he likes to do what other people think is impossible. I think we all like to prove others, and even ourselves, wrong. And that’s what I’m doing every time I hit the pavement. From the girl who could not run four laps around the track I’ve become the girl who can’t wait to run eight miles next weekend. I’ve worked very hard to be able to do what I do and every time I run, I feel that paying off in the best way. If you’re a runner, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

What does running mean to you?

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3 thoughts on “What Running Means to Me

  1. Pingback: The Mental Sport « Creature of Habit

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