Three months ago I didn’t think I could run 3 miles much less 1 mile without a huge stop-and-go, huffing-and-puffing type mess. Others would look at me with the keen, appraising eye of a car buyer, and tell me I had the right frame to be a runner. Maybe, I said, but I hadn’t the pep. Or maybe not the right engine. Something lacked. At best I could run a mile and a half or so at a time, but that would require sporadic, sometimes lengthy breaks for walking, and worry over every little discomfort.
Fast-forward, and now I’m running an average of 12 miles a week taking no walking breaks, feeling less aches and pains due to the training routine, and I’m looking to increase that average mileage this weekend. It’s a thrill to see what this mortal coil can really do.
But whence cometh this seemingly sudden transformation? First of all, remove the term “sudden” from the picture. Though it’s not much time in the grand scheme of life, three months is not a finger’s snap either. As with learning to play a musical instrument, speaking a foreign language, or even learning your multiplication tables it has been a gradual process. It started with a little inspiration (a race in which my company was participating), which caused an epiphany (why not?), which developed into a little planning (deciding on a simple training plan), which was encouraged by incremental progress (1 mile sans breaks, then, 2 and 3 miles), all of which has been sustained and carried along by good music, good footwear, a positive mindset, and focus. When one goal is reached, a new one is established.
Now I’m training for my first 10K in July, and, as visions of longer distance races beginning to dance in my head, I find a giddy sort of excitement at the prospect of these opportunities.
And I’m running for fun. Sure there are the health benefits of daily and weekly cardio exercise, not to mention the increased production of endorphins and other positive side and after effects, and those things are great and extremely beneficial, but if I’m to say I’m running for anything it’s for the fun of it and for the opportunity to challenge myself every time I go out.
Oh there have been obstacles and stumbling blocks along the way. Erratic weather, some aches and pains, a lot of pollen, physical roadblocks, and days when it just isn’t working– running has a way of reminding you that those stumbling blocks are as tangible and painful as they can be figurative and demonstrative.
All the same, you press on. You get up and you keep going, because the positives far outweigh the negatives. And because you love the song that’s just come on from your workout playlist.
In the three months since I’ve started running, I’ve discovered other benefits- personal discoveries and fresh perspective. Running begets challenges which begets excitement which at some point around the bend I reckon must beget these discoveries. So I look forward to that next turn in the road for what comes next.