Running Won’t Ever Suck Less, You Will

My running shoes.

My running shoes.

I was hyperventilating. My muscles were screaming. Sweat was dripping into my eyes.  Total miles: 0.25.

This was my first run. Unbeknownst to me, new running shoes and a cute outfit were not going to transform me into an athlete. From then on the very idea of running filled me with dread. I hated running.

I kept running because I had a vague idea in my head about getting in shape.  Somehow this hinged entirely on my ability to propel myself forward at faster-than-normal speeds.

For months, I was at war with my body and mind. My neighbors kept their distance after seeing my running down the road on numerous occasions muttering profanities. I hated running. 

Maybe I am a glutton for punishment or just plain stupid, but I didn’t stop running. The first time I ran two miles without stopping, I celebrated by vomiting in my neighbors yard.

I read endless articles on running technique, running jams, running progress. I wanted someone to tell me that running would stop sucking soon. All I knew was I hated running. 

As my running shoes started to lose their tread, an amazing thing happened. I found myself in those difficult, unbearable miles. For every second I kept running when I wanted to stop,  I felt stronger.

Suddenly, I wasn’t competing against the other people on the road, but against the person I was yesterday. Running became less about meeting a predetermined goal for physical activity, and about sticking to my guns.

I no longer glared at my running shoes and pictured them spontaneously catching fire. I saw them as therapy. I left my problems on the pavement, and  with each step I pictured a new self emerging.

One day, without meaning to, I ran a 5K. It was a new years resolution I made years ago that I finally fulfilled. I didn’t look back.

That same week, I joined a running club and started to shave time off my 5K. I met fellow runners who encouraged me to embrace the pain, who gave me tips, who kept me going. Running was officially my hobby.

It was then I realized that running isn’t about getting in shape, losing weight, or competing against your peers. The truth is, running is still hard, because I am always challenging myself to get better. Sometimes, my runs make me want to scream, but I finish them. Why? Because running is more than a sport.

It’s about finding strength in your weakness, it’s about lacing up even when it’s hard, it’s about constantly pushing yourself to be better than you were before.

I won’t say I “became a runner”, but rather, I became a person who was willing to go the distance. I am not the best, but I know for sure if I start a run, I will finish it. I know I’ll never give up on myself. I know I am strong.

Leave it all on the road. 

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7 thoughts on “Running Won’t Ever Suck Less, You Will

  1. I remember last summer, when I put on my old crappy Nike’s and decided I was going for a run. I couldn’t make it more than 100 feet at a time before having to walk, but I went every day, usually early evening when the sun wasn’t as cruel. I hated it. I loved it.

    Then I sprained my knee. While running, of course. I bought a nifty brace and tried running a few more days. No go. It hurt, and it wasn’t one of those hurts you should ignore. So I took a month off. Which turned into two months. Which turned into three. And it kept going until now. I really need to run again… Tomorrow I plan on spending some time on the treadmill since it’s too cold and icy to run outside.

    Ok, it’s really more the ice I’m worried about than the cold. I can barely walk on ice let alone run.

    • Awesome! I am so excited for you to get going.

      First tip: Make sure you have good shoes. My shoes are old as dirt, so my running and legs suffer for it.

      Second tip: Get out there! Whether you run fast or slow, make sure to run a few times a week. Don’t worry about speed, just worry about the finish line.

      Third tip: You might not be a group runner, but if you still live in Tampa, I’d suggest checking out Running for Brews. They are an awesome and encouraging group of runners. Joining a group really helped me. RFB meets at a local bar around 7 PM, run a 5K and hang out. I don’t personally drink after, but it’s fun to chat and get some running tips.

      I still haven’t run my first official 5K, so if I hear of a good one I’ll send the info your way! 🙂

      • Thanks for tips. I’m in Pittsburgh, now. So I’m looking around here. I love the idea of rewarding a good run with a cold brew! That’s an awesome incentive. I’m aiming for 5 days a week and so far that doable for me. Cheers!

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