Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Running? Me?

Never have I ever ever ever had the desire to take part in rigorous excercise of any sort. Never. Ever. I remember as a child my parents having to practically throw me outdoors to get my nose out of books, prying pens and markers out of my hands, just do something active. Then during my silly-girl teen years, I dreaded the idea of sweating. I wanted to *glisten* but not sweat...Gross. Marching band was about as far as I got in regard to any kind of real activity, and that unfortunately lasted just two short seasons. As we grew through high school and college, I admired my best friend in her efforts to run, and for her overall diligence in making time for exercise in her busy schedule. For me, though, my tagline has always been, "Yeah, I do better just walking, you know, the lighter aerobic kinds of activity." Don't get me wrong - I do love walking. I love walking outdoors with no time limit, taking in the sights around me, soaking up the sun, listening to the otherwise missed sounds of creation around me. But in all honesty, the easy fallback of claiming to do better with lighter activity has been a total excuse. I have rarely been inclined to push myself beyond my comfort level, and often give up before I really even get going. The lack of discipline has been an issue as well, thinking up reasons as to why I just don't have time and can't fit one more thing into my week.

So why now? Why did I decide just a couple of weeks ago that I would start running? Not purchase a new workout DVD, not go to the fitness center and hop on the elliptical - no, the decision was to run. (For a day or two there I thought I was having a brief mental break, but the feeling soon passed.) After days and weeks and months of feeling completely blah after long workdays, only to come home and sit my tail on the couch in my pj's as soon as humanly possible, I was done. I was tired of being tired, tired of feeling awful, and wanted to do something that made me feel better physically (and emotionally and mentally). My husband was also a significant encouragement; after watching me become increasingly more lethargic and generally feeling more down, he encouraged me to get out and start running with one of the dogs. He knew I would feel better, and knew I could do it as long as I applied myself. And was he ever right!

The first evening I went out to our neighborhood was merely a test. I wanted to get out and just see how my body would respond to higher impact, how long I could run before needing to walk again, and just learn how I responded to high activity level. I didn't get very far - at all - but I wasn't discouraged and had a good idea of how far I could push myself and then hopefully increase over time. My dad was in town last weekend and, being the avid runner he is, he went with me to a running store to buy the bee-a-utiful kicks pictured above. Those shoes have made such a difference in how my feet and legs feel when I run, and I'm all the more motivated to keep up this new challenge!

The commitment to running has helped me enjoy life more. As I noted above, I have a bad habit of coming straight home from work, complaining that I'm tired, and using that as my justification for doing absolutely nothing for the rest of the evening. Similar to walking, it gets me outdoors to enjoy the world around me. The neighborhood is often quiet when I go, but my best friend also suggested that I try listening to music. I never understood why some claim that running is like a spiritual discipline to them, but even in my brief introductory attempts I'm beginning to understand. There is something simultaneously freeing and challenging about getting out there, feeling my heart beat strong in my chest, feeling the wind against my face as I press on, feeling the very breath the Lord has given course through my system. It's an intriguing experience. I'm contemplating keeping a journal for this journey - nothing fancy, but at least a log of my progress, as well as notes on what setbacks I experience and personal growth along the way. I'm eager for this experience, and in no rush to run a 5k in three days~