Running is Terrible. Why do I do it?

I ran today! 5 sets of 200 meters which equates to less than a mile. Nothing to brag about by any means for the average person.For me oh hell yeah I can brag.

I had never been a runner until about 5 years ago. I never saw any joy in it and never understood why someone would torture themselves doing that. Then one night I was watching the Biggest Loser. The competitors were training to run a marathon. I realized if these people who had been morbidly obese maybe 6 months before could get themselves in shape to run 26.2 miles, I had no reason to not train for a 5k.

And so it began. I started by running on the path at the beach. I would go for short distances and was fairly disciplined to run a few times a week. I would even run in Denver during the week with my trainer at the time, Rick. Nice guy that he is, he didn’t even charge me for the sessions. He was so excited I started running that he would meet me after work and we would run a few miles together. I had to adjust to running in a new environment where the altitude was high plus it was the dead of winter which means temperatures in the 20’s and 30’s plus ice on the ground. Once I figured out how to dress warmly and regulate my breathing, I did ok with it. I found physically it was rewarding to get my legs pumping and doing something I never dreamed of. On top of that, running with Rick was a great chance to bond more and form a new friendship. I started focusing less on how much running sucked and more on the benefits, both physical and emotional.

When I would be back in LA and running more on my own, I found I was slipping back into the not-so-enjoying- it mode. I was still running at the beach and getting bored with it. I would constantly be looking for mile markers and the time that passed between each one felt like an eternity. Looking out at the sand and beach stretching on and on made running feel endless (I know I know high class problems).

A friend suggested I join running groups to help me train and meet new people too. I found the Culver City Running Group on meetup.com. They run every Tuesday and Thursday evenings 5 miles down Culver Blvd (and during daylight savings, they take a different route with a trail). I emailed the group before going as naturally I was apprehensive. Would there be anyone as slow as me? Would I be able to keep up? Would I be left behind? One of the organizers, Ed, emailed me back and said I should of course join them as they do a short run to San Diego. I actually thought he was serious and freaked. After my blonde moment passed, I did decide to have my first run with them and I am so grateful I did.

The group is a mix of people who have different levels of running experience. I was probably the most inexperienced runner there yet nobody ever made me feel like less of an athlete because of it. If anything, they were my biggest supporters helping me advance from running 3 miles with breaks to 4 miles and then 5 miles constantly increasing my pace and building my endurance. Running helped me get stronger and leaner. It helped me be better at kickboxing as I could pack more power into every kick and punch.

I started running 5k races and even a few 10k’s. I still can’t say I loved running while I was running but the sense of accomplishment after was really empowering.

As I have alluded to, running for me isn’t just about the physical sport itself. It’s about the people I have met along the way through running. Some of my closest friends I never would have met had I didn’t go out of my comfort zone and gasp, run!

When you spend an hour twice a week with people running and chatting, you truly get to know them. You get to hear about different life experiences, you listen to different perspectives, get relationship advice, restaurant recommendations, you name it. The thing about running (and CrossFit for that matter) and probably any physically demanding sport, is that people who participate in that sort of thing tend to be positive people. Generally speaking, I don’t think people who are negative and total defeatists would put themselves in those situations. It is inspiring to be around people who are so positive and optomistic. I know surrounding myself through running with like minded people continually helps me be the best me I can be.

I am sure you all know my foot history by now so I can spare you the recap. I hadn’t been able to run for almost 3 months and shockingly I miss it. I was excited to break a 10k in under an hour and was hoping to take it to the next level. I had to halt that due to my injuries.  I miss having a goal to work towards (although now I have a new goal: no foot pain ever). I miss getting up on Sunday mornings and running with some pretty awesome ladies through the beaches of the South Bay. It’s a bit heart breaking to have moments where I wonder if I will ever be able to run again.

So yes to run less than a mile today is something that makes me smile and proud.

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