After careful consideration, I’ve come to the conclusion that I hate running. When I first started this blog, I waxed poetic about how great it felt that I started running and could jump that particular hurdle. I bought fancy running shoes and read dozens of articles on proper running form, how to begin training for races, and advice for newbies. And then it stopped being fun. Between shin splints, side stitches, nausea, and sore hip flexors, I realized running is hard. I know, what an epiphany. Eventually, I turned my back on the exercise, and swore that I’d conquer it some other time in the distant future.
So this Wednesday, it came as a bit of a shock when after about an hour of weight-lifting and exercise, my trainer, Natalie, decided to blindside me with a running challenge after I got through our workout. I was struggling through a set of lunges when she dropped that bomb on me and it took several minutes to process what she said. I think I literally stopped myself mid-sentence when it clicked and asked, “Wait, did you just say I was going to run after this?” She chuckled, “Oh yes, you are and I’m going to run with you.” I was terrified. Dumbstruck. I thought about how I was going to get back on that dreadful machine and pull off a run when I wasn’t prepared for it. I had no choice. The gym is Natalie’s world, and her word is law…or something to that effect. I couldn’t give up and I had to get it over with.
I won’t bore you with the details of mileage, pace, or time of my run. Just note that the challenge was for both of us to do 1.5 miles at a moderate pace. And we did it. I, the person who’s procrastinated on getting back on the treadmill for nearly three months, did it. And I did it without the trimmings. No preparation. No iPod. No Nike Running apps. No thinking. And you know what? I didn’t hate what I was doing. I actually felt myself enjoying it after awhile. Even better, when I left the gym and made my way home I felt awesome, like I’d accomplished something huge. I always feel great after a good workout, but this was different.
I think there were a couple of factors here. I had the guidance and encouragement from Natalie who not only had faith that I could get it done, but also joined me. Having her running next to me gave me that extra push to keep moving even as it got harder to breathe and maintain my pace.
Then there was the element of surprise. I know myself. If given room to think, I’ll usually talk myself out of doing things. The thing is, the moments that stick out in my memory as gamechangers, big or small, usually got started by turning my mind off and taking action. Being thrown in the deep end to do something I really don’t want to do yielded some pretty excellent results and I think that was also because of the last factor.
I had faith. Sure, this was just a little run, I mean, how important is it really? It’s crucial. Why? Because I got to stop doubting myself and to just start moving. Because I knew I could do it no matter how terrible I thought it was going to be when Natalie initially challenged me. I knew I would come out of it on the other side feeling better that I put the effort in no matter what the results were. And I think that’s the hardest part for most people, especially when it comes to their health.
Staying healthy goes beyond what we achieve physically and what we choose to eat. A big piece of the puzzle here is learning how to get our minds right when it comes to our goals. Overcoming my impulse to immediately say no to new experiences or challenges that cross my path is extremely difficult. Like losing weight, I don’t expect to see results overnight. So I rely on the little silver linings along the way to track my progress. For this particular upside, it was an unexpected run. Next time it could be finally learning to ride a bike (uh huh, you read that correctly!) or getting through a day without focusing on the little things in favor or letting the big picture guide my choices. Luckily, I have a trainer and a friend to help keep me motivated to push as much as I can, and then some. 🙂
Bonnie from Recipes Happen has a great thing going with the Saturday Upsides series. Sometimes I come here brimming with thoughts I need to share and my fingers fly across the keyboard. Other times I’m so resistant to look at the bright side, that I literally push my computer away. I always find my way back here eventually though and I’m so much better for it. If you’re looking for inspiration, then head on over to Bonnie’s page at Recipes Happen and read other stories published each Saturday. If you’re looking to share your own stories, then leave the link with Bonnie’s post and make sure to add the button up top. I hope to hear more in 2013 and take part in your positive outlooks. For now, remember to keep paying it forward.