I hadn’t been feeling like running since probably October, so I didn’t. I’d get on the treadmill and just decide I didn’t want to. I’ve found that once I tell myself I don’t want to do something, that’s it and I will not be doing it. Those who know me know just how true this is. You might think that means I’m stubborn. My Mother says I’m strong-willed.
Add out of shape to strong-willed, and you’ve got me as a child.
I hated having to run the mile in gym class. We had to do it every year. One mile may not seem like a lot, and for many people it’s not. But, for many people, it is. I remember one year (I think I was in fourth or fifth grade) my Mom came to school to run with me. She is not a runner. Somehow it turned into her leading a group of misfits around the track, running and walking just fast enough so we could pass gym. We needed to finish in under 12 minutes and 30 seconds. We finished with two seconds to spare.
Running is hard.
I am not a runner. Before last year, I couldn’t run a mile without stopping. Anytime I had to run – for the bus, or because I was late, or whatever – I’d get out of breath almost immediately and walk. Once I started losing weight I thought that running would be a good thing to do and help me reach my goals. I’d heard about Couch to 5K in the summer of 2015. I downloaded the C25K app by Zen Labs Fitness and I gave it a try.
I couldn’t run for 60 seconds when I started. It sucked. And then it didn’t. 90 seconds was hell. And then it wasn’t. Running for 3 minutes was the worst. And then it was okay. It took me 2 years and 4 attempts, but eventually I was able to run not just one mile, but three miles without stopping (I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn how to run). I haven’t run three miles since I finished the program last year.
But on Monday, I ran a mile.
I wanted to stop half way through. I was sweaty and slightly uncomfortable. I had a hard time finding my stride and my breathing didn’t feel quite right. My pants were falling down a little and the songs on my playlist were too slow. I could have used any of those things as an excuse to stop, but I didn’t. I told myself that I was halfway there. I’d just done half a mile. I could do it again.
I even considered stopping at .75 miles. Why not? I’d run more than I’d expected to already. But then I realized how close I was. Why stop?! Honestly, I think I could have kept running. Once I hit a mile, why not go for two? But I had to be realistic. I also had to shower and get back to work.
When I finished running, I was proud of myself for not giving up. I was proud of the fact that I could run a mile. I was proud of the work that I’d put in to get to this point. And I felt motivated to keep working, to set a new goal, to reach a new milestone (pun intended). On my walk back to work, I realized that that mile was only the beginning.
Ps. I hope y’all enjoy this awkward post-run, cross-eyed mirror selfie.