IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS
It's the little things...that make this whole running/lifting/fitness journey enjoyable, even during the toughest of times.
Take Sunday for example. My mom was baking treats to take to work (chocolate chip cookies, lemon bars, and brownies with frosting), and I was able to eat both a cookie and a brownie without feeling guilty. Or scared of gaining weight. Or like I had to do a whole bunch of extra exercise to burn it off. Just a few short years ago, not to mention back in high school immediately after losing weight, that would have never happened. I WOULD HAVE FREAKED THE FUCK OUT.
Oh, and don't even get me started on how fracking great it felt to run 8 miles yesterday. Even though it took me 80 minutes to do it and I was in pain for the last like 3ish miles...there were so many things that made that run not so bad/difficult. It was doing it in a sports bra and feeling like a bad ass because I was celebrating the fact that after so many years of hating my body and feeling insecure...I could finally handle running that far in a sports bra.
It was struggling super hard around the 4-5 mile mark and having this random guy wave at me that I didn't know and almost bursting into tears because at that point I really didn't feel like I could run another mile...let alone 3.5+ more miles to get to 8. That is the one thing about running outside that will forever make it superior to treadmill running. The people. Smiling, waving, silently encouraging you to run with your heart...and not your head. To believe in yourself even when it feels impossible.
It's stopping at an intersection and having a car wave you ahead of them because they can tell you're struggling to make it through your run without giving up. Without bursting into tears because it's been one of "those" therapy runs today. It's knowing that if you lived in a bigger town, like Cedar Rapids or Iowa City, none of these things would happen. Heck, you wouldn't even feel safe running at 5:30 a.m. alone without a knife or can of mace or something to defend yourself with.
So, what exactly went down on today's 5.25 mile run?!
Well, for one I felt way better compared to how I felt following yesterday's epic 8 miler....that I ran WITHOUT MY GEL BECAUSE I WASN'T PLANNING ON GOING THAT FAR. I felt stronger. Faster. I also knew I would only be going 5 miles...so I wanted to make the most of those 5 miles. And boy did I do that and then some!
My favorite part of today's glorious run was when the song "Snapback" by Old Dominion came on and it took me back to this one specific run that I can still remember from 2 or 3 summers back. This was when I was going through that stage with running where I thought running without headphones was going to make me faster and who cares if the world doesn't like the tunes that I'm blaring. Also, I was scared out of my mind of making eye contact with anyone while I was running. ANYONE. IT WAS LIKE ILLEGAL OR SOMETHING IN MY MIND.
I don't know how far I was running or what day of the week it was. All I know is that song by Old Dominion was playing as I was running past Zipmart and it was definitely daylight out and I saw this guy that I knew filling up his truck with gas at Zipmart (I should probably have started out that I only knew who this guy was and he probs didn't know who I was and certainly doesn't remember this incident. And NO It's not like I liked him or anything at this moment in time.). And he looked over at me, because like who runs around small town Iowa blaring their music.
Oh yeah, me. Anyhow, I was so SCARED in that moment. I can still remember just how fast I sprinted away down the sidewalk. Wanting to disappear into thin air. And boy was I laughing on the inside mid run this morning when that memory came up. Why? Because now I would never dream of running without head phones and there is also a strong chance that if I saw that guy again in the same scenario...I would still freak the freak out because some people are just scary/intimidating/etc.
The ending was so much sweeter, that the beginning.
It all started when I made the conscious decision to sprint up the mini hill. I had just gotten passed by this truck that I "thought" I maybe knew who was driving but who knows. Anyway, that really grinded my gear that I got passed by that truck. It made me feel like I was slow and half assing my run. So, I made sure to bust my butt up the mini hill...even thought I was dragging at that point (probs 4.5ish miles in).
Then, of course I see the super cool guy that I didn't know yesterday who waved at me but then I (aka Larry) figured out who it was when I was running past the gas station to head towards the finish line and I just got this sudden surge of energy. Like, I NEEDED TO RUN FAST AS HELL. To the point of it being a little dangerous even because I was all over the sidewalk and I'm honestly surprised I didn't trip over my own two feet.
I didn't realize just how fast I ran that last .25 mile until I checked the data on Strava. I RAN IT AT 8:30 MILE PACE AND HOLY CRAP IT DIDN'T EVEN FEEL THAT HARD OR IMPOSSIBLE. WHO AM I EVEN?! Finally, week number 2 back to running full time and my body seems sorta kinda healed. And, no matter what tomorrow's run brings or even next week's, I will remember just how important it is to savor these little moments. These small victories and laughable memories.