RUNNING TOWARDS SOMETHING VERSUS AWAY FROM SOMETHING
This idea for this post really hit me on Friday as I finished my third 5 mile run for the week. I actually managed to shave a good 51 seconds off of that 5 miler compared to the one I ran on Monday. And as I was looking back on how the week had went so far, this whole running toward something/away from something (aka everything) entered my mind. It made me think back to this time 2 years ago when I toyed with the idea of running a half-marathon. And why exactly I didn't believe in myself enough to take the leap. Why it didn't feel like it would every be something I was capable of. And what do you know this in turn really made me think back to why I started running in the first place!
In the beginning, I think I just wanted to not hate running so much. Or maybe to get better at it. In any case, over those first few runs/weeks/months/years running was always there when I needed it. When I was dealing with self-doubt, not feeling good enough/skinny enough/fit enough or any number of issues that one deals with post weight loss, while also trying to be a "normal" high schooler. I put normal in quotes because, let's be real, it isn't exactly something everyone goes through during there already stressful and overwhelming high school years. And I'm not saying that makes me special or unique or stronger than people who didn't have to go through that at that time in their lives. If anything, it made me more dependent on fitness/working out.
It was a crutch for me. An addiction. A way to avoid dealing with the body image issues, the anorexic comments, the fact that I would never fit the mold/ideal image of what fit/strong/healthy looks like. There's no other way to say it. Running, especially when I experienced that first outdoor run around the track during the summer after my sophomore year I believe, made me feel invincible. Like I was really going places. When, in all actuality, I was running away from everything. My past. The box people put you into when you become that girl who used to be really big but isn't anymore, but is still super shy and super into working out/eating healthy.
And for awhile, things worked out alright. I ran, and ran, and had some days where I actually felt like I was making progress. Becoming more confident in myself, both as an athlete and as a person. Days when it almost felt like I had finally done it. Finally outran my past and gotten to the point where people saw me, and I mean REALLY saw me as more than the girl who used to be fat. More than the quiet kid who sat in the corner spending all of her free time reading. But then, like a ton of bricks, it would hit me post run/workout that that simply wasn't the case. I still cared way too much about what I looked like on the outside, way too much about what other people thought of me and far too little about just being myself.
So, what's changed in the nearly six years that I've been running. Well, for the first time in my journey, I have something tangible to run towards. A legit goal that is outside my comfort zone and scares the hell out of me! I still have days where I feel like I'm not good enough/skinny enough/etc. That feeling will probably never go away completely. However, I also have days/moments when I feel like a badass. Like I finally really get what people mean when they say they legitimately love running. It doesn't feel like a chore for me anymore, like something I HAVE to do. Or like an escape plan either most days. Instead, it feels like an opportunity for me to show up, do my best, and get one step closer to the starting line.
And I am so grateful that I have finally gotten to that place with my running. That I'm finally doing it for me and me alone. Not because I want to look a certain way or run a certain pace. But, so I can really be my happiest. My strongest. And this week, week 3, my strongest was 25 miles with two super fast three milers thrown in. There were lot's of smiles, sweat, and a few tears along the way, but I was able to really push myself this week. And when things got tough. When I felt like I didn't want to run 5 miles for the third time this week or run for 3 at 9:08 pace...I just reminded myself that I don't HAVE TO RUN...I GET TO RUN.
And for someone who has dealt with injury before and taking time off for vacations...that really hit home. Really made me want to enjoy every minute, every gosh darn sweaty and swear word filled minute. Because, in the blink of an eye, it could all be gone. I could mess up my hips again or roll another ankle (which I've only done about a million times!) or the next fall I take might not be soo funny. And if any of those things happen and I do get sidelined....the last thing I want to do is look back on these times and think to myself, "I wish I just would have enjoyed it. Enjoyed running for what it is and found the joy in the pain that is pushing yourself outside of your predefined limits."
So, what are you running from...and why haven't you taken the step to consciously say F*ck this I am gonna run towards this goal instead and screw every single thing I have been running from up to this point?!