Anyway, I was running today and started to realize that something was different. I wasn't dreading putting on my running shoes to go sweat. How did an activity that I have always despised become something that I looked forward to?
Let me paint you a picture of what running has always been for me. If I was forced to run or decided to not be a lazy jerk, you would find me running in the following locations:
- The dusty boring track at my high school during soccer practice trailing behind the dudes. We didn't have a girls soccer team and I didn't know how to play field hockey so I played with the boys. Naturally, I sucked.
- The finger print covered communal treadmill in a gym filled with the smell of rubber flooring, lighting that made you feel like you were in a mental ward, and a wall of tv's scrolling captions to either Fox News, Food Network, or TLC.
- The impossible hills of my rural hometown consisting of pavement, dirt curbs, and lots and lots trees.
I hated the feeling of it. The feeling of how dry and sticky my mouth would get while I gasped for air. The pinching in my achey knees and the burning in my lungs. The cramps. The way my cute pony tail that started high on my head would endlessly swish back and fourth until it loosened to a mush of barely contain hair. The whiplash of the harsh bouncing of my boobs. The way the elastic on my pants would roll down below my stomach or my shorts would get twisted between my rubbing thighs to inevitably get caught so far up between my legs that I'd have to pick my front wedgie to avoid looking like I was wearing and adult diaper, only to have to repeat this process every 5 to 8 strides.
I tried to run to music. "It makes me forget about all the shitty parts of running and just think about the tunes...man." Sure, sounds good-- this is what everyone does. But now I cant find the right
music-- This song's too slow, this one is over-played, this one has dumb lyrics, this one actually sounds like cats on nitrous being zapped by lasers.
So not only am I struggling to breathe and picking my pants out of my crack every 30 seconds, but now I'm getting angry at the music while I attempt to skip the track on the sun-reflecting phone screen attached to my bicep with the unsteady hand of a person who is running.
Okay, no music. And you know what, no shorts. This is what I wear now: Target leggings, a basic cotton t-shirt, two sports bras 😉 , a low pony and a baseball cap. Boom. No more wardrobe malfunctions--the honest to god biggest distraction for me.
Running without the distraction of music made me focus on the running. Yeah, "Duh", I know. And why would I want to focus on it? I just listed off several things that I physically didn't like about running. But here's the thing. Instead of trying to ignore those feelings, I listened to them. Not sound too "hippy crunchy granola" (as some people refer to me) but your body is speaking to you when you are feeling those things, you should listen. Knees hurt? Try to run a little softer. Lungs burn. Slow down, man! Mouths dry? Breathe through your nose ya dummy.
So I took music and clothing discomfort out of the equation and somehow I was left with a whole lot more. Each time I run I'm discovering something new. The smell of a hot lawn baking in the sun and then the contrast when you turn onto a cool, tree lined street. The crunch of acorns under your feet. The sound of late summer crickets and gossipy birds. The juicy smell of Concord grape vines (I found three in town do far!). A persons tastefully designed front porch. The neighbors overgrown lawn and plastic toys. The grave stone that reads the last name "Smart" and you think "Would it be so bad to take a photo of that and photoshop the word "wicked" above it?". All of these things take you somewhere. Down a road of interesting thought. And every time you visit the same places on your route they are different from the day before, even in just the slightest way.
Thats when I realized I didn't hate running, and I didn't just tolerate it for the exercise. I just might be starting to enjoy it.
I ran farther than I think I've ever run today. 3.25 miles. Not much, and I'm only a 12 min mile. But I got to enjoy all 41 minutes of it.