Sunday, June 29, 2014

My First Run

I think one of the reasons that yesterday's race was so disappointing is because it felt as though I was running for the first time.

My first run was on April 15, 2013.

I know the exact date because it was such a monumental thing for me to do. I had never run before. I was not athletic. I was the kid who avoided all physical activity. I hated gym class, especially track days. But I had decided to run. I woke up that morning and said out loud, "I think I will run today."

I got home from work that evening and changed clothes. I had spent the entire day planning on going for a run. I was both excited and scared. I'm extremely self conscious, so I wasn't too sure about this whole running in public thing. I put on my two sports bras, my sweat pants, and my over sized t-shirt. I pulled on my gym socks and a pair of ill fitting gym shoes. It was kind of chilly that evening, so I also grabbed a sweat shirt. I grabbed my phone and my keys and I walked down the stairs of my building and out onto the side walk. Then, I started running.

It was amazing...for about 15 seconds.
Then the pain started. My legs were already hurting and my lungs burned.
Then I slowed down to a walk.
As soon as I had my breath back, I started running again. I could do this! I would do this!
Nope! Nope nope nope nope! I was wrong! Running was a terrible idea!

And so began a thirty minute cycle of running for 15 to 30 seconds and then walking for several minutes. I was convinced that everyone else out in the neighborhood was watching me and judging me.  I watched is exasperation as other runners, real runners, zipped past me. They made it look so easy!

My internal monologue went something like this: "Who am I kidding? I'm not a runner. I can't even run for a full minute! I'm a failure! Okay...I can do this. I'll run until I get to that mail box, then I can walk again. DAMN! THAT HURT! I just want to go back home and eat some ice cream. Mmm...ice cream. Okay. I can have ice cream if I finish this. If I finish this, then I can stop at Walgreens on the way home and buy a pint of ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream. Ice cream."

Yeah. It wasn't my proudest moment. By the time I made it home, about 35 minutes after starting, everything hurt. I hated the world. I hated myself. The next day, my legs felt like jelly and I swore that I would never run again.

But, for some unknown reason, I did run again. In fact, I ran again the very next day. And the next day. And the day after that. Slowly, very slowly, things began to be easier. I started running for longer periods of time and walking for shorter periods of time. I was still incredibly slow, but I knew I could run. I was incredibly proud the first time I got home from a run and realized that I had actually run the whole time with no walk breaks and didn't feel like I was dying.

I need to remember that everyone has to start somewhere. I'm still new to running, and I'm figuring out how to do things. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself when things don't go as planned, but it can be tricky. The important thing is to not give up. I'll continue lacing up my shoes and heading outside, even on days, like today, when I don't want to.

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