Running and I have a love/hate relationship. I love it because it is a cheap and easy way to exercise. And I love getting out early in the morning and seeing the sun rise while I run. It makes me feel good emotionally the rest of the day. I hate running, though, because of what it does to my body. I just keep beating my body up from my knees to my back to my ankles. And I hate what it does to my mental strength when I’m struggling on a run. It’s a never-ending battle.
Every day the alarm goes off at 6am. About 3 days each week, I avoid the snooze button and get up. I rise easily, especially if I’ve gotten into a good routine. I get dressed, lace up my shoes and get my iPhone attached to my arm. Then out the door I go. I use the Nike+ app to track my runs. In the past I have always set up the app to run for a specific distance. I guess it was part of my training – knowing what distances I needed to keep running to stay on pace to be able to finish each race I was working towards. But the distance thing was getting old. It was dragging me down. I’m not sure why, but I wasn’t enjoying my runs, and felt it was just something I HAD to do, not something I WANTED to do.
So this past Saturday, I laced up my shoes and headed out the door as usual. But instead of setting the distance I wanted to run on my Nike+ app, I set it to “Basic Run.” I didn’t have any distance in mind – I was just going to run until I was done. I even set off on a new course. My usual few routes were getting too “routine” for me. I knew my mile markers on each, and my brain would struggle in the difficult parts each time. So I went a completely new way and actually even felt a little lost at times, which was exhilarating. I ran until I couldn’t run anymore. Then I walked a bit, then ran some more… When I finally made it home, I realized I had run 3 miles! My longest run in several weeks. And I felt good. I felt invigorated. It was everything I had enjoyed feeling before. I was in love with running again.
This Saturday, my mom and sister and I will be running in the Charlottesville Four Miler. It’s been a tradition for the past 4 years, and it’s for a cause that is very close to our hearts. Unfortunately it will most likely be the last time we participate in the race. With my sister and her family potentially leaving Charlottesville next summer, it won’t be as easy for us to make a weekend of it anymore. And as we’ve all gotten older, it has become harder to run it. This year we’ll be lucky if we can run the whole thing. We certainly won’t be breaking any personal records, but we’re ok with that. We’ve vowed to enjoy ourselves, to take in the wonderful feeling of the morning out among the horse farms of central Virginia and 3,500 other runners and walkers and just relish in it. It’s an amazing event for sure!
I honestly don’t know if I’ll keep running after this weekend. I’m sure I’ll get the itch and desire for an easy way to burn some extra calories. But I’m also looking for alternative ways to exercise and push myself that won’t beat my body up as much. This week, though, I’m ready to run!
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