You must do the things you think you cannot do.
I wasn’t going to post about this because 10:40 a mile isn’t all that impressive, and being proud of it seemed mildly embarrassing.
My son is going to run a 5:50 mile at school for the Presidential Fitness Award this week. I had a friend at college who regularly ran 4 minute miles. I read blog posts by people, normal people, not super athletes, who sustain an 8 minute mile pace for half and full marathons.
Eff all that, dude. I frickin’ ran 3.28 miles straight, stopping just once to drink some water and bitch to Jake about how much my ears hurt. Previous to 7 weeks, 2 days ago, the last time I ran anywhere, no joke at all, was probably in sophomore year gym class in 1992. I’m pretty damn proud of myself and I’m going to go ahead and say it.
This was my Monday run. I so didn’t want to do it. The temperature had dropped from the gorgeous unseasonably warm high 60s to mid 70s that we’ve been enjoying for a while now; plummeting to the low 50s and windy, rainy, yucky. I rotate which park I run at too, and this time was the hilly one. There was not one ounce of me that was looking forward to this.
But, I wanted to get another run in today (Wednesday), since the weather was supposed to be good. That would give me Thursday and Friday to rest up before I hit Atlanta for the Dirty Girl run Saturday. If I waited until Tuesday, I’d mess that schedule up plus I’d have to run on the treadmill while Jake was at soccer practice. (The idea of running for 25 minutes on the treadmill makes me want to stab myself in the eye. I hate the treadmill.)
So out I went, and it was wretchedly cold running into the wind, and I forgot my headband to keep my ears warm, and I kept my hat down low to keep the drizzle out of my eyes so I couldn’t see more than a few feet ahead of me, and bitch moan whine. I took it slow and steady, doggedly, just getting it over with.
And… then I was done. And walking it out before I got in the car, I realized: I felt pretty damn good.
My legs didn’t ache. I wasn’t exhausted. My lungs weren’t burning. To be honest, I felt like I could run some more. I could have run faster.
Not at all the runner’s high people talk about. Just a sense of, I got this. I can do this. Ain’t no thing.
Whereas before, I was saying “Today I ran 2 miles and I didn’t die.” That was pretty much an accurate description of how I felt during and after those runs.
Why am I telling you all this?
Because for forever I said I wasn’t a runner. I don’t run.
- I messed up my knees playing basketball and they ache when it’s cold or the weather changes as it is.
- I smoked for almost 25 years, with a few years off here and there, but still. Most of my life.
- I’ve never been a runner.
- Running is boring.
I still think all of those are valid complaints, to some degree. But my knees and lungs seem to be adjusting nicely. And the others… I’m working on adjusting my mindset.
Every week doing Couch to 5K, I’ve hated stepping up the time increments. Every Sunday I’ve wondered if I can really do this. It felt like it shouldn’t be so hard.
Every Thursday, I’ve been amazed at how my body has strengthened in such a short while. What was difficult on Sunday is quite doable by Thursday.
Week after week. Just ongoing amazement at what a glorious machine the human body is. How it works to step up, to perform what you ask of it.
The starting is the hardest part. If you’ve been saying you can’t do it… just do it. You can.
It sucks at first. It gets better.
..that something is difficult must be a reason the more for us to do it.
-Rainer Maria Rilke
I often say that we need to give our children more responsibility, more chances to fail, so that they can become more capable. So that they can surprise themselves, trust themselves, exceed their own expectations, experience pride that has been really and truly earned. That this is the greatest gift we can give them as parents— to stop doing everything for them.
The same is true of your body, your self.
But if you want your body to step up, to perform, to exceed expectation… first you have to make demands of it.
Weather is looking like a beaut for Saturday in Atlanta, 84 and partly cloudy. I’m still nervous, mostly about the travel part of it.
But I’m also excited.
Dude. I got this.