What I'm Loving on Tuesday - Running


There was a point in my life where I was a runaholic. I loved it. My schedule revolved around it. I felt guilty and mad with myself if a day went by where I didn’t run. I spent a summer in college working third-shift at a factory, would get about two to three hours of sleep a day, and would still push myself to get all my miles in, even though I felt like a zombie.

As time passed and as I got over an injury for pushing myself too hard, I found my passion for running waning, and it became more of a chore than a reward. I kept running, but the “runner’s highs” came less and less frequently. After quitting my gym last year, my running came to a screeching halt once the temperature dropped (I’m just not one of those people who can lace up and get out the door running in cold weather). And after an embarrassing 5K performance last Thanksgiving morning, I thought I’d never get the thrill back from running.

I spent this winter doing another round of P90X+. Once again, it’s been a great alternative to the gym. I mixed in a day or two a week of working out on the bike trainer, mixing in Spinervals and CTS Training DVDs. Every time I get on the bike, it gets a bit easier. My endurance has improved immensely, but I wasn’t sure how that would translate to running.

Last week, on the first gorgeous day of the year, I decided I’d break my near-six month running hiatus. I was nervous all day. How would I do? How mad at myself would I be after I failed? I told myself to ease in, plan on two miles and hope you get there. After all, it’d been half a year since I’d done any running that wasn’t running in place.

I surprised myself. From the first 10 meters in, I felt a bounce in my step I hadn’t felt in a while. After 100 meters, I couldn’t believe how much I’d missed running. I had a smile on my face the entire run. I was moving at a respectable pace for all that time off, and once I’d reached the two-mile marker, I enthusiastically opted to keep it going. My last mile or so, I ran up hills and stairs a few times, and at the end, I’d busted out a 5K easier than I had in a long, long time.

I thought it was a fluke. I was just running on adrenaline from getting back for the first time. But yesterday I did it again. But I ran it a bit faster. And I ran a bit longer. Then I went home and ran up nine floors of stairs three times, and did a high-resistance, 5-minute spin on the bike trainer. And then I did some pull ups.

Running invigorates me. Completing the miles I’d hoped just makes me want to do more. My first two runs back have gotten me back in the spirit of running. I’m so excited to put more and more miles in, working up to double digits by the summer, hopefully. I’m really proud of myself and hope this feeling lasts. It’s funny, I can do 50 push ups and have finally mastered doing five full-on, hanging pull ups in a row, but I feel none of the accomplishment, not the same excitement as I get after running a few miles. Running is the simplest form of exercise there is, but the payoff is multi-faceted.

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