I love oatmeal. I seriously could eat it everyday for breakfast and never complain. And I don't like the high sugar 12+ grams of sugar per itty bitty packet either (I'd rather have candy for breakfast in that case). ;) Just plain ole' oatmeal. As I ate breakfast this morning, I realized how boring this is - to eat the same thing everyday. Especially something that is know as a 'blah' food, oatmeal. BLAH! But for me, oatmeal is LOVE! Which is good, because it goes hand-in-hand with another love, running. It is a great pre-run food for me. (Are you taking notes, I may quiz you on this stuff later?) ;)
I started running about two years ago. Before that, I had done a little here and there - nothing consistant. I ran track in High School (I graduated in '98 so it had been a long while) ;) but only did sprints, hurdles, high jump, a few relays - nothing that required endurance. (My relay team did break a record, I won't if my name is still up on that silly board in the gym?) Anyway, one day I literally woke up and told my husband I needed to run. He looked at me strangely. I had never mentioned this desire before or even the slightest interest. But that day, I woke up and felt this fire inside me needing out. I could feel my pulse and it felt like it was beating so hard "get out. run. do it." So I did.
It felt so good to release that energy and just run. At least for a moment, I made it about two blocks before the side cramps sunk in and by block four, I was walking. Someone remind me, why did I want to do this just moments ago? I'd walk some. Run some. Walk more. Run very little. It all took time. Every run I'd use light posts as my markers and tell myself, "Next time, I'll make it to that one." It hurt, especially in the beginning. I wasn't well equipped with the greatest shoes and I hadn't run in forever. I had horrible shin splints in the morning and I waddled around like a crippled duck. Everytime I thought about quitting that pulse would start instead me again, "go. go. go."
I never calculated my mileage the first year and some months I ran. Why should I? Who cared? Not very many people even knew I was running. I would ran as far and as long as I wanted to. If my body told me to push it, I pushed it. If my body told me to rest, I rested. Simple. There was no plan I downloaded off the Internet, it was just me, my shoes, and some light posts.
Last Spring, I began to take it a bit more seriously. Did a little reading and decided I'd really like to grow as a runner. I had no races in mind. I didn't want to signup for anything. This was solely for me. Running is therapy. Period. It is a way to balance myself. I had never felt so balanced in my whole life. So I picked things up and started running longer distances and figuring out things like my pace, which I had no idea what it was until I stepped on a treadmill for the first time last spring. I remember the first time I ran 10 miles. I remember the first time I ran 13.1 (half-marathon distance). Such an amazing feeling. No one was there at the finish line with signs cheering me on. But I was there, I knew what I just did and that was what mattered (and still does) to me as a runner.
People in the gym ask me all the time what I am training for... I always just smile and say "Myself." I've finally been talked into my first race, which will be this May. A 25K (15 miles) and I'm excited to have the experience. The biggest goal I've set for myself is the Chicago Marathon this year. I seriously can't wait.
Up in Michigan, if you want to run, you better get use to the cold (and dressing up like a ninja - also, let go of the whole spandex are uncool mindset, because for running, they are HOT!) and that I have. Actually, it is surprising that I am actually HOT while I run - even in 10 degree weather. ;) The other day I came back from a run and was grey. I hadn't even realized all the ice crystals that had formed on my hair. I knew my eyelashes had frosted over but how fun to arrive home to frosted hair.
I ran 13 today. Ran 10 outside yesterday. So I was inside today (with no MP3 player - dead batteries!). The odd thing, I actually enjoyed the 13 miles with clear ears... it was nice. I won't abandon my MP3 anytime soon, but today, it was a welcome break. :)
Listen to your body. If you ever wake up and want to run, just do it! It is something everyone can do. Today. Tomorrow. It doesn't matter. We're born to run. There doesn't have to be a 'program' or the newest 120.00 shoes. Listen to your body, take small steps, and enjoy the journey. You may find that you grow closer to someone you've been running away from... yourself.
(and I will not even proof this mess as I just spent way too much time typing this nonsense - get use to the typos people!) ;)
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