Running // Punishment to Pleasure

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finishing my first 10k two years ago

This was originally written on June 8, 2013 for a past blog.
Although I currently have more running experience and could add/change info, the story remains.

My first encounter with running was punishment. I was on the drill team in High School and if we were late to practice we had to run one lap around the gym for every minute we were late. (And if you hit a deer on your way to practice it wasn’t an exception.) Those laps were torture and, therefore, I tried my hardest to never ever be late. When I finished drill team my senior year, track season was just starting. Somehow I was talked into signing up and instead of dancing, I was now running and jumping over hurdles.

I remember that I had taken one week off of track to help with drill team tryouts for the upcoming year. When I went back to track after that week and tried to run my warm up, I ended up in the bathroom… on the floor… next to the toilet… fetal position. My coach told me I was out of shape. I thought he was crazy. I’d never felt my body, lungs, and stomach hurt SO badly. I did one track meet, made a fool of myself, and quit. The end.

Honestly, after that, I’m not sure what even gave me the idea to run again. Probably the “freshmen fifteen”. I was lucky enough to get bunions at the ripe ol’ age of 18. My doctor told me that if I got surgery while I still hadn’t damaged the cartilage, then everything would be okay. But months later after lying in bed and barely being able to walk, everything was not okay. I had eventually gained enough weight to give myself stretch marks that not even pregnancy gave me. True story.

Fast forward a year and half later, I was still not happy with my body and I found myself worrying a lot about things in my life. I was anxious and unhappy. So I started to walk. and walk. and walk. I walked until I felt like running. Then I ran until I felt like walking. Running started to become fun and that’s when I started to think seriously about running. I signed up for my first 5k with my brothers and even though I hadn’t ran that well, I felt SO awesome that I had just finished a race! Running became a thing for me. I continued to run on my mission, although it wasn’t always fun, and got back into it when I got home. It was something I did for fun when I wanted to.

The next part of my story is after I had Sasha. Lets just be honest here… I worked out maybe 5 days total during my pregnancy. As a student and a mom I hardly found anytime or energy for running. Most days I had only 4 hours of sleep in me. So one day, I felt the urge to run and did one lap around our apartment complex parking lot. When I went inside I couldn’t breathe, felt ill, and thought I might die. There I was again on the floor… fetal position… flashback to High School. Only this time I knew I wasn’t only out of shape, but that I was experiencing exercise induced asthma.

After my mission I had seen several doctors and one of them had given me an inhaler, but because I didn’t think it was a big deal I hardly used it and eventually threw it away. Oops. Asthma didn’t stop me from running, I just took it easy, but like I said, as a student and mom I didn’t really have a lot of time to run.

Right now, running is pleasure for me.  Almost immediately after graduation I started to run again. I didn’t push myself too hard at first because I didn’t want another asthma attack like before. Its been amazing to me to see how quickly our bodies can improve and I’m starting to realize that anything is possible. Only a month ago I couldn’t run a mile. Now I can run three. Maybe even more if I really wanted to right now. The more active I am, the stronger my lungs are and my asthma doesn’t bug me as much. I’ve never cared much for my speed, but thanks to the app I’ve been using (Strava) I can keep track of my distance and speed and somedays its really rewarding to know that I ran faster than before. So many people wonder how running can be enjoyable and these are my reasons.

The story. I just got telling my ridiculous love hate relationship with running. Its fun to see how far you’ve come.

Self-worth. Nothing is more gratifying than accomplishing something that you felt like you couldn’t do. Seeing yourself improve and endure even when you feel like you can’t go on, gives you more confidence in yourself. The days that I run, I’m the happiest.

See. Sometimes on my runs I see the cutest elderly people RIDING bikes and RUNNING. I aspire to be old and fit. Once I saw a crippled man barely walking down the sidewalk. It made me grateful for health and strength God has given me in order to be active. Often I see beautiful sunsets or blue skies, neighbors out chatting, or kids playing. Tonight I saw a group of kids walking home from the gas station with a supply of chips, candy, and soda. They reminded me that I’m not young anymore and if I want to eat what’s in their arms then I better keep running. But mostly everything I see makes me happy and feel like I’m a part of this world.

Feel. Somedays the road feels like air and I’m just flying through it. Other days it feels like sand and I can barely move. I feel how my body reacts to what I had eaten that day, how I’m breathing, or when I’m running up a hill versus running down a hill. I become more in tune with my body and mind so overall I feel healthier.

The high. I felt my first runner’s high a couple weeks ago. I came inside raving to Denys about how incredible my run was and that I could have gone forever. Even thinking about it right now gives me the chills. I will continue to run just to feel those moments every once and awhile.

Motivate. This may seem weird, but one of the reasons I like to run is so that someone will see. Not to show off! No, people seem to motivate me because I’m hoping that I’m motivating them. Every time I run I think to myself, maybe somebody will see me being active and then they too will have a desire to be more active. The obesity in this world makes me sad and if I can just encourage one person to get out and do something active, then my run was worth every second. It doesn’t matter how fast you go, just GO.

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