I am not a natural runner by any means. If I don’t keep up with my practice, I have to start from scratch all over again and build up my miles. I run slow. Like, I’m always towards the back in terms of lining up for races by MPH, just ahead of the tortoise. You know those people that don’t exercise ever, drink like a fish, eat whatever they want and roll out of bed and run a half marathon like it’s no sweat? I am NOT one of those people!
I first started to get into running when I was 17. My parents gave me the gift of a gym membership and I ran with it (pun intended). There have been times in my life where I could easily run 7 miles. There have been times where I could barely do one. I have forced myself to run two half marathons (that’s 13.1 miles people and INSANE!) along with various 12K, 10K, and 5K races. I like to keep something on my calendar to focus on so that I don’t give up on running because I know if 2 weeks go by without a run, I go hulk mania and bolt out of whatever building I’m in to GO, Emily, GO. It sounds like I run crazy miles and I seriously don’t, but I would say that I run more than the average person and that’s because running is something that is pretty important to me, so I make time for it when I can.
I love the time to MYSELF that comes with running. I really, REALLY hate working out with people. I mean don’t get me wrong, if you want to go to a barre class together or whatever, let’s plié away! But I love the idea of running or doing intense workouts alone because I get to clear my head. It’s sort of meditating in that way. (Running to meditate, are you NUTS?!) But I also have anxiety. (WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT?! DID I SAY SOMETHING WRONG?! WHY DOES EVERYONE HATE ME?! and so on) And while sometimes people might think running is a horrible punishment, it actually works wonders for the mind, especially mine. I also have this condition that makes me want to eat everything in sight so basically running is the only option I have to control my #hungerpains. Food is delicious and I would have a much harder time sticking to a strict diet than maintaining a hardcore physical regimen. The very idea of giving up pasta is so upsetting to me #icanteven.
So, because of my love for running outside and because I haven’t run an event in a year, I figured I’d sign up for the Bridge to Bridge 12K. While I have run parts of the course in the past, I had never run this particular race and thought “let’s do this so that I can squeeze into an amazing halloween costume” and signed away. Not to mention, the course is gorgeous!
I had a lot of doubts about this race before I even got down there and psyched myself out about it more than usual. The thing is, I’m not super young anymore and I’m not a quick runner, and I haven’t even been running a distance longer than 4.5 miles over the last few months, so having to run 7.4 miles seemed daunting to me. But then I remembered how it’s ok if I’m not able to run the whole time. Sometimes I think I have to be the perfect best version of myself so much I don’t allow myself to just BE, even if I’m not as prepared as I’d like. The truth is, I don’t care about times – I just like to finish and continue to PUSH myself, which is really what running is all about in my mind. That and brunch. (In case you are wondering I ended up walking only one mile out of 7.4 which I was pretty proud about).
So for all of you out there that struggle with running or who want to get back into it – know that it’s perfectly ok to be slow and work your way up. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And for those of you that don’t get running at all and think I’m a glutton for punishment – I totally feel you. Sometimes I wonder if I’m a masochist myself. It ALWAYS feels worth it though in the end. And as long as there is something that gets you to move I’m ok with that!