Running is glamorized in our culture. People think it’s pretty. “Oh my gosh you ran 15 miles? I could never run for more than 2 hours!” But you could. I didn’t think I could. Then I did.
I’ll be up front with you — running is hard. Really freakin’ hard. It’s messy. There are starts + stops + jogs + walks. If walking is a straight line, running is an EKG gone crazy. From the moment you start, it’s a battle. Every step you take + each mile you complete, your body becomes more + more uncomfortable. See, your body is your temple. It wants you to be comfortable + safe, so it starts to fight the running. Then you know you’re doing it right.
Running is different than a lot of other forms of exercise because it requires your entire body to be in sync + it’s awfully apparent if it’s not. It’s an all or nothing exercise — I think that’s why it scares some people. Often people get into a fitness routine + as they become better, it becomes easier. So then they stop pushing themselves because they’re satisfied.
The thing about running — it’s never satisfied. It will take every ounce of your being, if you let it. It demands your constant attention. It will ask you to get up day after day + go a little longer — a little harder. The real question — will you answer the calling?
To be honest — your mind will be the hardest thing to train. It will say no at first. It will hesitate. It will get tired long before your legs. Your mind will tell you you can’t possibly run for that long. You will actually feel pain in your legs because you think you *should* at this point. Your mind will think of all the reasons something could go wrong. You have to convince yourself otherwise.
People always talk about being uncomfortable + how being so pushes you to discover a new part of yourself + your capabilities. I’m sure you all know the quote: life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Although I’ve heard this saying for awhile, I never actually experienced it until I trained for my first marathon.
During training, I experienced all different types of complications — I was hot, cold, sore, tired, + distracted. These minor problems were tough but manageable. I like to call those moments the bumps on the road. But, there were also mountains — moments where running took everything I thought I had in me — but then surprisingly [amazingly!] I had more.
Each time I ran a longer distance, I got even more out of the run. I felt energized + accomplished + empowered. I felt limitless. There was more to me to be discovered. There still is. You will always get more than what you put in. ++ that, my friends, is the real beauty of running.
+Alyssa [@thebusybee_], Penn State CHAARG