I don’t always like running, and by “don’t always like,” I mean I sometimes sort of hate running. It hurts, my lungs and my legs burn. I feel like I just can’t take one more step.
One of the good things about running, though, is that you have to make it back to your home/car/where ever you started. So. Instead of giving up, I keep on running because walking those two miles back would take too long.
As soon as I’m done running, I feel like a million bucks — no, I feel like fifty million bucks — and I’m happy that I actually did it when I spent hours before the run talking myself out of going. “It wasn’t really that bad,” I can say so easily as I’m unlacing my running shoes and coiling my earphones neatly for the next run.
I started running with the understanding that runners LOVE running. They talk about that endorphin high. They run and it looks nearly effortless. I think that maybe I’ve had a teeny, tiny taste of an endorphin high, but I know I won’t be the next poster child for how effortless running can look. It has occurred to me on, oh, just about every occasion I’ve run, that maybe I’m not really meant to be a runner. Maybe pilates or even bingo would be more my speed.
I keep on running, though.
I trained all summer to run a 10K, or 6.2 miles. It was so much fun and it was horrible and hot and I’ve never been as proud of myself as I was on the Saturday morning that I ran 6 miles and didn’t die. It was even kind of fun. Two weeks ago I was signed up to run the Butterfly 5K with my training team. “HA! A measly 3.1 miles! Smugness and chuckles abound! I could probably sprint the whole way!” I thought to myself.
One of these days I’ll learn that smugness and chuckling never suit me well. I felt awful during the race. My stride was all off, my side was cramping starting about about the half mile point. I had to walk about four different times. I was embarrassed when I finished to have all my training team cheering me on. I wanted to be the one cheering them on.
Running longer distances takes time and it’s time that is inconvenient for the rest of my family. I feel guilty when I leave to run in the evenings when it’s “cooled off” (yes, the quotes are necessary) and leave Tate to handle bedtime alone. I feel guilty when I wake up early on a Saturday morning to run and leave Tate to handle ravenous children demanding pancakes when I know he has a list a mile long of things to around the house.
There are parallel lessons between life and running, I just know there are. Some days are great while other days are nothing but crap of a cracker. Even though I sometimes sort of hate it while I’m doing it and I feel guilty for doing something for myself, I keep doing it. When I haven’t run in a few days, I find myself craving it, the feel of my feet against the pavement, my face red with effort, with beads of sweat dripping down my back. At the same time I’m craving it, the “you don’t really need to go today, do you?” talk starts in my head.
So I grab my running shoes and go before I can talk myself out of it.