So today I finally have some quiet time to sit and think before the hustle and bustle of the holidays start. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is in less than 5 days! That means it’s almost my birthday AND it’s less than one month til Christmas! This time of the year just flies for me. This is my favorite time of the year though. I love all the decorations and being with family. It is truly a blessing every year that we get to spend together.
So not too long ago I posted on my Facebook page a question, asking people what they would like to read about to get ideas for my blog. Everytime I get quiet time to sit down and write, it feels like I get “writer’s block” and my mind goes blank! Yet when it’s crazy and chaotic I have all these ramblings in my head. Go figure! So one of the things someone brought up was running. Not just the usual “how do I start running…,” “why do you like running…” and etc. They asked about specifically about my longs runs. How do I get through the monotony of it?
Well to answer this question for the most part, I honestly enjoy my long runs. Don’t get me wrong, I used to HATE them, dread them, and even resented them! However I found a cure to it earlier this year. For nearly 12 years I ran solely on a treadmill, or rather a “dreadmill” as I call it. The only time I ran off of it was when I ran races. Even the treadmills at the gym that have the fancy, smancy T.Vs on them I loathed! It wasn’t until earlier this year and the beginning of last year that I learned to actually love my long runs. For years, all I ever ran were 5ks, but this time last year my neighbor/friend talked me into training for a half marathon. I signed up with a training group with her to run the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon. It was truly a blessing in disguise. I had learned some tips on running through my years of it before that, but it wasn’t until I went through the training group that I actually learned a LOT of stuff about running. It was actually very informative even though it was mainly set up to give us a group to run with on the long run days. Yes in the beginning as I transitioned from treadmill running to outdoor running, it was nice to have a group to run with. I still enjoy having a running partner, that you run similar paces with and can chat with along the way. However I find running by myself enjoyable too. For the most part all my running is by myself. I have little kids (if you haven’t heard this yet), and they or someone else is always wanting my attention, so to have time for myself, alone time to think, is kind of rare! Running outdoors with just myself and my music is truly a joy. I don’t have to worry about anyone for that hour or more that I have to enjoy. I get to have complete thoughts without them getting interrupted. I get to complete a task without having to stop and do 10 other things in the process. It let’s me regain my sanity and clear my frustrations and energy levels. At the gym I didn’t get this, I stared at the timer on the treadmill constantly, wondering when my time or distance would be up. I would count down the seconds as they ticked by. I tried to cover up the timer so I wouldn’t look at it, but it would never help. Getting out and actually running outdoors was a blessing! To get to see outdoors and places that you drive by every day in a different light is amazing. Near my house we have paved trails and I always enjoy the people who I pass or encounter, no words are spoken or exchanged other than “Hi!” or a smile and a wave. It’s almost like it is my time to meditate and reflect. My husband has his storm chasing as an outlet, I have my running!
On the longer run days, meaning for me, 10+ miles, I have my moments when I have to turn my thoughts elsewhere when my body starts to tighten up and things start to ache. It is amazing at how much sooner your mind gives out before your body does! I look at things around me, the cows, the horses, just items around me. I think about my groups and things I want to accomplish, my goals, the people I help, my family and friends. I think about the people I help on a daily basis with work that aren’t physically able to do this, that experience far worse pain then I am at that moment that push through it. I keep running because there are so many people in this world that can’t. I keep running because there are people with far worse things going on that keep them from running. I run because it releases any stress I have and because I know at the end of it, I will feel like I can conquer the world. The act of running is very monotonous, however when you look at all the things it does for you and how it makes you feel, it is not. Yes there are days that it feels like a chore or like I am dying, but I look at aspects of it and the circumstances. Am I tired? Has it been awhile since I have ran? Did I start out too fast? Is it windy? What is the temperature out? Am I overdressed? There are so many different aspects to running that you have to take into consideration.
Anyone that isn’t used to exercising and starts running, yes you will feel like you are dying and thing that running is monotonous, however don’t give it up, give it some time. It never gets easier, BUT you WILL get better.