“I run because long after my footprints fade away, maybe I will have inspired a few to reject the easy path, hit the trails, put one foot in front of the other, and come to the same conclusion I did: I run because it always takes me where I want to go.” – Dean Karnazes
Exercise and I? It wasn’t exactly love at first sight. Back in high school, I couldn’t care less about fitness. There are actually people out there who run for the fun of it? Gross.
Then along came university. And lots of time sitting down. And parties. And terrible food (ice cream and leftover Timbits should be banned in dorm cafeterias – just sayin’). Desperate times called for desperate measures. I decided to put my $40 gym membership to use, still a bit peeved that it was automatically included in my student fees.
One fine day I happened to be testing the treadmill waters. And by that I mean watching my friend on the treadmill beside me run twice my speed. Uphill. And barely break a sweat. Kinesiology majors. Sheesh. “I’ve never been able to run,” I told her after our workout. “I just don’t have it in me. I’m not built that way.”
My friend disagreed. “It’s all about training properly. I can teach you how if you want to learn.”
Though skeptical, I decided to give it a shot. Lo and behold, run-a-minute-walk-a-minute became run five, walk one, became run ten, walk one, became run thirty, became run 5k, became run 10k, became “Holy crap do I ever love running!” became run a half marathon. Now I’m hooked. I wish my old gym teacher could see me now.
“See, the doubt is all a mind game,” my friend told me.
Running sets me free. I run when I’m full of energy, when I need energy, when I’m excited, and (especially) when I’m angry. I never would have discovered this had I let the “silly me” keep talking.
But the doubt never really goes away, does it?
Just the other day I was out for a run in the mountains with this same friend who taught me how to run years ago. As I fought for dear life up the last hill, she casually floated ahead, then circled back to meet me (Kin majors. Sheesh), shouting encouragement the whole way. When the ground levelled off and I could finally breathe again, she said, “You know it’s all a mind game, right?”
Ah, that much-needed reminder. Despite how many challenges you meet, how many miles you cover, that silly little part of your brain will not shut up if you let it run free. The trick is one “run-a-minute-walk-a minute” at a time. Relentlessly push forward towards that dream.
My move abroad, a dream ten years in the making, is starting to feel pretty darn overwhelming. But I remind myself: “One day, one task, one emotion at a time.”
Walk a little, run a little, see what you can make happen.