Kerrianne wrote a post on running and it got me thinking of all the different exercises and forms of ass-shrinking I've tried over the years and how running has easily been the most therapeutic, soul-healing, enjoyable one I've found.
Less than a year ago, I couldn't say anything about running because I never, ever did it. I mean, I think I could have managed to attempt it I needed to outrun zombies or wild animals but for kicks? For no other reason than TO RUN? Yeah, no, not while I owned a couch.
Now? I love running.
I love it, mainly, because it's alllllll mental. Well, mostly mental, I mean there is that pesky heart-rate-rising, sweaty element to it, too. But, you can't just call-in running or half-ass running (not for any considerable distance, anyway) and, from my personal (newish) experience, there are so many times when you have to become your own biggest cheerleader in order to keep going.
I ran 6.2 miles last month and I had to talk to myself -- positively, nicely, encouragingly -- the entire time. In fact, when my sister asked me specifically what I said to myself to push on when all I wanted to do was stop and collapse, it was this, "You're a runner and runners run." (Yes, that's a lot of word repetition but, damn, it helped.)
In short, running has made me nicer to myself in a way therapy, falling in love, good friends, or Oprah never could, and that is really something.
The other night I had a great run, one of my best, and I wish I could bottle how I felt during and after because it'd sure be marketable. But it's not always like that. Sometimes a run sucks because I can't get my head right, so it's all I can do to make it a mile or two before wanting to die (or punch something). Sometimes everything hurts and sometimes nothing does. Sometimes I don't like it and I hate that I'll have to do it forever in order to meet goals or keep goals and other times I think I want to run for a living.
Just like anything else in life, running is a process and for every step you take forward there will eventually be a step you take back. That's damn annoying but that's also just how it is with: life, parenthood, marriage, friendships, work, and on and on and on. You either find the grace or stop doing it.
During that great run the other night, Mumford & Son's "The Cave" came on and if there's a better song for pushing you across a metaphorical finish line, I haven't heard it. Damn, that song is motivating. Especially this part:
But I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck
And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
For me, that noose is a million things: carbs, fights with Mike, insecurity, my thighs, comfort eating, money woes, whatever. I could hang myself in a million different ways if I wanted because there will always be a million different ways to, and it's always going to be a fight to save myself, but running has whispered this tiny little secret to me, and now when I feel the noose tightening, I run.
(There are a lot of metaphors in that paragraph. I hope you got through it without rolling your eyes too badly.)
It's not that I'm fixed or that I always choose a run over a piece of cake or that it's a cure-all, it's just that I'm choosing it more than I ever did before. And if there's ever a way to change your life, if there's ever one thing I can say to someone who's feeling hopeless in order to encourage them to take that first step away from hopeless, it's this: just choose something good for you more than you ever did before.