A few weeks ago, I realized how easily winded I was getting doing the easiest things. The first frisbee toss of the year left me feeling exhausted and very worried that turning 30 meant my body instantly changed to a softer, weaker version of its 20-something self. A few days, and countless ibuprofren, later I admitted to myself that this change wasn’t instant – rather it was the effect of months of winter laziness. Sure, I’ve been in a Yoga phase, but that doesn’t make it any easier to catch my breath after climbing a few flights of stairs. The best way I know to get back into shape: running.
For my first run, I told myself I’d go out for 20 minutes. Easy enough, right? After only 8 minutes I had slowed to a pace that one can not even call running – I would’ve been passed by the early morning retirees walking at the mall. So I stopped, spent about 8 more minutes catching my breath, and then started again for a run that lasted about 6 more minutes. I kept doing this ridiculous starting and stopping thing until I had hit 20 minutes of running – it took me an embarassing long time. The whole time I kept wishing my playlist had more songs about pain and less of the optimistic “You Can Do It” garbage that was mocking me.
For the next two weeks, each of my runs was painful. Yes – I could finally run 20 minutes without stopping, but I swear that it hurt every single step, every single second. I only made myself finish becuase the alternative – getting tired out by my daily life – was even more painful of an idea.
But the amazing thing about running is that the effort doesn’t lie. Last weekend, I made it four miles. I ran with one of my favorite partners, Meisje, and there was one moment where I was running slow enough that she was walking (not even jogging) beside me. Still – I made it without stopping once. And then yesterday, on a 3.5 mile run, there was a moment in the second half of it where I consciously said to myself, “why not go a little faster?” Holy crap – the endorphines are making me crazy again!
I love running and I am so grateful to be doing it again on a somewhat regular basis. I am also grateful for the latest article I am writing on triathlons, which has me talking to other people who love running, too. And my knees, which are in remarkable shape considering how much stress I’ve put on them. And for this video – which is cheesy enough to make me smile.