Hello everyone! I can’t believe that it’s already the third week of having Miss Tae Lo up and functional; time is really flying by this winter.
I’ve been thinking over the last couple of weeks when I wanted to introduce one of my favorite topics to write about: running. But then I thought that if I could go on forever about one of my new favorite hobbies (bullet journaling, which I wrote about last week, you can find that post here), then I could definitely talk to you all about one of my all time favorite pass-times.
Which is, drum roll please…. running! I think at this point, I’ve been a runner for about 9 or 10 years. I could do the math but I think that the approximate amount is enough for you to understand that it’s been awhile. To me, the fact that I’ve been running for almost half of my life is a little crazy to think about.
I will say that I didn’t always love it; like most things that take dedication, running started out as a difficult and unexciting thing for me. I started in middle school and I hated it. I felt like I was wasting so much time when I could be doing literally anything else.
What you have to understand about me is that I don’t like to compete whatsoever; I think it’s pointless and all it does is stress me out. Growing up, I wasn’t that big of a sports person (or a game person either) and I’m still not, unless you count Monopoly, but I like that because it’s just fun to play with the fake money.
Anyway, I was the kind of kid who would rather sit at home and read a book (or ten) rather than compete in a sport. I didn’t really get why people were so excited to go play a sport for no reason other than say that they won something. Winning just has never been important to me, at least in that kind of way.
Another thing that you have to understand about me is that I have a horrible case of stage fright. I would classify it as a phobia, actually, its up there with my immense fear of needles. As soon as I get up in front of a crowd where I feel like all eyes are on me, I freak out. I start shaking uncontrollably and forget what I’m going to say if I don’t have it written down directly in front of my face. I’ve tried every trick in the book to get better about it, but alas nothing has worked.
I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. When I was a little girl taking ballet, I loved the class part where I was learning how to do everything, but every time I remembered that we would eventually have to perform the routine on stage, all I wanted to do was quit. I could go on about how my stage fright has prohibited me from doing things, but maybe I’ll include that in another post sometime.
So, yeah, I didn’t want to compete or play a sport if that meant that I had to get up in front of people in any shape or form because it caused me immense anxiety and stress. I don’t think that I will ever really want to compete for myself either if I don’t think that what I’m doing is important or worth the stress it causes me.
Me not wanting to participate in a sport drove my parents crazy though. I remember when I was in third grade, I was lazing around on the couch watching TV after school, when my step-dad came in and told me that I needed to choose a sport to play. I remember that I tried to explain to him that sports really weren’t my thing, but he was not going to have it. I still managed to get through that year without having to do anything, but once I got into the fourth grade my family moved to Texas and my dad put me into karate classes. My brother and him had been taking some while we had lived in Colorado, but I didn’t join them up until we moved.
Karate is also another story, but I will say I didn’t really like that either. Every time that you had to test to get to another belt you had to take the test in front of the whole class by yourself; this was basically a nightmare for me. I did karate for a few years, and then when I reached the seventh grade and moved to a different school, my parents decided it was time for me to participate in a school sport along with my weekly karate classes.
And this is where running finally enters the picture. My parents made my brother and I join the middle school track and cross country teams. I hated the competition and the energy I had to spend, plus a couple times a week until I was a freshman in high school, we would have to finish either track or cross country practice and then immediately go to karate class afterwards. To me, my days seemed as if I was going from school, which I didn’t like, to do two others activities that I didn’t like.
I can’t express to you how much I hated participating in these activities (even though they both ended up serving very well). But put it into a pre-teen perspective, and you can probably guess how much I complained about it. It wasn’t pretty, and I know that I drove my parents up the wall. When I was younger, I wasn’t one to do things that I didn’t like without complaining every two minutes about it. I’ve always been outspoken with my opinions and during these years I know they tended to be on the negative side.
Then my sophomore year of high school came and the family moved up to live in Idaho. (I don’t know if you can tell, but my family moved a lot when I was growing up, but no, we weren’t a military family, my mom is just very spontaneous.)
Within the first two days of moving up to Idaho, my parents took my brother and I to cross country practice at our new high school. Neither of us knew a single person, and I didn’t like to run, so this wasn’t the way that I had thought I would start up my time living in a new state and going to a new school.
It turned out to be one of the best decisions that my parents have ever made for me.
Within the first hour or so of being at practice, I had met two of the closest friends I’ve had so far in my life. And from then on, day by day as I got closer with my team, running began to be something that I looked forward to everyday. All of the friends that I had in high school were my teammates (except one or two here or there), and we grew a bond that still exists even now in our later years in college.
I think it’s because of my high school cross country and track team, and also the amazing coaches that I had, that running became something I loved. It didn’t happen all at once, like most love stories, but gradually and with a lot of patience. I started to work hard for my teammates because while winning wasn’t very important to me, it was important to them. I became a better runner because I wanted to help my teammates succeed in any way that I could. I think that they ended up helping me more than I ever could for them, but that was my motivation behind it.
I can’t say I ever really ran for myself during my high school years; I tried to beat my PR’s and join varsity because I wanted to compete for my team. And it worked for me. I got pretty decent when I was in high school, and our girl’s team won State Champion for two years in a row. I don’t think that I’ve ever been happier about winning something in my life. Winning those championships with my team was amazing and one of the only times in my life where I cried from happiness. (It’s surprising how much emotion you can experience when it comes to something that means the world to you.)
After that though my life went haywire and I went buck wild and bonkers for about three years. When this started, I stopped running. I lost myself in every single way, and I forgot about the things in my life that I really loved and that made me happy. I started to make choices that elevated pain in the moment, but only hurt me in the long run. This is when I got really unhealthy: mentally, physically, and spiritually, and I know not running was a part of that for me.
I didn’t come back to it fully until about 8 months ago. But as soon as I did, I was happier and I felt more like myself that I had in years. It was like I had forgotten what it felt like to be out there, just putting in the miles, how it felt to get faster, and how much it cleared my mind and brightened my spirit. Everyone has a different way that they relax and let go of the daily issues that we face, and for me that’s running.
Even though as I’ve gotten older I’ve started to branch out to other kinds of exercise like cycling and yoga, I still have this ingrained desire to go out and run. When I was younger I used to like to run on the treadmill because I could distract myself by watching TV; now all I want to do is get outside and just take the time to be by myself and be out in any sort of nature that I can. I wish that where I live at the moment had closer outdoor trails like the ones that I could go out on in high school, but I still think that there is something about being outside anywhere no matter what that means.
Running is something that allows me to be more at peace within myself. It calms the inner storms in my mind and my spirit, and although it can be grueling work, it somehow still gives me a chance to breath outside of the regular life that I live. I think if you ask anyone you know who runs they would describe a similar feeling. It’s hard, but there’s just something about it that we all can’t shake, and the difficulty always seems to be worth it in the end.
I plan to take my love for running to the next step in 2018 by running my first (legitimate) half-marathon. I’ve ran long distances like it before, but I’ve never committed myself to actually signing up for an official race. I’ve wanted to do one over the past year or so, and it’s always been in the back of my mind, but I haven’t been at a place where I thought I could do the training for it. But this year is my year to prove to myself that love for something is enough for me to push myself to my limits and do things that I never thought that I would be able to do.
If any of you who are reading this would also like to commit yourself to running your first half, or 10K, or even 5K, and start training with me I’d love if you joined! Even if you aren’t a runner and would like to commit to something else, I’d love to hear from you so that we can do this together. Whatever it is that makes you feel alive, take that next big step and go for it. If you love something, then there isn’t anything to be afraid of.
As Nike says “just do it”.
Over and Out,