I used to hate running. Maybe you have also tried it and decided it wasn’t for you. That was me ten years ago. I just got so bored – I couldn’t stick with it. I had no reason to do it. I was still in my twenties. I was pretty active in my job as a preschool teacher. I had local yoga classes I attended regularly.
There was just nothing to compel me to keep running.
Today I had to get a 5.5 mile run in. I absolutely had to. I signed up to run a 10k, which is about two weeks away and I was so traumatized by how hard the 10k I ran last year was that I am not willing to subject myself to that experience again. So I need to make sure I can run the distance without feeling like I need to call 911.
Who am I? I went from “I hate running” to ” I WILL run 6.2 miles without dying”? I must be super fit now, huh? A real health nut. Top shape of my life.
No. No. And no.
But you know what? It’s not easy. I have to totally psyche myself into running a lot of days. Most days, really. Part of the difference now is I really want to be a good example for my daughters so they grow up to be active and feel compelled to move their bodies and stay healthy.
Today I really didn’t want to run. Last week I ran 5 miles and it was OK, but I was with my husband which made it easier. Today I had to run even longer and by myself. And there was a good chance of rain. And it was windy. And my neck and shoulder were really hurting.
So I decided to make a new playlist to keep me running.
I made really good choices. Lots of Pearl Jam (obviously), some No Doubt (of course). That “Happy” song (I’m human. C’mon.) Michael Franti made an appearance, as did the Foo Fighters. You know I had some DMB on there. And lots of others. I mean, I was going to run for over an HOUR (I am not fast).
My plan worked. The playlist was set to shuffle. Not that I could remember exactly what I put on there anyway, but I like being surprised by the randomness of music when I shuffle a playlist. I was at 4.8 miles when a song came on that I like, but was really too slow for what I needed right then. And it was kind of a buzzkill, but I couldn’t remember how to fast forward to the next song on my headphone clicker and I didn’t want to get frustrated by it so I just let it play. I was so close to the end of my run – even with a slow song I could surely motivate myself to get through the next seven tenths of a mile.
But I could feel my feet getting tired. I think some blisters were starting to form. And my legs felt so heavy. But then the voice on my app said, “Distance: 5 point zero miles,” and I thought (or echoed my husband’s motivations from the previous week): “I can do anything for a half mile.”
As I was pushing through, I started listening to this “wrong tempo” song that had come up on my playlist:
You said, remember that life is
Not meant to wasted
We can always be chasing the sun
So fill up your lungs and just run
What the what? Are you talking to me, lady? And then she went on to sing:
All we can do is try
And live like we’re still alive.
And I was like, “Holy crap. It’s like she can read my thoughts. And throw them in my face! How dare she…”
Thanks to that “wrong” song in the “wrong” tempo that randomly came up on my playlist, I ran and reached my goal of 5.5 miles.
And then I kept running and didn’t stop until I reached to 6.3 miles. Which is the farthest distance I’ve ever run in my life. (And longer than a 10k, for the record.)
I’m too old to believe in coincidences. That song was on the playlist inadvertently, but I do have the Sara Bareilles album that contains that song. However there are 38 songs on that list. Only 19 of them played.
I am also too old for YOLO (Mom, that means “You Only Live Once”. It’s something the kids say these days). But you know what? It’s truth. I run because I am alive and I can. So what if some days it’s hard or my this hurts or my that hurts?
I AM ALIVE. And whether I love running or hate running has nothing to do with anything. I could be chasing 6.2 miles or chasing the sun. Either way, I’m doing what I can to make the most of a life that was never guaranteed and still is not.
I’m living like I’m alive. Are you?