If I've learned anything in the last several months, it's that life requires a great deal of determination and persistence. The interesting part of this equation is that the person I'm most trying to outdo is myself. If you've been reading my ramblings, running has become an important part of the weekly routine around here, and it's sometimes a struggle not to get bogged down with the same trails, twists and turns that are my regular routes. Yesterday, I decided to venture out and risk real people seeing me in all my huffing glory. I parked the car at a local library and set out on a journey where life and society, not the "end," was in sight. The conclusion: an audience makes all the difference.
Yesterday saw me running 4.19 miles more easily than before, and there was something about SC students waving me down to keep me moving. This tiny voice inside my head (between life conversations and situations I was working through) was actually saying, "don't stop. you can do it. keep moving. you've got this." Weird. Myself talks to myself, but that's the great part! I am in control of me. Hot. Tired. Sweating profusely. The run was successful and satisfying, and being among others of like mind was refreshing.
Today...well, today was a test of will and determination; today, I set out to prove something. This time, I parked the car at the outdoor mall -- back corner in a lonely space. After hopping around the sidewalk and getting the music all situated (I was super disappointed because the running playlist I created didn't sync to the phone), the sidewalk was my open road. From the mall to the bypass, a little over two miles. Back to the library, another mile. Onto the greenway with a loop around to the fancy entrance, another mile. Up to the car, a mile. Right when my feet were about to stop, the tiny voice took over, and I flew by the car and around the mall in full force. Mouthing the music and bopping my head around, I realized these feet weren't stopping, and when the voice on my app interrupted to say I'd gone 6 miles, the corners of my mouth almost made it to my ear lobes. I looped around the mall and thought, "I can do this...one more mile." CRAZY... 6-6.5 was a breeze; it was almost as though the running got easier the more distance was tacked on, and then it hit me...the tendons in the back of my right knee started to get sore, and my calves and left hip had had enough. My little brother once told me that half the battle is running through the pain, and I could sense that this wasn't injury pain, so I toughed it out. Seven miles later, and I was horse trotting around the parking lot to cool down after a 71 minute run...71 minutes without stopping! Yay me!!! Proud and a little sore, I wanted to shout at the tops of my lungs that I did it -- I made myself persevere despite the fact that things got tough and uncomfortable.
To many of you, this is nothing, but to me, it's everything. The last six months have been mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging, and running has become my escape. September saw me struggling to run for 90 seconds at a time, and now I can run for over an hour. Time really does tell. Life's too short not to celebrate the little victories!
What's your success story?