I Hate Running

“I hate running.” I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this statement. My most common response, after wanting to hurt the person, is to ask why? I can’t imagine how anyone could not want to wake up at the crack of dawn, jump out of bed, grab a pair of running shoes and hit the pavement. Do they not like the early hours? Is it the pounding? Is it weather-related? Is it fear of losing weight? Maybe it is the fear of meeting new people or seeing new things? It could be feet, maybe they love the way their feet look and don’t want messed up blistered, callused feet or black toenails? That’s it, people prefer to look better from the ankles down. Maybe it’s fear of a challenge or fear of failure. I don’t know the reason but it seems crazy to me. I have never hated running. Nice try Maria, no lying in a blog. I used to hate it too. It has been so long since I felt that way I can’t quite remember. Nice try again I remember it clearly.

Back then, I was a fairly plump freshman at Gordon College. I spent more time singing then exercising; in fact, I was the girl that tried to get out of it at all costs. Yep, I was that girl, the crying, whiney one in gym class that couldn’t finish the presidential mile. I hated running. My best friend Alex had always been a runner. I envied her and all my friends that found enjoyment in something that seemed so painful to me. I wouldn’t even try because I was scared I would fail. I knew it wouldn’t ever feel good, and all those friends would laugh at me. What if I tried and couldn’t run 2 steps without absolute collapse….I was sure it was inevitable. I was always a good singer that was easy for me; I knew I should stay there. Stay in your comfort zone, Maria! Why would I ever leave such an easy place? Why would I try something I may not succeed at? I wish I had some big “AHA” moment that I could tell you changed my life. I didn’t. It was a choice.

So What Changed?

One day I decided to try, to take one step. I really have no idea why I started except I wanted to lose a little weight. I asked Alex to help me. She ran with me and talked to me so I was distracted. I could barely run a quarter of a mile. I wish I could say it was a magical moment and from then on I was hooked. I want to tell you I was such a natural it wasn’t painful. Nope, it sucked. I was an awful runner. I had zero clue as to what I was doing, but I had committed to daily runs for 6 weeks. It sucked every day. Until………….wait for it…….it started to suck less……and less……..and less……..then soon I began looking forward to my daily run. It was slow. The whole process was. Day by day, step by step. I ran slow enough so that it didn’t feel uncomfortable. I just wanted to move, to be a runner. I didn’t care about my pace or even how far at first; I just wanted to be a runner. Soon enough I was running a lot and it stopped hurting. It started feeling good. My body felt alive. I had more energy and I began to crave the daily fresh air. Alex and I got closer from running together, I was eventually able to talk to her and run at the same time! I never thought that would be possible. Almost 20 years later I’m still running and it’s now my life. What if I had never taken that first step? What if I had stayed that scared college girl too afraid to leave my comfort zone and too afraid to fail? Worst case scenario, I tried to run and six weeks later I hated it and I was right. Best case scenario, I find a new love of a sport, I make new friends, and I get turned in a direction that changed the path of my life completely. A journey that has led me to some of the greatest places, experiences, and people I could have ever met. Reminds me of a quote from a friend I lost last year to adrenal carcinoma.

“ACT: Never sit on the sidelines. Remember that 0.000001 is infinitely greater than 0, but 100 is only 100 greater than 1. The first, the initiative, the creation, going from 0 to anything, is the hardest and most important step. Dare to act; dare to create from nothing”

– John Donovan

On Track

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