06 August 2011

Running lessons

I hated, hated, running when I was younger. From elementary school through high school and beyond. I loved swimming (even though it was hard for me too sometimes) but running- it just wasn't going to happen! So it was strange, about a year and a half ago, when I happily agreed to train for a half-marathon with two of my friends.

It was stranger still that I actually ran the race, and liked it.

Now, I'm training for another half marathon. This time I will run with my aunt. And this time, I haven't been training as well I should have.

So today, when I should probably have been running 8-9 miles, it was a struggle to make myself complete the 5 1/2 or so miles that I ran. But, during that hour this morning, I remembered an important lesson that running has taught me:
You can do it!

Simple, right? But the funny thing about running is that I always think I can't make it. Yet I do. I always think I'm going to have to stop. But when I don't leave myself that option, I don't stop. I run all the way home, and I think, that wasn't so hard!

I've learned that, when running, the most important part is just to keep going. When you feel like you have to give up, don't, because, pretty soon, it doesn't seem so hard any more. It's like something in your brain just decides to let you go. You stop feeling, or thinking about, being in pain or being tired or hot or thirsty or anything else. It's amazing!

And, for me at least, the pain comes back. And on a long run I'll have to "just keep going" time and again before I reach the end. But every time there are hidden stores of energy that I somehow tap into when I just make myself go onward a little longer.

I've learned and relearned that lesson many times while running. And while it doesn't really get easier to keep going--I always get tired!--when you know that you can do it, because you've done it before, it does get easier to tell yourself to push on a little further. And it works. You keep going. You finish. And it's awesome!

What I haven't learned yet is to apply that lesson in other aspects of my life. I give up too fast. I don't push myself hard enough. As soon as I hit the first road block I just turn around and limp lamely home (metaphorically speaking, usually). But if running has taught me anything, I should know that as soon as I get over that bump in the road, I'll be thrilled to see how much easier things seem, if only just for a moment. And it's worth it! No matter how hard it feels, it's worth it in the end to know that you not only go where you wanted to go, but that you made it through every obstacle in your way, even when it seemed impossible. It's worth it to know that you are capable of "impossible!" It starts to feel like anything might be possible... I mean, if I can run a half marathon-- me, run a half marathon!-- what else can I do?

That's how I want to live. I don't want to give up when it's hard. I don't want to stop trying because I'm afraid I wont make it to the end. I want to do my best and work my hardest and tell myself every step of the way, you can do this! Because I can. We all can. We just have to believe it's possible when it is the hardest to believe.

It's a miracle... just like me running!

1 comment:

Erin said...

Kendal, this is amazing. My sister and I are also training for a half-marathon right now and sometimes it is so hard. Thanks for reminding me to look at the bigger picture, not only with running but with life.