How to love running
I've hated it my entire life. It hurt. It was pointless. It was did nothing more but damage the body and create suffering.
Running was bad.
And then a year ago, I thought, "what if I'm wrong?"
So I started running.
At first, all of my previous opinions were confirmed true. It hurt like hell. Every cell of my body screamed to stop. No jog was slow enough to ease the suffering. I was terrified for the 20-minute trot I had planned the next day. I hated running more than ever. Hated it for making me feel so inadequate, so embarrassingly slow and frail.
But it wasn't dangerous...at least not that I could tell. The injuries I had feared hadn't crept up yet.
So I kept at it.
And then it didn't hurt quite so much, which caused me to fear it less. Now it was just irritating and uncomfortable. Not enjoyable, but less miserable than it had been.
So I did more.
I ran through the leaf covered trails in the fall, and through the still silence of winter. I ran in the cold and through the wind.
And then I had a good day.
A miraculous day where the running didn't hurt at all. In fact it felt good. I was re-energized, not drained--inspired, not deterred.
Now this I could get into, where did this suddenly come from? Have I finally arrived?
And then I had a bad day.
And then more bad days. It hurt. It was boring again.
Was the good day a fluke? Where did it go?
So I did more.
Finally I had another good day. Perfect weather and light legs. Effortless. Yes. I'm a fucking champion.
But then several more bad days. Shit.
But wait, did you notice that? The bad days aren't as bad as they used to be.
In fact, maybe I haven't been giving bad days the attention they deserve.
I'm managing them better, aren't I?
I'm getting more skilled at dealing with the suffering and contending with the voices in my head telling me to stop. I saw that it was the bad days that held the moments and opportunities to resist and fight back. I learned to settle in with the struggle. To make peace with the pain.
Maybe I've been looking at this backwards.
Maybe the bad days are actually good days.
So I went longer. Two hours, then three.
That hurt. I don't like this.
Ok, I'm better now.
Three hours again. Four hours.
Weeks and months. More mixtures of good and bad. Easy and hard. Pain and joy.
I've learned that good and bad will always exist. It's my relationship to them that evolves.
Now, a year has gone by. It's the middle of May again and here I sit with another planned run awaiting me.
I hope it's a good one. If so I'll enjoy it. I'll give thanks for that feeling of lightness and capability.
But if it's bad, I'll soak up the pain. I'll wrap my arms around the discomfort and embrace whatever lesson it brings.
It's all good.