I started running 2 years ago.
Slowly. Very very slowly. With plenty of breaks.
I would wake up early, splash my face with cold water, give my teeth a brush, lace up my shoes and go.
I always preferred the mornings. There is something so serene about being alone in the mornings. Watching the sun rise, exercising before breakfast. Putting a strong and healthy foot forward on the day.
I ran as often as I could. Running was like a drug. I could not get enough of it. The thing is, I’m not particularly fast or agile. Running does not come naturally to me, though for some reason, it’s all I do. To be honest, the best stretch I had running was when I ran no more than 6 miles at a time. My weekday runs were always between 2-4 miles. I ran them because I wanted to, not because I had to. There was no speedwork, no fartleks, no pace. I entered races because I wanted to, not because I felt like I had to. Being a “real” runner, adding up my weekly mileage, spending money on fancy equipment–it wasn’t my thing.
Of course, as I entrenched myself more and more into running, I wanted to be better. And with that came more races, fancy gadgets and training plans.
Gone were the days of running for fun and for health. They were replaced with plans and my Garmin and not feeling like I measured up to every other runner I read about. If my long run on the weekend was 4 miles I didn’t feel proud, I felt like a failure. Here I was reading blogs about other runners weekend activities consisting of a 10 mile cooldown run. 22 miles training for a marathon. I felt defeated. I could not compete.
So I gave up.
I put my sneakers away and ignored something I had fallen in love with. I put all my worth and value into comparing myself to others and as always happens, I felt as though I fell short. I wasn’t good enough. (That’s the danger in comparisons.)
Now though, I realize, with a few months of reflection and even fewer runs, I can love something just for myself. I can love to run not because I’m the fastest, have the greatest mile splits or I’m training for a marathon. I can love to run for absolutely no reason other than myself.