October 29, 2012

Fighting My Hardest

Running is such a battle for me.

I remember the first time I went for a real "run" when I was a preteen. It was before my chubby years had hit me, and I still had running muscles because I played outside with my next door best friends everyday.

I couldn't figure out why I felt so good.

My mom explained to me that there are these things called "endorphins" that release little feel-good messages into your brain.

Well... I like to feel good.

When I got my membership to the Summit, I started running on the treadmills everytime I went. I loved having the high of running half a mile further than last week.

After a few times, though, I started noticing shooting pains in my legs once I stopped running. I couldn't do any of those "run-walk-run" programs (like the couch to 5K) because the second I stopped running, I was almost immobilized.

For awhile, I ignored it. I would just run as far as I could without stopping and suffer for an excruciating few moments when I decided to stop. I even made it inspirational, in a way. We're constantly being told "no pain no gain" and even Jillian Michaels drops a few "this is where the change happens, in the moments that hurt" lines.

Soon, I was not able to ignore it any longer. It would hurt for days after. It hurt to walk. It hurt to work.

So I did what probably most people would do: I quit.

Quitting is easy for me. I really like quitting.

But I HATE being a quitter.

There's this thing on my bucket list that says I want to run Bloomsday. That means I want to run the WHOLE thing. The entire 7.whatever miles. No stopping. Doomsday Hill and all. I want to freaking EARN that T-shirt.

So at the beginning of summer 2012, I knew I wanted to start doing something. So I committed to running. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday without fail. My first run was horrible. I only made it about half a mile and I wanted to die. My legs hurt. The next run was just as bad. I made myself go a little farther.

After a few weeks I could go a whole mile. Then came the dreadful hill. (Spoiler alert: I still can't make it all the way up the hill everytime.)

I fought everyday. I fought through pain and cold and bad weather and menstrual cramps and lack of sleep.
Every Friday I would reach the top of the hill and mentally celebrate because I didn't have to do it again until Monday.

Then one day my back felt weird. I kept running anyway. After all, it's the moments that hurt where change happens! That's what I kept on telling myself. About 2 miles in, it really started hurting. I kept going anyway. 3 miles. Then I stopped, expecting the pain to dissolve.

It didn't. It got worse.

I took a hot shower. Maybe it would help. It didn't. I went to work. I limped around like a three legged dog. I couldn't lift anything very heavy for weeks. I had to visit the chiropractor twice.

During those weeks I really missed running. I realized what a close friend it had become to me.

My back is better now. I still can't run 3 miles like I used to do, but I'm back to every other day. It hurts, and I hate it, and my lungs burn, and sometimes I can't tell if that's sweat dripping down my face or if it's tears. But that's what helps me remember I'm alive.

And I love fighting my hardest battle.

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