I hate to run.
Or, at least, that's what I always thought. Until a few years ago I would shake my head is disbelief when someone would express that not only did they run, but that they enjoyed it. I assumed, at worst, they were lying or, at best, they possessed some sort of running/exercise gene that I sorely lacked.
My first career as a runner was short and dismal and, really, more of a coerced occasional hobby than a career. It lasted from grade school through high school and it is this stage that I blame for the psychological issues I currently have with running. I can still vividly recall reaching the running unit every year in school and hating gym class during those times with a hatred I am unable to adequately articulate. I remember huffing and puffing and feeling somehow inadequate because not only could I not run a mile in the times the guidelines said I should be able to, but most years I couldn't even finish the mile without some degree of walking involved. This happened year after year and, after awhile, I felt like a total running loser, and assumed there must be some running/athletic gene that I lacked. After graduating high school, I didn't run on purpose again for twelve more years.
A few years ago, I realized I had to do something, exercise-wise. I felt out of shape and yucky. Somehow I read or heard about Cool Running's Couch to 5K program and I decided, grudgingly, it was time to give running another chance. I did my best to dismiss all my running prejudices and give it a fair chance. In this second running career of mine, I started out slow and on my own terms. It hit me about five weeks in: I loved to run! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) consistent running showcased some health issues I had not previously been aware of. I could barely muster up the energy to climb out of bed most days, let alone think about running. Sadly, I hung up my running shoes.
And now, here we are almost three years after my second phase of my running career. I have a new primary doctor who I love, I feel fantastic and I am running again, and running more than I ran during the second phase of my career. I am knocking out two miles (or longer) routinely now and, like before, I love to run. Not only that, but I am good at it. My endurance is growing. I am shaving time off my mile. Most importantly, I feel fantastic.
Still, though, there's that little voice from my childhood there, in the back of my head, at the start of every run. It always doubts whether I'll be able to finish my run without slowing to a walk, as if I am somehow incapable of running as far or as fast as other runners; my former insecurities of being a loser at the game of running are hard to shake.
But shake them I will. Those running insecurities took thirteen years to engrain themselves, and then twelve more to fester and compound; I figure I will have these running insecurities for a long time to come.
But, the real point of my post is this: if I can do it anyone can. Really. If you've ever felt you lack some sort of running gene or that you too are a running loser, I'm here to tell you that you're not. If I can do this, anyone can. I am still so thankful for the Cool Running Couch to 5K plan for making me believe that.