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Let’s be clear right off the bat: I’ve never been a runner.
I played softball and soccer when I was a kid. I never understood how the cross country kids had the endurance. And when I finished college, I started teaching a few group exercise classes at various gyms. So, other than the time we spend hiking, that’s where the last 12 years of exercise has mainly been.
At the gym.
But when I decided to simplify my life this year, teaching group ex was one of those things that I needed to let go of. But letting go of that meant letting go of a free gym membership too.
And so I contemplated running.
I’ve always loathed the idea of running. When I ran before (sporadically), I hated nearly every second of it. In the past, I could do group exercise all day long but my lungs just couldn’t handle running, especially in the cold. I have mild exercise-induced asthma (like use-my-inhaler-once-a-year mild) and running just set it off. Plus…
IT. WAS. JUST. SO. BORING.
Group fitness always seemed so much more exciting. Time flew by. My mind constantly worked in class, calling out one move, then the next. If my mind wandered for a second, my students knew it because I wasn’t cueing what to do next. (Oopsie.)
But I always liked it that way. I’m one of those annoying go-go-go people. I’m always doing something. My mind is nearly always occupied. And teaching or going to a class at the gym passed the time and gave me a good sweat.
Yet times change and without a gym membership, I dared to head outside.
To RUN, by golly.
With nothing but a good iTunes playlist and the thoughts in my head.
And then something strange happened.
I loved it.
I couldn’t get enough.
My lungs? They’re actually holding up better than I thought they would. In less than two weeks, I was running for 30-minutes straight (I can’t say I’m fast… but whatever). I started off trying to alternate running and walking but I found that I just didn’t want to stop running. So I ran.
And that part about running being boring? Well, I changed my mind about that too.
I actually enjoy being inside my own head for half an hour.
Sometimes I think. Not about checking off my to-do list, but rather I think about life, my dad, the things I want to achieve and the things (and people) in my life that I love and am grateful for.
And sometimes I just zone out and think of nothing. I savor the music I listen to. I enjoy how the sole of my shoe pounds the pavement at the perfect beat in a song. Then the music picks up cadence and I dash a little faster. I inhale the rhythm and let it carry me on.
When I run, my mind sweeps out all the clutter of the daily grind. And I’m left with myself, my music and the view around me.
Who would have thought the girl who hated running would now love it so much?