From Hate to Love: A Running Journey in the Making

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?

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Comments

  1. says

    SQUEAL!

    I was in the home stretch of training for my 2nd half marathon when I got pregnant. That totally sidelined me.

    Now, in my area (Louisville) it’s prime training time for the spring half marathon. I’d love to be able to run right now. Maybe I’ll take it up again this week.

    So proud of you!
    I’m like Ann … and I’m a HECK of a lot nicer when I’m running.

  2. Beth says

    I want to start running so bad, but I am stuck in frozen Minnesota, on a treadmill. I’m scared to try running, because I have horrible balance, and I’m pretty sure I would pass out. I may try to run tonight if the kids go to bed.

    Keep it up!

    • melissa says

      Well I won’t tell you what the weather has been like in NC these last few days! :)

      When I first tried running years ago (and stopped after a while cause I hated it), I did 30 minutes and started 5 min walk/1 min run for 5 cycles. Then when I felt okay with that it was 4 min walk/2 min run and so on. It was a nice, steady way to ease into it!

    • melissa says

      Glad it was encouraging! I think the walking/running thing is perfect and what I did to start. You can do it, girl!

  3. Karen (Tricia's mom) says

    Mel,

    If you think you LOVE running now, get the book “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall and read it! Tricia bought it for me. I couldn’t put it down. I’d let you borrow my copy, but you’re kinda far away! Happy Trails! Karen

  4. says

    I have never EVER been a runner. In fact, I tell people that if they see me running, they better run too, because there’s probably a lion or bear chasing me. However, this post… has me a little intrigued to try to challenge myself. Hmmm…
    Kelli MW recently posted..Adventures in Reality

  5. says

    Oh girl you are speaking my language. I too, HATE running. After I had Oscar I did 2 different 5ks because I thought having something to rain for would help me. But I really hate it so very much. I finally re-joined the gym. Well, like you I had to cut back so my membership ends this month. Will I learn to love running too? Is it even possible? Thanks for the inspiration :-) I just may give it a shot.
    Andrea (Lil-Kid-Things) recently posted..Starting Preschool {Becoming Mom}

  6. Brian Dernbache says

    It’s so great that after all these years of softball, soccer and exercises, you finally found your love in running. How often do you participate in these cross country events?

    I loved your post.
    Thanks for sharing.

    -Brian
    Brian Dernbache recently posted..How To Attract Women

  7. Michèle says

    Let’s call it growth. Okay, maturity to be exact. The good thing is that what you thought as a senseless exercise (no pun intended) will be one of the best workout you have done for yourself.
    Michèle recently posted..learn and master ballroom dance

  8. says

    I bribed myself into exercising with audio books. I would pick books I knew I would really get into then banned myself from listening unless I was exercising. Pretty soon I was fine just exercising with the thoughts in my head. My body learned to LOVE it. Looking forward to starting up again after this blasted pain in the #$@@ pregnancy!

  9. says

    I loved reading this! I had a grin from ear-to-ear the entire time. My blog is all about running! Last year I started my bog to track my (1st ever) marathon training and then it has just evolved into so much more. I have since started a running group where we live and I have met so many women who struggle with the love/hate relationship running seems to whop on you. It does seem that (for most) running with a friend makes the time zoom by! and even downloading some great podcasts makes the time fly by too! I love to listen to the ladies over at Another Mother Runner chat it up on their podcast while I run. Keep running – it just gets better and better!