showing up, doing the work: things I'm learning from running

Last week, I joined a training club through the university to prepare to run a 5K in April. I'm learning so many things about myself through this experience that I wanted to share.

1. It's important to do the work.

For my birthday, M and my mom joined forces to buy me the Nike + GPS Sportwatch. I completely love it and for some reason, am completely motivated by recording and tracking my runs. (Last night, I couldn't get it to sync and it was a terrible run. In some ways I am glad it didn't record.) I also enjoyed running with M this week; it was a good motivator and nice to have someone run at a similar pace. Everyone in my training club is much faster than me. 

I am trying to be okay with the fact that I am always the last to return from our routes. I really kind of hate it. I know it's important to do the work, to pace myself and try to improve where I can. Almost everyone has run before or is a runner and has done the 5K before. I cannot compare myself to them. But it is very hard to be the last one in every time.  

*I think I thought somehow that being in better physical shape would somehow mean that I could run. Ha. Ha!

Throughout the week, we're expected to get 2-3 runs in of similar distance and time as to what we run on Monday. I like thinking about and planning my routes. I enjoy getting geared up and prepared. And I enjoy starting and finishing the run. The work in between is the tough part. Isn't it always?

2. Sometimes I want to quit and cry. But I don't. 

Last night's route was incredibly difficult: uphill half of the way. I walked almost all of the uphill part and ran almost all of the way back. It's easier to run downhill, smoother, faster. 

Hello, metaphor. 

3. The challenge is mental as well as physical.

I was really de-motivated when I couldn't run up the hill. And working through that frustration was incredibly challenging for me. Though I'm not a "give up when things are hard" kind of person, I do have a tendency to let the frustration I feel overshadow any joy I might get out of the difficulty. My new challenge to myself is to embrace the frustration for a moment and then create a space for joy. Or try to. 

And even after last night's frustrations, I can't wait to get back out there and try and improve my time, maybe integrate a small hilly part as practice, so I'm not so annoyed by it later. (It's part of the race route, which is why we were running it). So today, even though it was cold and snow-y, I ran uphill at the beginning of my route. I was slow, but I ran uphill the whole way and then nearly passed out at the top. 

4. I run better when distracted.

Meaning I'm not focused on how slow I am or how much my quads and calves are burning. Or how damn cold it is.

I think I need a running playlist. Or maybe that Zombie, Run! app that M has. 

5. Each run is a new beginning. 

I captioned a photo of my running shoes with that sentiment and I completely believe it's true. I try to run different routes each time, and change up the scenery, sure. But each run is a new opportunity to improve, to challenge myself, to practice something I'm not very good at. To keep doing it, anyway; to keep showing up.

And for me, that is a lesson not only in humilty but in courage.  

Where do you need to show up in your own life?