What also keeps me going with running is the changes I've seen in my body; changes that continue to surprise me, like when my boots zipped easily over my calves recently.
When I began running - when I started doing something that I never did even during the heyday of jogging in the 1970s (and I grew up in California, where jogging was as common as Boston ferns, hot tubs and macrame), I thought "this is IT - for sure, NOW my body will be different." There were times in the beginning that I envisioned myself having a runner's body - long, lean, flat-chested (only those who've endured big boobs their entire adulthood will understand this one)...oh, I was an amazing looking athlete - in my mind. I forgot a couple of things: I'm short. The descriptives "long and lean" will NEVER be applied to me. My thighs, while smaller, are still hefty - just a lesser amount of heft. I finally realized that running would not magically transform me into someone that I'll never be, and I'm OK with that.
Today, a year later, my body is different. It's healthy. My calf muscles are really pretty. My thighs are strong. But I discovered something more important than that...I found out that I can get out there and run for 5 or 10 or 13.1 miles. I can run when it's really cold and also when it's really hot. I can start a race and complete it. A year ago I could barely run more than a mile...and that was done very slowly. I have made huge improvements in my running, and I almost never improve in anything - usually if it "needs improving" I quit. So I'm especially proud of everything that running signifies to me. And the fact that I am proud of myself - well, that keeps me going.