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What Keeps Me Going - Running

Posted Jan 03 2011 6:00am
This is the first in the occasional (read: not regular because who knows when I'll get the next one written) series of "What Keeps Me Going" posts...

What keeps me going with running is the pride I feel in completing a run. For this formerly 256 pound, decidedly non-athletic person to be able to say "I ran 5 (or 10 or 13.1) miles" is just astounding, still, to me. It hasn't gotten old, even after a year of running.

Wanting to make a statement to myself, I ran on January 1, 2010 with my son, Max. I asked him to go running with me because I was embarrassed to get out there all alone - I was sure that my neighbors would be watching me from behind their mini blinds, laughing at the slow woman attempting to run. I huffed and puffed for 20 minutes and at the end, I was quietly pleased and shocked that I actually did it.
January 1, 2010 - about to run with my crazy son Max.

I ran on December 31, 2010 - as regular readers of this blog know, I ran all year , and it was important for me to symbolically close out the year, where I actually followed through with something that was really challenging to me, by going for another run with Max.
December 31, 2010 - some people never change. ;)

Not going to mention that one of us had to quit after the first mile while the other chugged along for another mile...ooh, amazing what difference a year (and hundreds of miles of running) makes!

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.
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