First off, I should tell you I’ve been running for a good 30 years, started when I was 14 and never really stopped. I never saw it coming…I began to run long distance to prepare myself for high school basketball tryouts. I was a basketball player, not a runner. My dad started riding his bike beside me on my long runs. I carry this memory around with me to this day, especially when I’m tired or having trouble clearing my mind, I think of my dad quietly riding next to me. My kids grew up in a baby jogger. I am a cross country coach and my son is a cross country runner and fast as hell.
I never believe when someone tells me, “I’m not a runner…I can’t do that.” Unless there is some medical reason why, yes you can. I have run enough races in my day to tell you, anyone can be a runner. We come in all sizes and shapes, ages, and fitness levels. You don’t need to wear a Garmin or know your pace or any of that. You just need a pair of shoes.
When I have been at my lowest moments, when I wanted to give up, feeling anxiety or worry….I put on my running shoes. Weather didn’t matter. Sometimes I wasn’t even sure if I was going to go. Sometimes it was “just put your shoes on.” Then, “well you got your shoes on, just do a mile.” Then, mile 4, 5, 6 or sometimes more I’m back home. With a smile, an idea, a solution or just feeling better. When my lawyer delivered some really shitty news I told her I would call her back. I sat there for a minute with tears in my eyes, put my shoes on…and ran. I called her back and she said…”if I were you right now I’d be under the table with a bag of cookies and a bottle of vodka!” I laughed and said…”Nah…that’s what he would want. I just ran 5 miles.”
I don’t listen to anyone except my body. I know now when I need to rest or just ride the bike. But I do something every day. Not just for the physical benefits anymore, but mostly for the mental. It works. Exercise releases endorphins that trigger a positive feeling in the body. It doesn’t just have to be running, any type of exercise will do, but getting outside is important. I ran in the “winter storm.” There is nothing like battling the elements to make you feel like a bad-ass. That and the snow plow truck not giving three shits that you needed to get your run in and taking pleasure in covering you with snow. Ass.