Today, I ran 5 miles. Why did I do this? Am I stupid or a criminal? Why would anyone run for pleasure? “I’m running for pleasure” sounds like something someone would say shortly before I punched them in the face* or gave them a wedgie.**
And yet today I finished work, feeling low, and laced up my running shoes even though it sounded like the crappiest thing in the world to do. Even worse than traffic and clogged sinks.
An ordinary crappy thing. But still crappy.
And yet I made a decision. I decided that going on my run wasn’t as bad as feeling lethargic and unaccomplished.
I’m convinced some of the long-lived sadness I carry around with me is a result of swinging from the branches of anxiety to the hammock of lethargy.
This is often how it goes for me: I’m anxious, rushing around getting everything done for a few months until I inevitably crash. Next, I curl up in bed, rest, and then – oops – I give in to that impulse for too long. I rest until I’ve seen everything (AHHH!) there is to see on the internet (can you imagine?) There’s no balance. Anxiety and lethargy.
I’m seeking balance. Let me just put that out there.
Does anyone have balance? Do you have balance? This is a real question. I’d like to talk to you if you do, mystical guru balanced person who likely runs for pleasure.
Today, 5 miles was a lot for me. I’m not fast. But I do it.
Last October, I ran 13.1 miles. It was my first half marathon. A distance I didn’t think I would ever finish until I did. For the last 3 miles I shuffled along like a pathetic penguin, but I made it. It felt so good and I felt so good about myself. In those moments you think that feeling will last forever.
Not long after, I was diagnosed with an ovarian cyst. My doctor said to stop running until I could have surgery. I stopped. I haven’t felt as good since then. In fact, I’ve felt pretty crappy.
But now I’m back at it. I started with 2 miles. Then 3 and now 5. Will I push myself too hard and quit? I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. What I do know is that I feel better than I felt before.
Why do I run?
Why did I start and why do I continue?
Some of this I’ll answer later. But for now I’ll say this. It’s the best answer I’ve come up with so far.
Running is one thing in my adult life that makes me feel proud of myself. When everything else is complicated and fuzzy, running is clear. I know what I need to do. I put one foot in front of the other. I breathe. I swing my arms.
I ran 5 miles today. Next week I’ll up my mileage. 6 miles. Then 7. By May, I’ll be running another half marathon.
That I even think I can do it gives me a feeling I’d like to run alongside forever.
* I’ve never actually punched anyone in the face. Will I? Stay tuned.
**Have definitely done this (to multiple people)