So, today I went on my first run in 6 months. It wasn’t necessarily my best, or fastest run, but it was a good run. Why has it been so long? Probably a combination of the weather (too hot here in the south) and a simple lack of motivation.
I have had a love/hate relationship with running over the years. When I was in high school, I didn’t like any of my other options for PE, so I took up running. I enjoyed the solitude, and enjoyed the way I felt after a good run. I never set any speed records, and really considered myself more of a long-distance runner than a speed runner.
I picked up running again at various points in my life. In my early 20’s after I moved from Northern California to Southern California, I began running again. In my late 20’s, I started running for my mental health. Then I took a long, long break. I participated in other forms of exercise… going to the gym, and some home workout videos, but didn’t really run again until 2012 in my 50’s. Why? I had recovered from surgery a year earlier after a cancer scare. I was basically told to get my affairs in order because I was going to die of ovarian cancer. Turned out not to be the case (obviously!), but after recovering from surgery, I signed up for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in 2012. Again, didn’t set any speed records, but completed the 5K in 39:04.
I ran a little bit after that, but again lost my interest. I started lifting weights and realized that I really, really like lifting weights! It has a dramatic effect on so many different areas of your life! Your metabolism soars, your body becomes sculpted with newly developed muscles, your energy and stamina are outrageous… can’t even begin to tell you how many people suddenly thought I was 10-15 years younger than I was.
In short, I felt as though I had discovered the fountain of youth.
After 3 years of faithfully working out with weights and completely changing my life, I swore I would never stop. I even entered a competition. I didn’t win, but it was great to see that I could hold my own with women half my age.
Then, I followed everyone’s advice — even the experts — and took some time off to allow my body to rest.
This is when I discovered a very important lesson. It’s simple physics, really. A body at motion tends to remain in motion. A body at rest, tends to remain at rest. AND, it takes far more energy to get that body moving again than it does to keep it moving!!!
A year later, I was struggling to get back into a routine. I thought, I just need something different. So, I signed up for the Little Rock Marathon. I only had 4 months to train, and hadn’t run in 3 years. But, I started training. I ran the marathon on March 6th, 3 days before my 57th birthday. It was my first marathon (I MIGHT run another one at some point, still undecided). Again, no speed record set. I completed the marathon in 6 hours and 45 minutes — even slower than I hoped, but I finished, and have a huge medal to prove it!
So, what was so special about today? When I started out, I thought “I don’t think I can do this!” I felt that familiar feeling that I always feel early in a run, the one that says I’m not a runner. I’m not even going to make it for one mile. Then I start playing games with myself. Just make it to the turn off for the Rabbit Trail. Then if you need to walk, you can walk for a while. When I reach that spot, I tell myself to just make it to the pumping station, then I can walk for a while. Then it’s just make it to Serenity Trail… then to the outhouse… then around the corner… then to the other entrance to the park… then to the first bridge. That’s about half way.
When I made it there, I broke into a big smile because I realized I could run the full distance. All I needed to do was to keep breaking it down into smaller goals… get to the 2nd bridge, the 3rd bridge, the pumping station, the 4th bridge, Serenity Trail, Rabbit Trail, when now it’s just around the corner and you’ve come full circle.
I realized, this is the way we can accomplish anything we want in life. Just break it down into smaller, easy to accomplish goals. Once you’ve reached a few of those, you’ll realize you have a big smile on your face because you realize you can reach that big goal, all you have to do is keep moving forward.
Look at that overwhelming “To Do List”, identify the most important task, and then one small step you can take toward it.
Don’t just sit there! Get moving!