Learning How to Run

As I sit down to write about how I’m going to get back into running, I find myself asking a very important question, “how do I begin?”

Ironically, I used what I have learned this past week about running to get moving here as well… just do it. Start. Go. Move.

It’s amazing how simple those words are, yet when it comes to taking action, it’s not so easy. I love running. I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again, it’s a part of me. I love the way my body feels when my legs enter auto-pilot, I love the way my brain finds a place of pure bliss regardless of the day I’m having, and quite honestly, I love the bad-assery of being able to say, “I ran 10 miles this morning.”

So you can imagine my disappointment when I looked back and realized I hadn’t gone for a run in 7 months! Why would I deny myself the joys of doing something I love?

Ready for a whole lot of raw and real?

7 months ago, I just didn’t feel like it. Between the move, the new job, the daunting task of making new friends, and learning how to live as a single woman, running didn’t exactly make the cut on the list of priorities.

It’s okay to say that I needed a break. My body and mind were stressed-out enough as it was, I didn’t need to put myself down for not also continuing to keep up the high-mileage resume.

But, now I’m settled. It’s not quite been a year in Seattle, and I wouldn’t exactly say all my ducks are in a row (are they ever?), but, there’s a piece of me that’s missing. I look around my apartment and see all of these inspirational quotes, dream boards, adventure photos, and personal growth books and think “what do I want?” The answers are a little different than they were a year ago.

Over the last 3 weeks, my life coach has pushed me to focus on my dreams. Whilst navigating how to exist in the present and be authentically me, I have been challenged to actually consider taking steps in the direction of my goals.

Cue running.

Beyond building the MAVERICK brand and all that comes along with that, I want to be an ultramarathoner. Running is pure. It is as raw and real as it gets! For one, you get out exactly what you put in. Whether it be from a nutrition standpoint, or a physical-movement one, your race efforts will be a direct result of your training efforts. You can’t fake it.

Second, the further you run, the more present you become. When you hit those higher miles, there’s no distractions from yourself. Regardless of music, scenery, or others that surround you, eventually you’re met with the corners of your mind, and have a real opportunity to focus; to meditate.

Thirdly, you get an unfiltered look at what the body can do. How many times have you been in a position where you can’t help but think, “I can’t do this” ? Every mile is an opportunity to say, “but I’m going to do this.” While I have admittedly only ever made it to the 30-mile mark on my previous 100-mile attempt, I can still look back and remember the feelings of disbelief that I could’ve gone that far in a single day. I still get that beautiful butterfly-gut feeling as I think about how grateful I am to my body for taking me that far.

And finally, there’s human connection all around. No matter what distance was run, there’s camaraderie amongst everyone. There’s an understanding that we all push each other and push ourselves; at the end of the day, we’ve given the trail everything we’ve got, and there’s a mutual respect for it. Beyond that, being a runner requires dedication: time, patience, investment, and discipline. It effects not only ourselves, but everyone around us. Whether you have to ditch your friends for drinks so you can wake up early for the long run, or you have to say no to a weekend away with your significant other because every extra penny you have is going to the groceries you need for fuel. Your tribe sacrifices, too. And as uncomfortable as it may be, it’s beautiful. It’s an opportunity to define relationships, to test new waters, to grow stronger together. Especially for an ultra… you’re going to need those people that know you better than you know yourself. You’re going to need those people to shove food down your throat when all you want to do is throw up. You’re going to need those people to help you change your clothes when the lactic acid has built up so badly you can’t fathom untying your shoes. You’re going to need those people to look you in the eye and say “keep going,” when you’re crying in the middle of the night with 20 miles to go. These people… you’ll quite literally need to trust them with your life. How amazing is that?

But I digress.

And I digressed all week, if I’m being honest. Because I’m spending all of my efforts towards running dissecting the why. Why did I stop? Why do I want to start again? What’s going to be different in my life if I start? Do I really have time to do this? Am I willing to make all those sacrifices? All very important questions, that do deserve to be thought about.

But at some point, we have to stop thinking, and actually start running.

This week I ran 1 mile.

I don’t have all the answers to the questions I listed above. And I want to spend more time thinking about them. I want to create new inspiring poster boards and buy a new themed note-book to track my miles. I want to download a training plan and a nutrition plan. I want to journal and get myself 100% mentally prepared to be an ultramarathoner.

But at some point, we have to stop preparing, and actually start running.

This week I ran 1 mile.

The day I ran the mile I was elated with the thought that I could in fact make this dream a reality. I was very proud of myself for actually lacing up and hitting the pavement. Every other day this week, I let doubt, fear, laziness, and pride get in the way of running again. But…

This week I ran 1 mile. And that is more than I ran last week.

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