So, the very next day after my little running facebook experiment, I got up and before I new it, I had on running shoes and was out the door. I’m not sure how it even happened. I didn’t think about it. I just went. I wasn’t even awake. I don’t think I realized I was running until I had run about 6 blocks. Then memories started flooding back.
It brought back when I was a preteen and loved to sprint. Sprinting was exciting, but even then I hated and feared the longer runs. I hated them to the point where I pretended to pass out from heat exhaustion when my counselors at summer camp, seeing my love for sprinting, entered me in a sustained running event in our mini-Olympics.
I remembered being in bootcamp. It was my 20th birthday and I had just had my wisdom teeth removed. We were practicing the mile and a half, the requirement for every Navy Physical Readiness Test (PRT). I had cotton in my mouth and I was crying. My RDC (Recruit Division Commander) was running with me, vacillating between encouragement and admonishment.
It brought back all the tactics my shipmates would use in the following 6 years to get me to keep running and to not quit while running the PRT. Some tried to distract me by talking about other things, some whispered support and tried to empathize, some screamed at me or shamed me, and some just ran next to me and didn’t say a word. That was normally the best tactic with me. Just run next to me. Don’t say anything. Let me deal with whatever I’m dealing with on my own.
So, a couple of days ago during my first mile, once I actually realized I was running it went something like this…
Body: Huh. I’m running. That’s weird.
Brain: WHAT!?!?! WTF are you doing. No!!! We want to stop. We want to stop. Who thought this was a good idea?
Body: Come on. It’s not that bad. We’re not even tired or out of breath yet.
Brain: But we COULD run out of breath! Don’t you understand?!!! We could RUN OUT OF BREATH! And then maybe we would DIE! Or we’ll FAIL. And everyone will know!!! And then we’ll fail at everything in life and everyone will hate us!!!
Body: Oh please. That’s ridiculous. We’re not going to die. No one hates us. We’re running our first mile. Calm down. And this is Eric’s mile. He’s our best friend, he deserves a good healthy mile.
Brain: Well. I control you and I’m going to stop moving our legs here in a minute and you can’t do anything about it.
Body: Come on!!! That’s not fair. Okay FINE. We’ll walk this block and then we’re going to run again, okay?
Brain: Okay. We can do that. Okay. Getting ready to run again. Okay. People are watching us!!!! Okay. Here we go. Oh GOD. This is the worst.
(This struggle continues.)
Body: See! This is great. We’re so much stronger than we thought and LOOK I can see our house! We’re almost there. Let’s finish strong! Wait….what? WHY HAVE YOU STOPPED OUR LEGS AGAIN!?!
Heart & Soul: We think you’re both nuts.
So…yeah. I would love to say that the first time out the door I ran five miles without stopping and it was great and my lifelong phobia of running was assuaged in the first 15 minutes…but this is not true and I’ve promised myself that I will be completely honest on this blog and not embellish any truths. I ran one mile the first day. One. And it was a labored mile. Not because my body couldn’t handle it or I was really out of shape, but because my mind is still a hot mess when it comes to running. But you know what? I got up today and I did it again. I ran longer than last time and my brain is still crazy, but I was able to fight it off more this time.
So this is the plan: My total “likes” and comments on facebook and on the blog in that 24 hour period was 60. So that’s 60 miles from now until the end of the Summer. That’s 12 weeks. So it’s about 5 miles a week. I know that there are people that run that in a day, or more. Congratulations. I am not you. This is going to be really hard for me, but I’m growing and learning and it’s good. I’m going to start off small and hopefully build up over the summer. I’m entering into a couple of different 5ks over the Summer too.
The last thing I want to comment on is the support and love that has been showered on me this week. NEVER in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would get so much positive feedback not only for this challenge, but for this blog and what I’m trying to do with it. I thank you so much for the comments and private messages and texts. I heard from people all through my history, friends from high school, the military, fellow artists, and wonderful friends. Thanks for people offering to run with me (not ready quite yet 🙂 ), and for one fabulous chick, Jennifer Lynn Hawthorne, who is doing the challenge too! We were stationed at Diego Garcia together and I so admired her and my friend Tiffany Brown as my running inspiration. So I’m sure she will rock this challenge WAY more than me, but I love the fact that she’s out there in a different state doing it too. I think about her every time I run and I think about when we would run at Diego Garcia along the beach as we watched the sunset over the water in our beautiful tropical paradise. That made running almost tolerable for me.
Also, there is no RDC yelling at me now. I don’t have to run a certain length in a certain time. This is for me and only me. So I’m proud of myself, however small this step forward is and I thank you. So. Much. Again.