I have a love/hate relationship with running.
I love the feeling I get when I am done. I hate the feeling I have when I start, before my breathing settles into a steady pace.
I love the knowledge that I am working toward something – a race, fitness, or just the miles. I hate the knowledge that I could injury myself if I don’t follow the right steps.
One thing that I really love though is the feeling of accomplishment that I have after my run. I finished an 8 mile run this morning, and it may have been the slowest pace I’ve possibly ever run. However, I am still feeling that inexplicable runner’s high. I was pretty sore when I finished (and for about an hour or two afterward), but now I’m reaping the benefits. I feel good about my run.
This week, I am staying at my in-laws’ place in Florida, and their neighborhood happens to be right across the street from the University of North Florida. Perfect, I thought, as I started planning this run last week. A college campus, hopefully full of young runners, that I can just meander around and observe as I complete my long run on this Saturday.
It worked out really well. The campus is beautiful, with lots of trees and trails to look at and explore. I mainly stuck to the roads as I plodded along, listening the NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour and This American Life podcasts.
Podcasts are great running companions because they take your mind off of your body and let you settle in for some storytelling. These two are my go-tos, and they usually don’t disappoint.
The point is, running makes me feel good. I don’t look like a typical runner and I don’t care though because I know I can do it. I might not be as fast as my cousins or my siblings, but I’m doing it, and that’s enough for me. Running has helped me to focus more on what my body can do, rather than what it looks like.