It began with a visceral, physical longing…
This desire to move my body until it was wrung out… Until it was drenched in sweat.
But I had so many stories in my head about why I couldn’t run. I have no idea why. Stories like: “I don’t have the right body shape to run.” Somehow I had this idea that runners are tall and lanky and don’t have any curves. “Runners look so miserable all the time. It must not be fun.” I had decided that running made people unhappy. “I’m an arty girl, not a sporty girl. I write poems and paint watercolours and yoga.” Running did not fit with my self-image. “I’ll start, and I’ll quit, and it’ll all be for nothing.” I had tried running before. And it didn’t last. As if starting and quitting is some kind of crime. “Running damages the joints. It’s probably not good for me. Plus, I don’t want to exhaust my sensitive central nervous system.” I developed a habit of guarding myself against demanding experiences because of the adrenal fatigue I’d experienced in 2017.
But that feeling persisted. So, one morning a month ago I tied up my laces, walked myself to a starting point, pressed play on my most aggressive playlist, and started to move. “Just 15 minutes.” I had told myself. “Let’s ease into this slowly.” And I run.
Along the highway until the pedestrian path ran out. Down the steep cobblestones towards the beach. Past the construction site and the foreman who waves at me as I pass. Along the palm trees lining the Pacific Ocean. Up another hill of cobblestones. And I’m back where I started.
I’m grinning. There’s something exhilarating to this. I felt a freedom I haven’t felt since devoting most of my 20’s to standing in front of powerful speaker-stacks and letting the bass carry my body away. I was wrong. Running doesn’t make people miserable. It felt good. I can’t wait to try it again tomorrow.
The next day I download the Nike+ Running app. I have no idea what I’m doing. I need some support to guide me forward. The app creates a 4-week plan for me, for beginners. I choose a guided run ‘First Run’ track. A voice comes on tells me to, slowly, start moving. The voice talks to me through what I might expect as I navigate this new concept. Running. There’s something about the way he speaks, the reassuring way he makes me feel understood, the ideas he shares, that makes me realise that running is a lot like personal development. It’s all about mindset and how you approach it and showing for yourself consistently. It’s also not about pushing yourself too hard but about being a witness to your body and letting it guide you.
20 minutes later I have a massive crush on the voice in my run training app and want to practice making babies with him. He makes me feel emotionally and psychologically held as I steer myself into this new experience. I don’t think any man has done that for me before. I tend to be “the strong one“ in the face of emotional and psychological adversity. I’m usually the one who holds space for others as we embark into a new foreign space of growth and evolvement.
We fear the pain and toughness of any situation, but what we don’t realize is how resilient the human body is and how smart the human body is.
The first week my ankles ached. I interchanged running with yoga every other day. Then my app started adding a couple of runs back to back into my week. My 15 minutes grew to 35. My 2.5 kilometres progressed to 4.5. I was racing no-one but myself. I waited for the morning I’d wake up and be ready to quit. I surprised myself with the innate compulsion I felt to keep showing up for my body this way. Again and again. Each day different. Each day a new lesson.
My body started to change. My eyes felt clearer. I could feel my lymphatic system being wrung out. There was fresh energy moving through me. My stomach was flatter when I woke up.
The changes I was processing emotionally and psychologically were being released and integrated physically and running had become the conductor. I started to run to escape the heavy sensation I felt settling into my body. I keep running to chase the intoxicating high I feel for the rest of the day.
“Run, baby, run.” I hear these words whispered inside me every morning.
Around here, we do things a little differently...
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