Yesterday, I took Caleb to track, and rather than getting out for my run right away, I sat in the car and watch Netflix on my phone. I was feeling lazy, and it was kind of cool outside. I just didn’t FEEL like going running. But track practice is 2 hours long, so after 50 minutes, I said, “Cheryl, if you spend 2 hours staring at your phone and don’t at least try to go running, you are going to hate yourself when practice is over.” So I got out of the car, and started running.
At first it was slow and painful. With every step, I thought, I (pant) am (pant) so (pant) fat (puff). Lifting up each leg seemed like such a trial. I felt clumsy and flabby, and wished it would just rain already so I could quit. But then, I thought, what if I really was overweight? What if I had an extra 50 or 100 pounds to carry around? If I was running with all that extra weight, that would be heroic. THAT would be a challenge. That would be much more interesting and inspiring than wanting to look like a svelte Kenyan on the trails, or my 19 year old self on the beach this year (a lot less vain too).
And somehow imagining that snapped me out of my bad running mood, and I relaxed after that, and started thinking of other things besides how much I’d rather be sitting down watching TV.
I play these games with myself to keep myself going all the time. Sometimes I pretend I’m trying to come back to the WNBA after an injury and my coach is pushing me hard (think Rocky). Sometimes I pretend I’m racing other people on the treadmill and try not to stop or walk before they do. I imagine I’m giving lectures on the benefits of aerobic exercise and running, trying to inspire people strengthen their bodies and minds.
I’ve always hated running. I liked to play basketball for exercise. I would play for hours. Sadly that is no longer a part of my life, so I have set my mind to enjoy running, and usually I’m successful, but sometimes it takes mental games to put me in the right frame of mind. It helps me ennoble the run.
Yesterday I gritted my teeth through the first mile, and then I found my rhythm. I was still slow (as always), but I flowed. It was a perfect running evening: 70 degrees, cool breeze, humid air. It couldn’t have been more lovely. I did a good 4 miles in a cemetery next to the track and on trails like this:
it’s my favorite place to run in the world, and I’m so glad I stuck to it.