One of my favorite parts of spring and summer is that it’s SUNNY (I know almost a miracle in the PNW) but further more, it’s easily the best time of year to run! With the sunsets, the warmth of the sun rays on your back, birds chirping, wildflowers that line the streets and the happiness that’s in the air, running after works seems like the best way to end a day. Unlike during the seasons when the clouds are socked in, the rain has been falling for days and all you want to do is go home and hibernate.
Coming out “hibernation season” is always the hardest. This year, it’s been an interesting process getting back into running 6+ miles a night. I got so use to doing the minimal and running my standard “two miles” that I stopped pushing myself… And ultimately, I stopped experiencing what running is all about! Of course it feels good to have time alone, be outside and enjoying nature, but the mental exercise is what its all about and is just as rewarding as the physical!
As I ran nightly, I realized I wasn’t pushing myself so I asked my sister to run 5 miles with me. Honestly, I’m not sure where this number came from… I think I just doubled my normal mileage and added a mile, wanting to “push myself.” Plus, lets face it… I may have eaten so much Thai food and other yummy things the day before that I knew I needed the extra miles 😉
As we started out, I felt exhausted. I instantly regretted the phone call in which I begged her to do this with me… Shaking my head , I told myself “suck it up Jess” and on we went. Finally, after running for a few minutes, I glanced down at my Garmin (GPS watch) expecting to see at least a mile but the 0.55 miles that the watch displayed, hit me hard. NOT EVEN A MILE?1?! I wanted to quit right then. My mind instantly went to, how could I get out of this? Maybe she’ll want to turn back after a mile.
You see in this moment, I was getting in my head. Normally, I can easily run two miles but the thought of the 5 miles was psyching myself out. Thankful having someone else there, made me continue running and while I did, I felt the part of me that wanted a “challenge” grow even stronger! I wanted to be able to proudly say I had pushed myself!
Here’s the whole point to me sharing this story … the further I ran, the harder I pushed, the better it felt and the more I didn’t want to stop… At about three miles into the run, I got a rush of energy. I was in the zone and I took off. I instantly forgot about all that I was facing and all that what was happening around me! I ran through the anger, worries and anxiety that I had been facing. I began smiling and I began praising Jesus. Each step, I felt myself overcoming it and each step, I felt blessed.
I listened to my heartbeat pounding, my breath picking up and I pushed through it, smiling bigger and bigger each step! I felt free and let me tell you, it felt AMAZING!! When I came to a stop, turning back to wait for my sister, a grin covered my face… All I could say was, “this is why I run!”
We ran 6+ miles that day and when it was all said and done, I felt on top of the word! The experience only reminded me how running is what I like to say “85% mental.” It’s about pushing yourself, giving it everything you’ve got and striving to be the best person you can be.
Telling yourself you cant isn’t going to get you a crossed that finish line! You have to believe in yourself and believe you can because it’s not going to be easy! You’ll have to be able to push through leg cramps, bad weather, people telling you can’t and (or) that your not good enough and you’re going to have to be the one telling yourself you CAN!